One of the first projects of the at that time newly founded accu:rate GbR arose from the productive cooperation with Andreas Litger of LITGER Ziel: Sicherheit!
Andreas is specialist in event technology and security personnel for event venues trained by Vabeg® Germany und TÜV® Saarland Gruppe and was assigned to develop a safety concept for the open-air event Schlosspark Open Air Paderborn 2014.
accu:rate created the simulation for different evacuation scenarios.
„Visitor flow simulation is a great tool for testing assumptions in advance.“
Andreas Litger, LITGER Ziel:Sicherheit!
Back then, accu:rate's simulation core has just been evolved out of the research and was put to the test because of the square footage of more than 240,000 square meters.
Today these huge areas can be coped with easily because of many enhancements.
Thanks to Andreas extensive experience we were able to evaluate how close to reality our simulation was performing.
While he increased the level of detail of his evacuation concept in an iterative manner, accu:rate could make progress in calculation time and the visualization of the results.
Andreas, which question did you want to be answered, when you started to realize this pilot project with us?
"First of all I wanted to find out in general, how crowd simulation can support my work in the different planning phases. Furthermore, for this particular project I wanted to know, if the assumptions I have made about people flow and periods of different evacuation scenarios are conform with the results of the simulation or if there are strong discrepancies.
The event area hasn't been used like that before. Except for few limitations, e.g. the direction of acoustic irradiation and therefore the alignment of the stage, the organizer gave me plenty of rope to plan the processes on the site.
For example I was free to decide where to position the escape ways and how to design the visitors' guidance from the parking to the entrances.
Assumptions were made about the evacuation times of the site for different evacuation scenarios. These evacuation times have immediate influence on the point of decision making, so they are an important factor to count into the evacuation concept I've created. "
How do you think about the results of the project?
How were you able to use these results?
"First and foremost the simulations demonstrated that the distribution of the exits and their widths were appropriate and that the assumed evacuation times were realistic.
But they also showed that there were opportunities for improvement.
After analyzing the simulation, changes in the routes of the rear exits were derived.
Beyond that the simulations could be used as demonstration material for the safety and security staff, who have a key role in case of an evacuation.
For example it could be visualized very well that there is a necessity to remove bottle necks in case of an evacuation with a before/after comparison."
How was the collaboration with accu:rate?
"The collaboration was exciting and productive.
I think both sides have learned a lot.
So for example it hasn't been clear to me before, which basis of data crowd simulation needs.
There was some overlap of the basic specifications about the composition of visitors from the safety concept and accu:rate's inquiries, but there was also information about the visitors that had to be amended.
It was very interesting to learn that, by planning the processes in detail with AutoCAD, did not inevitably mean that it contains the necessary information about the geometry that is needed for the simulator."
Are there any further findings or something that you want to share?
"Visitor flow simulation is a great tool to test assumptions in advance.
However, I think it requires from the outset that you work closely together with the creator of the simulations regarding data acquisition, description of the scenarios, and analysis.
I was surprised how beneficial simulations turned out to be. I was able to use it as a "translation" for authorities or organizers as well as an additional training tool for the person in charge on-site."
Thank you very much Andreas!
Title image: "Wacken Open Air Festival 2012 (Wacken, Schleswig-Holstein)" by York Klinkhart. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0