School egress data: comparing the configuration and validation of five egress modelling tools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Data were collected between 2011 and 2014 from five evacuations involving the same school buildings located in Spain. Children from 6 to 16 years of age were observed during the evacuation exercises. Background information was collected on key factors deemed to influence evacuation performance: a description of the geometry, the population involved, the procedures employed and the organization of the drills conducted. Using live observations and video footage of these drills, evacuation data were collected, focusing on the pre-evacuation times, the routes employed, the travel speeds adopted and the
arrival times. These data informed a range of a posteriori simulations, conducted by using four computer models (buildingEXODUS, MassMotion, Pathfinder and STEPS) and the Society of Fire Protection Engineering hydraulic model (i.e. Society of Fire Protection Engineering hand calculations). Comparisons were drawn between the models’ output and against the observed outcome for one of the trials to determine the accuracy of the model predictions given that they were configured by using the initial conditions for a specific evacuation. The purpose of this work is to (1) provide insight into the configuration of these models for equivalent scenarios, (2) examine any variation in the simulated conditions given equivalent initial conditions, and (3) provide suggestions on how to perform validation studies for multiple evacuation models.


  • Arturo Cuesta
  • Enrico Ronchi
  • S. M. V. Gwynne
  • Michael Kinsey
  • Aoife Hunt
External organisations
  • University of Cantabria
  • National Research Council of Canada
  • Arup Shanghai
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Civil Engineering


  • data collection, evacuation modelling , validation, school evacuation, egress simulations, unannounced evacuation drill
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-554
JournalFire and Materials
Issue number5
Early online date2016 Oct 10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug
Publication categoryResearch