Rush hour metro crowd governed by people’s eagerness to go home (Vol. 49 No.4)

Rush hour crowd governed by people’s eagerness to go home
Credit: Photo by Rafael De Nadai on Unsplash

New model examines the relative role of random interactions between individuals in a crowd compared to interactions stemming from their eagerness to be on their way.

Ever found yourself crushed in a metro station at rush hour? The authors have developed a new model to study the movement of crowds exiting a metro station. In a recent study they have for the first time employed models typically used to study gases consisting of a large number of molecules that collide at random (known as thermostatted kinetic theory) to study the consequences of the different interactions occurring among pedestrians in a crowd while exiting a metro station. The authors assume that what motivates pedestrians to leave a metro station can be modelled as an external force that explains the conditions under which they leave due to the crowd pressure. Their model combines aspects representing the interactions between pedestrians and governed by thermostatted kinetic theory with the cooperation between pedestrians as intelligent and self-organised decision-makers, which is governed by game theory. Numerical simulations on the magnitude of the external force explain how internal interactions between pedestrians can be affected by an external force driving them to leave the station. What matters most is that all of the pedestrians are individually in the same hurry to exit the station and get away from the crowd.

C. Bianca, and C. Mogno, A thermostatted kinetic theory model for event-driven pedestrian dynamics, Eur. Phys. J. Plus, 133, 213 (2018)