Route Choice and Flow Rate in Theatre Evacuation Drills: Analysis of Walking Trajectory Data-Set

Mineko Imanishi*, Tomonori Sano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study analysed evacuees’ movements in three sequentially announced evacuation drills in a theatre to clarify evacuees’ route choice mechanism in an auditorium and to obtain a data-set for the validation of evacuation simulations and egress time calculations. The drills were conducted in a multi-purpose theatre in Japan over consecutive years, involving approximately 400 –540 occupants aged 6–90. The coordinates of every occupant in the auditorium during the drills were accurately obtained every 0.5 s using the authors’ original software programmes, so that evacuees’ trajectories and walking speeds at each point could be obtained. Thereby, we obtained more than 100,000 data points in total to analyse. The drills were also compared from the point of view of the flow control of the facility’s staff during the evacuation. The results revealed that, while the evacuees in the centre blocks chose the closest aisle from their seats, most of the evacuees in the side blocks chose the wall side aisles. The occupants did not create queues in aisles between seat blocks. They tended to walk along seatways, the narrow spaces between seat rows to get closer to their target exit, rather than stacking in the aisles. In addition, the specific flow at exit doors from the auditorium in a congested situation was ca. 0.96 pers./m/s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-593
Number of pages25
JournalFire Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 15


  • Data-set
  • Evacuation
  • Human behaviour
  • Route choice
  • Theatre
  • Walking trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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