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Agent Based Evacuation Simulation
Advanced movement simulation combined with high-quality 3-D animated results, gives you reliable answers quickly.
Evaluating Pathfinder Against Alternative Methods

With so many evacuation simulation software tools on the market, it can be difficult to compare them, especially for those who have never used one. First, this paper will address the benefits of transitioning from hand calculations to software simulation for egress analysis. Following is an examination of how different tools can reduce project costs through time savings, improve analysis confidence, and enable professional visual results. Finally, we will examine how the vendor’s responsibility to deliver frequent updates, efficient support, and community outreach will ensure that this decision is a safe long-term investment. Throughout the paper, we will use Pathfinder as an example.

compare pathfinder

Pathfinder enables performance-based pedestrian movement, evacuation, and congestion studies through software-based simulation. Stadiums, hospitals, skyscrapers, aircraft, and other buildings can be analyzed to provide realistic visual results in a fraction of the time that manual computation requires. This cost-effective tool provides a faster time-to-results method for engineers to improve the confidence of their analysis and present a professional visual report.
Move Beyond Hand Calculations

The Society of Fire Protection Engineering (SFPE) were one of the first organizations to introduce a standard method for calculating egress time as a function of occupant speed and distance. This method is widely accepted today, and is included as an optional model in Pathfinder. Spreadsheet calculators have also been developed to speed up the time required However, many engineers feel more confident with artificial intelligence models, like the Steering mode in Pathfinder, which performs individual occupant decisions in a dynamic environment.

In 2005, Erica Kuligowski and Richard Peacock completed an analysis of 30 evacuation models due to the overwhelming growth in software tools that had entered the market. At the time, the idea of using evacuation model simulation was still new and uncertain for many engineers. Erica and Richard’s work sought to compare many of the available options in order to further advance the adoption of these tools and push the industry further towards performance-based design.

Evacuation calculations are increasingly becoming a part of performance-based analyses to assess the level of life safety provided in buildings. In some cases, engineers are using backof-the-envelope (hand) calculations to assess life safety, and in others, evacuation models are being used. Hand calculations usually follow the equations given in the Emergency Movement Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Handbook to calculate mass flow evacuation from any height of building. The occupants are assumed to be standing at the doorway to the stair on each floor as soon as the evacuation begins. The calculation focuses mainly on points of constriction throughout the building (commonly the door to the outside) and calculates the time for the occupants to flow past these points and to the outside. To achieve a more realistic evacuation calculation, engineers have been looking to evacuation computer models to assess a building’s life safety.