Dr Natalie van der Wal

Project Evacuation

Natalie van der Wal, Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School

This project is being funded by a 2-year EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (ref: 748647), awarded to Dr Natalie van der Wal, to work with Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin in the Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School.

Background and Rationale

The EU urgently seeks to improve emergency evacuation preparedness. EU public spaces are getting more crowded. Fires and terrorist attacks require emergency evacuation. Faster evacuation from public buildings during emergencies saves more lives.

Observations of actual emergencies show that people tend to be slow to respond to evacuation alarms (taking up to 10 minutes) and take the familiar route out instead of the nearest exit.

The EU calls for evidence-based recommendations for evacuations, which are mostly non-existent. The state of the art uses computer models of evacuation speed, but more realism is needed. We take the novel approach of combining state of the art computer modeling with insights from risk communication to improve speed and survival in emergency evacuations.

A full project summary can be found on Natalie van der Wal’s website.

Project Aims and Objectives

  1. Identify which risky behaviors occur in emergency evacuations and underlying causes (WP1)
  2. Use models to identify communication strategies that improve ev
    acuation time and survival (WP2)
  3. Test communication strategies for improving evacuation time and survival in experiments (WP3)

To ultimately save lives, Aim 1 involves (a) observing behavior in existing videos of actual evacuations, and (b) interviewing emergency service members about their experiences in actual evacuations. Aim 2 will use ‘agent-based’ computer modeling, with which Dr. van der Wal has experience, to assess the effect of reducing the riskiest behaviours on evacuation time and survival rates. Based on Prof Bruine de Bruin’s expertise in risk communication and input from emergency service members, this will result in recommendations that will be tested in Aim 3 in actual evacuation drills.

Our unique team has the interdisciplinary and practical expertise needed to improve evacuations. Our proposed work will promote transfer between the Fellow and the team through hands-on collaborative work. The UK is an ideal test-bed for our project aims, but we will inform evacuations worldwide.

Evacuation project overview

View slides (left) for further information.

 

 

Outputs

Peer-reviewed publications

  • Davis, M., Hughes, H., McKay, A., Robinson, M., van der Wal, C.N. (2019). Ergonomists as Designers: Computational Modelling and Simulation of Complex Socio-Technical Systems. Ergonomics, in press. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2019.1682186
  • Adrian J, Bode N, Amos M, Baratchi M, Beermann M, Boltes M, Corbetta A, Dezecache G, Drury J, Fu Z, Geraerts R, Gwynne S, Hofinger G, Hunt A, Kanters T, Kneidl A, Konya K, Koster G, Kupper M, Michalareas G, Neville F, Ntontis E, Reicher S, Ronchi E, Schadschneider A, Seyfried A, Shipman A, Sieben A, Spearpoint M, Sullivan GB, Templeton A, Toschi F, van der Wal C, van Schadewijk F, von Kruchten C, Wijermans N, Yucel Z, Zanlungo F, Zuriguel I. (2019) A Glossary on Research on Human Crowd Dynamics. Collective Dynamics, 4(A19), 1-13https://doi.org/10.17815/CD.2019.19
  • van der Wal, C.N.,Kok, R.N. (2019). Laughter-Inducing Therapies: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Social Science and Medicine, accepted for publication, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.02.018
  • Irrmischer, M., van der Wal, C.N.,Mansvelder, H.D., Linkenkaer-Hansen, K. (2018). Negative Mood and Mind Wandering Increase Long-range Temporal Correlations in Attention Fluctuations. PLOS ONE. 13(5): e0196907. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196907
  • Chohra, A., Madani, K., & van der Wal, C.N. (2018). Group affect in complex decision-making systems: from psychology to computer science perspectives. In International Conference on Computational Collective Intelligence (pp. 222-233). Springer, Cham.
  • Formolo, D., Bosse, T., & van der Wal, C.N. (2018). Studying the impact of trained staff on evacuation scenarios by agent-based simulation. In International Conference on Social Informatics (pp.85-96). Springer, Cham.
  • Van der Wal, C.N. (2018). Human behaviors during evacuation: ‘Run, hide, and tell’ or ‘run, hide and film’? In International Conference on Pedestrian Evacuation Dynamics, in press.

