Simulating pedestrian flow dynamics for evaluating the design of urban and architectural space
Authors: Jalalian, Arash ; Chalup, Stephan K.; Ostwald, Michael J.
ABSTRACT: This paper proposes a new method for pedestrian behaviour analysis in simulated urban
environments. Our proposed software system analyses pedestrian behaviour with a combined focus on
movement trajectories, walking speed and the angle between the movement vector and gaze vector of
individuals in large groups of simulated pedestrians. The system learns a statistical model characterising
normal behaviour, based on sample observations of regular pedestrian movements without the impact of
significant visual attractions in the environment. Sudden changes of the pedestrians’ behavioural
characteristics, caused by the visual detection of “attractive” objects, are considered as abnormal
behaviour. The simulated environment, which is at the core of the research can be automatically
generated using scanned line drawings of two-dimensional street maps or public spaces. In the simulation
model a variety of scenarios can be defined and modified by altering different parameters. Using the
example of Wheeler Place in Newcastle (Australia) our pilot experiments demonstrate how pedestrian
behaviour characteristics can depend on selected abstract features in urban space. The purpose of the
system is to support architects and urban designers to better assess the impact of pedestrian behaviour on
planned urban spaces and streetscapes.