Supporting Mass Evacuation Guidance within Public  Transport Environments during a Disaster Event  Viveca Jiménez-Mixco#1,...
and 2) that all travellers, including children, elderly and         second, to coordinate the actions with the rest of eme...
•   User Profile Agents, which are responsible of                   The VR training system incorporates simulated multi-us...
are either protecting life or are producing revenue only whenoperating are generally intolerant of loss of servicemalfunct...
emergency is sent through the TI, from sensor detection                              V. CONCLUSIONS     to travellers, res...
[2]   FHWA- Federal Highway Administration, US Department of                    [10]   Gérard Morel, Jean-François Pétin a...
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Paper Viveca Jiménez - Supporting Mass Evacuation Guidance within Public Transport Environments during a Disaster Event

  1. 1. Supporting Mass Evacuation Guidance within Public Transport Environments during a Disaster Event Viveca Jiménez-Mixco#1, Héctor Marfull Verdoy#1, María F. Cabrera-Umpiérrez#1, Arturo Díaz de Barrionuevo#1 Evangelos Bekiaris#2, Phyl Blythe#3 #1 Technical University of Madrid C/Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain {vjimenez,hmarfull,chiqui} #2 Centre for Research and Technology Hellas 6th Km Charilaou-Thermi Road, 57001 (PO Box 361) Thermi-Thessaloniki, Greece #3 University of Newcastle upon Tynes Cassie Building, NE1 7RU, United Kingdom— One of the most challenging issues when a disaster possibility of a large earthquake damaging its infrastructure.event happens is to apply an accurate pre-defined response plan. The main weak point in public transport can be identified inRescuers need to react immediately and coordinate properly to “closed” areas, such as the metro complex or long tunnels inassure that all the individuals in the area are informed, receive highways [2]. On the other hand, fires with the most seriousappropriate assistance and get evacuated from the zone within a consequences have mostly been the result of tunnel accidents.short period of time. For this purpose, communications havebeen proven to be essential at every moment. The work A fire in a tunnel can be lethal. The heat builds up verypresented in this paper describes the Telecommunication quickly. That is why fire detection and ventilation systems andInfrastructure proposed in the context of SAVE ME project, emergency exits must be provided, the emergency serviceswhich aims at providing a fault tolerant communication, from must be alerted immediately, and tunnel operators must besensor detection to emergency centre in the event of an able to put emergency plans into operation seamlessly. Whenemergency scenario to save the lives of the affected people, giving a fire breaks out in a tunnel, vehicle occupants are changedparticular emphasis to the most vulnerable ones. from spectators of an accident into participants in a potential disaster, since they can be easily exposed to toxic flame and I. INTRODUCTION smoke and trapped in areas where rescue teams have very Disasters occur frequently around the world, like the recent restricted access [3].earthquake in Turkey, and their incidence and intensity seem In addition, a great menace of our time is be increasing in recent years. Whether their origin comes Transportation means, hubs and stations are targets of terroristfrom a natural or man-made source, they usually affect wide attacks, because of the easy access and escape for theareas, lead to widespread loss of life directly and indirectly terrorists and the fact that congregations of strangersaffect large segments of the population and cause significant guarantee anonymity, but also because crowds in containedenvironmental damage and large-scale economic and social environments are vulnerable to conventional explosives andharm [1]. In most cases people get trapped and have to wait up unconventional weapons. Finally, attacks cause alarm andto several days for the medical team to rescue them. As great disruption. Past and recent attacks have caused the deathdisasters tend to become more recurrent, it is becoming a must of many prepare well for them and especially in relation to the most According to the above data, natural disasters and terrorismvulnerable citizens protection. constitute a great and escalating menace to personal injuries in This fact has a direct influence on transport operations and closed areas as the transportation networks, means and hubs,means. More precisely: One major difficulty that is imposed with emphasis to its people concentration nodes, such asin planning the logistics of private and public transport is the Public Transport terminals/stations and tunnels. This implies 1)effect of a catastrophic earthquake. Although the fact is that that rescuers need precise information on the situation,planning ahead of an earthquake is not always feasible, public seamless communication means between them and thetransport mainly dedicates extensive analyses in the operations centre and proper guidance to the trapped travellers,
