Effects of pedestrian motivation and opening shape on pedestrian flow rate at an opening

Mineko Imanishi*, Akihide Jo, Tomonori Sano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In a general evacuation time calculation, a single value is used for the specific flow for any bottlenecks. However, the specific flow can actually depend on the situation or the spatial constraints of the bottleneck. In this study, an experiment with 189 participants under laboratory conditions was carried out to analyze the behavior of pedestrians at openings with/without sidewalls after the opening. Participants walked through an opening of 0.8, 1.2, 1.6, or 3.0 m in width, with sidewalls of 0, 1.0, or 2.0 m. Moreover, two different situations of pedestrian motivation for walking were set and compared. From the experiment, detailed walking trajectories were obtained. The results revealed that the specific flow at a bottleneck differed according to pedestrian motivation and spatial conditions. First, the presence of sidewalls reduced the specific flow by approximately 10%–15%. Concerning opening width, participants used a wider opening more efficiently. Participant motivation had the largest impact on the flow. People walked more quickly and queued more densely in front of the opening in the hurried situation. Then, when entering the opening, especially without sidewalls, they entered narrow gaps between other people and the wall more by twisting their shoulders when hurried.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103056
JournalFire Safety Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar


  • Bottleneck
  • Experiment
  • Flow rate
  • Human behavior
  • Sidewall
  • Specific flow
  • Walking trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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