Escape route steering of the next generation

Escape route steering of the next generation

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the Project SPIDER (Security System for Public Institutions in Disastrous Emergency ScenaRios) within the framework of the "Research for Civil Security" programme. The project is part of the scenario-oriented security research in the thematic field "Protection and Rescue of People". Complex crisis scenarios and major incidents are a particular focus here.

Among others, IMS and the University of Duisburg-Essen are participating in the project led by the German Red Cross. The Chair of Physics of Transport and Traffic at the University of Duisburg-Essen, headed by Prof. Dr. Michael Schreckenberg, is working on the simulation of flows of people and road traffic. SPIDER focuses on uniform communication concepts for the information systems of the rescue organisations involved in major incidents. The aim is to network and thus exchange information between the fire brigade, the police, the German Red Cross and other aid organisations. One focus of the project is a fully automatic, adaptive escape route guidance system that intuitively guides escaping persons along a safe path to the outside. Typical application scenarios include evacuations from airports, trade fairs, event halls, stadiums or railway stations.

What is special about this escape route system?

It is dynamic and can adapt to the damage situation in the hazard area independently and continuously. The highlight is the way in which the necessary dynamics come about. With the help of a person flow simulation, possible danger points can be identified during evacuation and optimised escape routes can be determined. In an online mode, the system is constantly dates from building services to check the current situation and react in real time.

The simulation results are then transferred to the escape route guidance system to display the best possible escape routes. The IMS provides data necessary for the simulation and implements the control logic of the escape route pictograms, which processes the simulation result. The automated safety and emergency lighting is supplied by the medium-sized system house INOTEC Sicherheitstechnik GmbH. In close coordination with IMS, the entire signage in the property is controlled fully automatically and thus represents a further innovation. "With the simulation of people flows in the context of an escape, potential hazards can be identified at an early stage. With dynamic escape routing, we can react to the hazards and mitigate them," says Prof. Dr. Schreckenberg.

In order for the simulation to represent reality as well as possible, it must be supplied with a large amount of information. Since the concept is intended to be applicable to any type of property, IMS and the University of Duisburg-Essen have recorded a large amount of usable information and made it available for further processing by the simulation module. Marcel Kunzmann, project manager of IMS: "The goal of SPIDER is an open and independent system that should work in any property under the most diverse conditions. Therefore, we have also defined overarching concepts and open standards for the simulation." From the area of building technology, data from safety-related equipment such as fire alarm systems are taken over. In addition, people counting systems can make a sustainable contribution by always providing up-to-date information on the total number and distribution of people in the property.

"The main challenge in this project is to integrate the data provided from the building services into the modelling of the evacuation process and to process it online in the simulation," adds Prof. Dr Schreckenberg.

The adaptive escape route guidance system ideally refers to the entire area of a property, for example if all existing halls on an exhibition site have to be evacuated. Then it is necessary to guide people safely and on a short route to the assembly points. At the moment, the research work is in full swing at all participating chairs and companies. In October 2011, the results of the research will be presented in a practical demonstration at the Koelnmesse exhibition centre.

In addition to IMS and the University of Duisburg-Essen, other participants in the research project are:

German Red Cross, Police NRW, Fire Department Gelsenkirchen, Catholic Hospital Bochum, Koelnmesse GmbH, PRO DV Software AG, CKS Systeme GmbH & Co. KG, Chair for Communication Networks TU Dortmund University, Institute for Psychology & Emergency Psychology TU Dortmund University

New contract partner for the IMS
Research project SPIDER: Successfully completed