  2. 2. and 2) that all travellers, including children, elderly and second, to coordinate the actions with the rest of emergencydisabled need appropriate guidance to be able to escape from responders to be able to evacuate travellers from the place andthe affected area [4][5]. solve the situation. Usually, from the rescuers point of view, Communication is critical during an emergency and needs as a key issue in emergency situations, it is critical to provideto be addressed thoroughly within the disaster-response plan communications redundantly, so that there is no loss of[6]. The communication challenges include reaching people in service at any moment.different locations with different devices quickly and The Telecommunication module presented in this papersimultaneously; providing the right message (in terms of addresses these needs, and in order to better understand itscontent, length, and format); monitoring delivery and response; role and the interaction of the Telecommunicationand ensuring that the process is initiated and suspended at the Infrastructure (TI) with other SAVE ME elements, the readerright times [7]. should first get an overview of the components of the whole This paper presents an approach proposed in the context of system, which are illustrated in Fig 1 and described below:the European funded project SAVE-ME [8], which aims todevelop a system that detects disaster events in publictransport terminals/ vehicles and critical infrastructures (i.e.tunnels and bridges) and supports quick and optimal massevacuation guidance, to save the lives of the general publicand the rescuers, giving special emphasis to the mostvulnerable travellers. In particular, we will describe theTelecommunication Infrastructure, which objective is toprovide a fault tolerant communication, from sensor detectionto emergency centre, in the event of an emergency scenario. II. MATERIALS AND METHODS The work started with a detailed analysis of the differenttarget groups (travellers including the most vulnerable onesand all the responders to an emergency), the keytransportations environments (PT hubs, PT vehicles, tunnels,etc.) and the most important disaster events (both for naturaland man-made disasters). From all that information, the most Fig. 1. SAVE ME system overviewcritical disaster types, transportation environments and targetgroups were selected. For them, stakeholders’ needs(operators’, emergency units’, travellers’) were analysed A. Detection and Communication Systemthrough interviews, focus group discussions and literature The detection and communication system consists of:surveys, with emphasis on the particular needs of the various • A wireless sensor network (WSN) grid, includingvulnerable travellers groups, (i.e. elderly, disabled, children). localization (through MOTES, Wi-fi and Bluetooth) andAlso, a thorough benchmarking was performed on relevant environmental detection (of fire, flood, temperature,technologies, algorithms and policies, to be taken into account. noise, etc) combined with hybrid localizationOn the other hand, the influence of stress, panic and other techniques, to allow detection of the emergency keyemotions on human behaviour was researched (in relation to parameters and localize travellers in the emergency areaall traveller groups, disaster types and considering the system and their movements;feedback). • A Telecommunication Infrastructure module that allows The process of extraction of user needs and requirements transmission of these data to the operators centre, evenconfirmed that one of the main issues during an emergency under adverse conditions. This module is the coresituation is to re-establish or maintain the communications element of the work presented in this paper and will beamong the rescue teams and emergency unit’s operators. The further explained in the Results section.needs of these stakeholders are as important as the needs oftravellers, and in order to address these needs, B. Intelligent Agents for Personalisationcommunications are essential. Travellers need to receive as Intelligent Agents are the software entities, which act in amuch information as possible of the kind of situation, nearest cooperative manner, in order to provide personalized servicesemergency exits, how to react, etc. in order to be able to to trapped travellers. These agents represent users and theirescape. The operators of the emergency coordination centre preferences, and provide safety recommendations or performneed communications in order to assess the situation and reasoning and making decisions about which are the mostdispatch the necessary and adequate resources as quickly as appropriate means of each aspect of users in an emergencypossible. Also, the rescue teams need communications, first, situation, based upon their specific be informed (type of emergency, location, number of The multi-agent architecture is composed of the followingpeople involved, status map for all involved actors), and agent types:
  3. 3. • User Profile Agents, which are responsible of The VR training system incorporates simulated multi-user monitoring and handling detailed information about the interaction and communication tasks. It will also feature user preferences, the kind of the end-user device and the Artificial Intelligence crowd simulation techniques, in order to attributes of user’s physical environment, conceived provide a realistic crowd behaviour feedback that will enhance through suitable sensing mechanisms. its realistic appeal. • Sensor Agents, which are responsible of capturing the Finally, the VR training and guidance system will feature a values of the hardware sensor signals in an agent- number of specific emergency scenarios that will allow to understandable format, in order to provide notifications realistically modelling in 3D the locations of emergency upon potential modification of the received sensor situations with all the pertinent environmental parameters of values. these specific locations. • Decision Support Agents, responsible of interacting with the Decision Support System whenever a decision E. Emergency support interfaces mechanism needs to be activated, in order to perform Appropriate human interaction in emergency conditions reasoning over an emergency situation. and critical visual, chemical and noise environment is • Emergency Notification Agents, which notify the user essential to assure the provision of valuable escape in real-time about the occurrence of an emergency event. instructions to travellers at need and thus enable a fast and • Service Agents, which are activated whenever a specific safe evacuation. Consequently, the system includes novel