Peer-reviewed presentations at scientific meetings

  • August 2019. Van der Wal, C.N., Robinson, M.A., Bruine de Bruin, W., Gwynne, S. Risky Behaviors and Risk Communications in Real-World Incidents: Video Analysis. Paper presented at Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision-Making (SPUDM), Amsterdam, NL.
  • September 2018. Chohra, A., Madani, K., & van der Wal, C.N. Group affect in complex decision-making systems: from psychology to computer science perspectives. Paper presented at the International Conference on Computational Collective Intelligence (ICCCI), Bristol, UK.
  • September 2018. Formolo, D., Bosse, T., & van der Wal, C.N. Studying the impact of trained staff on evacuation scenarios by agent-based simulation. Paper and poster presented at International Conference on Social Informatics(SOC-INFO), Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Best poster award

  • August 2018. Van der Wal, C.N. Human behaviors during evacuation: ‘Run, hide, and tell’ or ‘run, hide and film’? Paper presented at the International Conference on Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics, Lund, Sweden.

Newspapers and other media

  • Leeds University Business School Research & Innovation Blog, UK. (2019, August). “What happens when a researcher attends a conference?
  • Leeds University Business School Research & Innovation Blog, UK. (2019, May). “Learning about evacuations and crowds…
  • Dutch Magazine Safety and Prevention: ‘Veiligheid en Preventie’, The Netherlands. (2019, February). “Evacuating in case of a fire
  • Network Magazine Leeds University Business School, UK. (2019, February). “In Case of Emergency…
  • Online Magazine ‘Vive+’, The Netherlands. (2019, January): “Laughter really is healthy
  • Magazine & Online Platform Fire safety (‘Brandveilig.com’), The Netherlands. (2018, December). “Evacuation Behaviours: do’s and don’ts
  • Magazine & Online Platform Fire safety (‘Brandveilig.com’), The Netherlands. (2018, May). “Social and Cultural Factors in Evacuation Simulations

Invited presentations

  • Evacuation behaviours and communications’. Keynote speaker. International Crowd Science Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, 11 September 2019.
  • My experiences as an International Research Fellow’, National Inclusion Week, University of Leeds, UK, 25-9-2019.
  • Evacuation behaviours and communications’, Keynote lecture at International Conference on Crowd Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, 11-9-2019.
  • Is laughter the best medicine?’, Research Seminar, Leeds University Business School, UK, 11-6-2019.
  • How to write a grant proposal’, Marie Curie Individual Fellowship Event, University of Leeds, UK, 16-5-2019.
  • Evacuation research: Learning about evacuations and crowds’, Be Curious Festival, University of Leeds, UK, 30-3-2019.
  • Developing a roadmap for evidence-based egress drills’, Ottawa, Northumbria, London, CAN, UK, 12-6-2018-30-4-2019.
  • ‘Modelling and Simulation of Social Evacuations’, workshop on pedestrian dynamics, University of Warwick, UK, 25-02-2019.
  • ‘Risky Decisions and Risk Communication in Emergency Situations’, Centre for Decision Research Seminar, University of Leeds, UK, 06-02-2019.
  • Participated in workshop ‘Physics and Psychology of Human Crowd Dynamics’, University of Leiden, NL, 05-11-2018-09-11-2018.
  • How to write a grant proposal’, UK Research Office Marie Curie Individual Fellowship Event, University of Leeds, UK, 16-5-2018.
  • Technologies for Crowd Monitoring’, N8 Policing Research Partnership, Leeds University Business School, UK, 16-5-2018.

Core Project Members

Advisory Board Members:

  • Professor Keith Still, Professor of Crowd Science, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Paul Townsend, Associate Director, Crowd Dynamics
  • Robert Pyke, West Yorkshire Resilience Forum Coordinator, Leeds City Council
  • Dr Angela Kneidl, Founder accu:rate Institute for Crowd Simulations
  • Corinne Mycock, Centre Operations Manager Trinity Leeds

Contact

Dr Natalie van der Wal
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow
Centre for Decision Research
Leeds University Business School
Moorland Road
Leeds
LS61AN

Office: 1.23 Charles Thackrah Building
Phone: +44 113 343 2731
Email: c.n.vanderwal@leeds.ac.uk