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Experiment for behavior estimation in the egress using electronic devices in the SAVE ME project

: Marsella, Stefano; Leuteritz, Jan-Paul; Tesauri, Francesco; Delprato, Uberto

Lönnermark, Anders (Ed.) ; SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Stockholm:
Fifth International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security, ISTSS 2012. Proceedings. Vol.2 : New York, USA, March 14-16, 2012
Boras: SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, 2012 (SP report 2012,10)
ISBN: 978-91-87017-26-1
International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security (ISTSS) <5, 2012, New York/NY>
Fraunhofer IAO ()

SAVE ME is an EU funded project, which aims at improving the safety of travellers inside transport infrastructure, with a focus on disadvantaged people. In particular, the project has the goal of developing a cellular phone-/smartphone-based system, which, in case of emergency, can provide travellers with information about the available means of egress and about recommended behaviors. At the moment, emergency procedures in big transport infrastructures, mostly underground, do not take the specific problems into consideration which are faced by families with children, elderly people, and physically or mentally challenged people during chaotic situations, when only limited information is available.
Recently, a growing number of strategies for reducing the consequences of emergencies have been developed, considering the use of smartphones or other electronic devices to help endangered people or rescuers take the safest and most appropriate actions. In order to evaluate the impact of using only electronic personal devices to find escape routes from confined spaces, the SAVE ME project had planned to carry out some experimental activities. A laboratory experiment was carried out in a training facility of the Italian Fire Corps, with the participation of students and teachers from a public school. The experiment involved a total of 78 participants playing the role of evacuees. Among them were adults, children, teenagers and grandparents. In this paper, the impact of low signage conditions on the egress behavior is presented and discussed. In particular, the experiment shows that a locally installed signaling system is generally more helpful than cellular phone-/smartphone-guidance. Smartphones proved to be an effective yet less efficient guidance in the dark when no other physical support was available.
This paper will sketch the preliminary results of the experiment about egress behavior under the condition of low information (but not during emergencies), resulting is some general indications:
A. egress using electronic devices is possible
B. egress using electronic devices needs more time than natural egress
C. young people are more prone in using electronic devices and profit more from them when orienting themselves in low visibility environments