Continuum modeling of crowd turbulence

Abhinav Golas, Rahul Narain, Ming C. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


With the growth in world population, the density of crowds in public places has been increasing steadily, leading to a higher incidence of crowd disasters at high densities. Recent research suggests that emergent chaotic behavior at high densities - known collectively as crowd turbulence - is to blame. Thus, a deeper understanding of crowd turbulence is needed to facilitate efforts to prevent and plan for chaotic conditions in high-density crowds. However, it has been noted that existing algorithms modeling collision avoidance cannot faithfully simulate crowd turbulence. We hypothesize that simulation of crowd turbulence requires modeling of both collision avoidance and frictional forces arising from pedestrian interactions. Accordingly, we propose a model for turbulent crowd simulation, which incorporates a model for interpersonal stress and acceleration constraints similar to real-world pedestrians. Our simulated results demonstrate a close correspondence with observed metrics for crowd turbulence as measured in known crowd disasters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042816
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 28 2014

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