type of information is requested by the client side. graphical, acoustical and haptic user interfaces. Human interaction depends on the target personC. Decision Support System and Simulation module characteristics, such as age, language, mental or physical The Decision Support System is the core intelligence of the impairments, that can influence the understanding of thesystem. It receives information from the Detection System and information. Thus, the emergency support strategies dependthe Simulation module and subsequently processes it to on parameters such as type of emergency, type of environment,provide personalized and group wise routing for the people topology of the location, situation criticality, type of device,detected in the area. It will also support dynamic grouping etc.structure for crowd simulation modelling in emergency Based on the previous parameters, the interaction mode cansituations. Therefore, the system will calculate the fastest and consist of:safest route to the closest exit for every individual and guide • Depending on the infrastructure level: variable messagethem on it; individuals will be targeted through their mobile sign information, programmable LED panels, simpleterminals while groups will receive information through sound elements, etc.situated displays and voice messages. The system is based on • Depending on personal device: simple or complexan Agent-based Modelling technique, able to simulate the visual sign, simple or complex audio, tactile.actions and interactions of autonomous individuals, with aview to assessing their effects on the system as a whole. The III. RESULTSmodel agents take into account travellers attributes (such as A. Goals and Outputage, mobility restrictions, as well as psychological traits suchas panic, fear, confusion, etc.) that can change over time or The main goal of the SAVE ME telecommunicationwith circumstances and can be adjusted to provide multiple module is to maintain the communications within a specificrealistic versions of the simulation. In addition, users will be transport infrastructure, from sensor detection to the controlable to access the simulation remotely through a mobile centre, and rescuers’ and travellers’ mobile devices, in thehandheld device and thus gain insight into real-time data, as event of an emergency scenario. The module transmits datawell as historic trends and predictive near future events and even under adverse conditions, thus enabling continuouspatterns. operation, reliable and safe. The network infrastructure has been designed following theD. Training and Guidance System three fundamental characteristic of fault-tolerance [9] [10]: The objective of this module is to enable the correct • Replication: Providing multiple identical instances oftraining of operators of the emergency response platform, but the same system or subsystem, directing tasks oralso to assess its operation under simulated emergency requests to all of them in parallel, and choosing thescenarios. correct result on the basis of a quorum; The Virtual Reality (VR) Training and Guidance System • Redundancy: Providing multiple identical instances ofsimulates the operation of the infrastructure through an the same system and switching to one of the remaininginteractive 3D environment that includes different aspects of instances in case of a failure;the system, including: opening of doors, vent and other • Diversity: Providing multiple different implementationsevacuation facilities, remote operation of emergency of the same specification, and using them like replicatedequipment, handling the monitoring of individuals by remote systems to cope with errors in a specific implementation.control of surveillance equipment, guidance of emergency Fault tolerance is needed in many systems because theteams and travellers, voice guidance, etc. consequences of a malfunction have a higher cost than the cost of preventing the malfunction. For example, systems that
  4. 4. are either protecting life or are producing revenue only whenoperating are generally intolerant of loss of servicemalfunctions [9]. This is the case of SAVE ME TI. Thesystem will work under emergency circumstances and itsperformance is critical in order to be able to properly managethe situation and enable a quick and safe evacuation oftravellers and rescue personnel. However, the characteristic offault tolerance is not an absolute: no system can be truly madetolerant to any possible combination of faults. Thus, there willbe always some combination of events and failures that maylead to the disruption of the system, and the question becomesone of degree, how much tolerance to faults is required. The Fig. 3. Wi-Fi and BT connection with mobile phonesarchitecture of SAVE ME TI follows these principles in thesense that even though the potential of the hazard event is too To set up an ad-hoc wireless network, each wireless adapterstrong and some components of the networks collapse, the must be configured for ad-hoc mode versus the alternativesystem will be automatically reconfigured so that the infrastructure mode, and all wireless adapters must use thecommunication service is not lost. If the emergency situation same SSID and the same channel number. An ad-hoc networkis more powerful than the requirements and some nodes tends to feature a small group of devices all in very closecollapse, the architecture will automatically reconfigure the proximity to each other. Ad hoc networks work well as anetwork routing by using the active nodes. temporary fallback mechanism if normally-available infrastructure mode gear (access points or routers) stopB. Module description functioning [11]. To benefit from the advantages of ad-hoc The model proposed is based on low cost ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks and minimize their drawbacks, the B.A.T.M.A.Nrouters able to manage Bluetooth with pre-installed and [12] routing protocol has been used.automatic upgradable emergency software. These routers have Table I indicates the hardware components needed for eachto become active when an emergency is detected and have to of the installed in transport infrastructures as black boxes. TABLE I HARDWARE ELEMENTS No ROUTER HARDWARE COMPONENTS Element Description 1 PC A PC, equipped and configured specifically for the SAVE ME TI 2 Wireless PCI Card One is configured as access (IEEE 802. 