Assessing the compliance with the direction indicated by emergency evacuation signage

Jun Kubota, Tomonori Sano, Enrico Ronchi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The type and relative position of evacuation signage to evacuees’ location can affect their likelihood to understand and comply with the information provided. To address this issue, a Virtual reality (VR) experiment with 60 participants was carried out to investigate the effect of signage vs viewer placement on the compliance with the indicated direction in case of evacuation. The VR experiments were conducted with a head mounted display. Different independent variables linked to the signage placement/type were investigated in a VR underground square scenario, namely (1) the installation position (i.e., distance, angle of interaction), and (2) the arrow type in use on the signage. Participants selected evacuation routes in VR and a questionnaire investigating their degree of confidence regarding their choice was performed. Results show that the angle of interaction affects the evacuees’ chosen direction. Participants showed a higher degree of confidence when the arrow pointed towards the centre of the route. In addition, after a distance of 2.0 m from the centre, the correct answer rate of the evacuation signage for the cases of arrows pointing left, right and up become comparable. The use of an up arrow performed as well as the use of left and right arrows, while an arrow pointing down was not as clearly understood. The concept of visible area ratio is suggested to evaluate the compliance with the direction indicated by evacuation signage. The result is supported by the relationship between the lateral position of the signage and the calculated angle of interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105210
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • Emergency
  • Evacuation
  • Signage
  • Underground station
  • Virtual reality
  • Way-finding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety Research


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