Unannounced Evacuation Experiment in a High-Rise Hotel Building with Evacuation Elevators: A Study of Evacuation Behaviour Using Eye-Tracking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Past studies suggest that people are often reluctant to use occupant evacuation elevators in case of fire. However, existing research is scarce and current knowledge is based on questionnaire studies and laboratory experiments. An unannounced evacuation experiment was therefore performed on the 16th floor of a 35-floor high-rise hotel building. Sixty-seven participants took part and eye-tracking glasses were used to collect data on exit choice and eye fixations. Three different scenarios were studied, including two different hotel room locations on the floor and a variation of guidance system for one of these locations, i.e., flashing green lights next to the evacuation sign at the elevators. Results suggest that people typically choose the elevator for evacuation, even if their hotel room was located closer to the evacuation stair. Flashing green lights next to an evacuation sign made people look more at this sign. However, in spite of looking more at the sign, the flashing light was not shown to significantly improve compliance with the sign. Also, the results suggest that a detector activated self-closing fire door without vision panels to the elevator lobby made it more difficult to find the evacuation elevators in an emergency.


External organisations
  • Canterbury University
  • Brandskyddslaget AB
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Civil Engineering


  • Evacuation, Evacuation elevators, Exit choice, Eye tracking, Fire, High-rise building, Human behaviour, OEE
Original languageEnglish
JournalFire Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
Publication categoryResearch