Evacuation experiments in a virtual reality high-rise building: Exit choice and waiting time for evacuation elevators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Summary The egress strategy in high-rise buildings has traditionally been based on the sole use of stairs for evacuation. However, it is becoming more common to include evacuation elevators in the egress strategy in high-rise buildings. Traditionally, evacuation elevators have not been allowed as an evacuation route, and people have been instructed to not use elevators in case of fire. This means that people might still not consider evacuation elevators even if they are designed to be safe in case of fire. Even if people choose evacuation elevators, they might not be willing to wait very long for an elevator to arrive. Virtual reality (VR) experiments were conducted to study exit choice and the waiting time for evacuation elevators in high-rise buildings. The experiment was performed in a VR lab with a VR model of an existing high-rise building. Results suggest that a simple way-finding system using green flashing lights can influence people to more likely choose the elevator as their first evacuation choice. The results also show that the general trend is that people wait for either a limited time (20 min).


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified


  • evacuation, evacuation elevators, evacuation strategy, high-rise building evacuation, virtual reality (VR), waiting time, way-finding system
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-567
Number of pages14
JournalFire and Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1
Publication categoryResearch