Sign visibility for pedestrians assessed with agent-based simulation

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Construction Engineering Department

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Research Article

Publication Title

Transportation Research Record

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As cities and urban centers become bigger and as building spaces become larger, the need for correctly designed and located signage becomes paramount. The geometry of these urban or architectural spaces is becoming more complex because of traffic flow in multiple directions, several obstructions, and nonconvex spaces. The complex architecture makes the determination of the optimal locations for the placement of signs in these spaces more difficult. This paper provides a framework for the rational location of signs in public spaces to increase their detectability through the consideration of the geometric configuration of the space, the occupant or pedestrian travel flow patterns, the locations of obstructions, the legibility distance, and the sign design. The framework used an agent-based simulation model, in which occupants or pedestrians were modeled as intelligent agents that moved in the space according to predefined traffic patterns. The social force model was used to simulate the microscopic movement behavior of the agents in the space. In addition, the perceptual attention of the pedestrians was modeled by consideration of the field of view of the agents as well as sign location and design. A computer simulation model was developed and tested in a real-life case study to demonstrate the applicability of the model. The research presented here should be of interest to practicing architects and engineers as well as researchers.

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