Crowd simulation and social distancing

We celebrate that we have successfully integrated the basis concept of social distancing into our pedestrian simulator, based on research done at Utrecht University and uCrowds.

Our interactive, five-level movement model is based on a set of basic principles (and their deviations) that individual persons tend to follow. Such principles deal with, for instance, global route choice, collision avoidance with other pedestrians and obstacles in the environment, adjustment of local movements due to local crowd densities, coordination with other pedestrians to adjust to local flow directions at high crowd densities and the inclusion of social groups.

This model, which has individual pedestrians are its core, naturally lends itself to be extended with rules for social distancing. My team has added the following three extensions:

  • First, we included variable, social distances between pedestrians (based on their profile). For instance, small children tend to obey smaller distances than adults, and 1.5 meter is perceived differently by humans.
  • Second, socials group, which typically consists of 2 through 4 persons, continue to stay close to each other, but they obey their (adjustable) social distance to other pedestrians.
  • Third, people tend to anticipate better on avoiding future collisions.

We use this model to get insights in the daily operation of train stations, airports, shopping streets, or festivals in the upcoming ‘1.5 meter economy’. With this, we hope to contribute to opening up quicker the economy in these bizarre times.

Let’s stay positive and keep on celebrating the good things!

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