Queuing model for assessing the efficiency of building corridors

Author's Department

Construction Engineering Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Architectural Engineering

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Models of occupant flow in buildings represent powerful tools for improving safety and efficiency of occupant movements in large public buildings. The ability to predict the movement of people is valuable from the view point of safety considerations as well as several nonemergency aspects such as the level of service, efficiency and comfort, as well as space cognition and interaction. Capturing the manner of occupant movement can be used for the design of pathways and corridors in large public buildings such as train stations, airports, academic buildings, and shopping centers. Surprisingly, to date there has been very limited research on correlating the design of the building corridors to the occupant flow. Short of code requirements for emergency egress, there are very few guidelines on sizing and designing corridors. This paper presents the findings of a study aimed at developing a method to evaluate the flow of occupants in corridors, so that designers can understand how well a particular corridor accommodates the occupants' movements and activities. In this paper, a queuing model is developed for determining the occupant flow density in corridors. The queuing model can be used to determine the occupant flow density in a wide array of corridor layouts and designs and correlate it to the level of service. In addition, actual data were collected and analyzed to validate the results from the queuing model. It is shown that the model is robust and accurate enough to model a wide array of design variables. The analysis can be very useful in designing efficient corridors in buildings of various scales ranging from small shopping centers to large airports, resulting in potential construction cost savings. A computerized model is developed and presented along with an example. © 2010 ASCE.

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