Together Apart: the Influence of Increased Crowd Heterogeneity on Crowd Dynamics at Bottlenecks




Pedestrian Dynamics, Heterogeneous Crowd, Wheelchair User, Luggage, Bottleneck, Disability, Evacuation, Performance-based Design, Egressibility


Individual differences in mobility (e.g., due to wheelchair use) are often ignored in the prediction of crowd movement. Consequently, engineering tools cannot fully describe the impact of vulnerable populations on egress performance. To contribute to closing this gap, we performed laboratory experiments with 25 pedestrians with varying mobility profiles. The control condition comprised only participants without any additional equipment; in the luggage condition and the wheelchair condition, two participants at the center of the group either carried suitcases or used a wheelchair. We found that individuals using wheelchairs and to a lesser degree those carrying luggage needed longer to pass through the bottleneck, which also affected those walking behind them. This led to slower times to fully clear the bottleneck in the wheelchair and luggage condition compared to the control group. The results challenge the status quo in existing approaches to calculating egress performance and other key performance metrics in crowd dynamics.


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How to Cite

Geoerg, P., Boomers, A. K., Berthiaume, M., Boltes, M., & Kinateder, M. (2024). Together Apart: the Influence of Increased Crowd Heterogeneity on Crowd Dynamics at Bottlenecks. Collective Dynamics, 9, 1–10.



Special Issue of Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics 2023