Beyond the faster-is-slower effect

IM Sticco and FE Cornes and GA Frank and CO Dorso, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 96, 052303 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.96.052303

The "faster-is-slower" effect arises when crowded people push each other to escape through an exit during an emergency situation. As individuals push harder, a statistical slowing down in the evacuation time can be achieved. The slowing down is caused by the presence of small groups of pedestrians (say, a small human cluster) that temporarily block the way out when trying to leave the room. The pressure on the pedestrians belonging to this blocking cluster increases for increasing anxiety levels and/or a larger number of individuals trying to leave the room through the same door. Our investigation shows, however, that very high pressures alter the dynamics in the blocking cluster and, thus, change the statistics of the time delays along the escaping process. A reduction in the long lasting delays can be acknowledged, while the overall evacuation performance improves. We present results on this phenomenon taking place beyond the faster-is-slower regime.

Return to Publications page