The concept of sustainable urban environments aims to provide urban facilities including transport interchanges that can accommodate a wide spectrum of the human population irrespective of gender, age or disability. A major objective is to reduce levels of social exclusion which arise from inadequacy in infrastructure that strongly affects certain members of society such as the elderly, disabled and poor.
This research focuses on the particular aspect of crowded public spaces where it is envisaged that improvements in crowd flow could be achieved by a proper consideration of all the users of the space but particularly the elderly and disabled. The ultimate objective would be design tools that provide architects with the means to achieve inclusivity in design for the elderly and disabled with relative ease and speed. Therefore, this research has developed a methodology and a computing tool to implement aspects of human walking behaviour in public spaces.
Human behaviours have been studied using a large-scale video observation involving over 17,000 subjects. The videos have been analysed to determine a number of different behaviours and their relationship to distinguishing characteristics of the subjects such as age, gender and disability. Algorithms for representing these behaviours have been developed and implemented as a simulation tool (HIMs) within commercially available gaming software.
Two case studies, within shopping malls and a bus station, have been carried out to illustrate the feasibility of the work and simple examples of small environmental design changes that significantly affect crowd flow are shown.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.