Evacuation experiment in a road tunnel: A study of human behaviour and technical installations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An evacuation experiment was performed in a road tunnel in order to investigate how motorists behave and emotionally respond when exposed to a fire emergency, how information and wayfinding systems are perceived and whether green flashing lights can influence exit choice. The participants believed that they were taking part in a study about driving behaviour. Approximately I kill inside the tunnel participants encountered an accident, i.e., cars and smoke. The fire alarm, which consists of a prerecorded alarm and information signs, was also activated and green flashing lights at emergency exits were started, The results show that it was difficult to make out what was said in the pre-recorded alarm. However, an acoustic signal was positive since it alerted motorists and made them look for additional information. The information signs were also important for the decision to leave the vehicle. Social influence was found to be essential, both with regards to the decision to leave the vehicle and the choice of exit. The results also suggest that arousal level influences the amount of information noticed by motorists, which implies that technical installations, e.g., wayfinding systems, should be tested under stressful conditions before they can be relied upon in a real tunnel fire. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Building Technologies


  • Emotional state, Social influence, flashing lights, Green, Information signs, Pre-recorded alarm, Tunnel fire, Evacuation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-468
JournalFire Safety Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety (011033011), Fire Safety Engineering (011033007), Environmental Psychology (011036009)