11 b/g/n) point, for the communication between the router and the user’s mobile device. The other is configured in ad-hoc mode, for the communication among routers.Fig. 2. Telecommunication Infrastructure 1 Bluetooth Card To support BT communication between router and mobile Therefore, if the communication network in SAVE ME is device.configured in Ad-hoc mode, if a router breaks and becomesisolated during an emergency, the network will beautomatically reconfigured and the connection with a mobile C. Interaction with other SAVE ME componentsdevice will be redirected (Fig.3), so the network should be The sub-systems of the SAVE ME prototype are mainlyable to provide the evacuation plan to the travellers located in linked together by an overall TCP/IP based network topology,its range zone. If the infrastructure has critical points of failure which continuous operation is guaranteed even in case ofthat block the internet connectivity, an embedded program, disasters by its telecommunication infrastructure. This moduleinstalled in the active routers, will provide information about (TI) resides as an outer shield of the overall SAVE MEthe static evacuation plan by using web based interface over communication system and provides a fault tolerantWi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to the mobile devices of communication mechanism. More specifically, the interactionusers entrapped in the transportation hub. among the TI and other SAVE Me components consists is the following: • Decision support system: the Decision support system activates the “emergency mode” of the Telecommunication Infrastructure when there is an emergency event. The information handled during the
  5. 5. emergency is sent through the TI, from sensor detection V. CONCLUSIONS to travellers, rescuers and operator support system. During a disaster event, a fast response is needed from all • Telecommunication Infrastructure: Each router provides the individuals and rescue teams that may be involved in order Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication. Ad-hoc mode is to allow a quick and secure evacuation of the area and thus used for communication between router and router, and avoid personal damages. This is especially critical when the the access point mode is used for communication event occurs within a closed area, such as a public transport between router and mobile device. facility, where travellers can be easily trapped and/or injured • Traveller/rescuer personal device: the user must and may need quick medical assistance. download and install an application on his mobile The SAVE ME project is developing an integrated device and register to it. There are two main scenarios approach to protect all travellers from physical disasters and available for the provision of guidance through mobile terrorist attack related risks, with emphasis to the most devices [13]: a) Full connectivity to the TI, when the vulnerable ones (such as elderly, children, disabled). It will network does not crash after the disaster event, and the support mass guidance evacuation of public transport vehicles, user has access to the routers which provide up-to-date stations and other critical infrastructures. The approach information via internet connection; b) Limited considers local group guidance advices; it is based on local connectivity to the TI, when the network crashes and sensing and decision and is integrated with central DSS-based the user has only access to an isolated router, so there is evacuation planning. Its Wireless Sensor Network with not any updated information available. sensing, communication, computing and interaction elements • Control Centre computer: The detailed information and DSS, constitute the basis for its fully integrated and about the disaster is sent to the Control Centre through pervasive group guidance solutions. Also, preventive the TI. One of the Control Centre application information will be considered, in order to provide complete functionalities is to let the operator check the status of group evacuation support. the TI for maintenance purposes. This paper has presented the core of the Detection and communication system, the Telecommunication Infrastructure. IV. EVALUATION It has been designed following the principles of a fault- Preliminary tests have been carried out in a laboratory tolerant system (replication, redundancy and diversity); it isenvironment with promising results. Currently the TI based on an ad-hoc wireless network with high powerhardware components are being revised with the objective of autonomy and high power transmission able to restore theimproving the coverage of the network and avoid any possible required communications in case of disaster events. Itinterference problems that may be more severe within a real provides consistent replication of the emergency informationtransport environment. and is able to communicate and inform directly the user. The full evaluation framework entails the installation and After being fully integrated with the other modules andtesting of the whole SAVE ME system in two Pilot sites: the sub-systems of the SAVE ME infrastructure, theunderground station and metro vehicles in Newcastle in the Telecommunication module will be tested in the two PilotUK and the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland. sites of the project. Redundancy will be addressed in order to The Gotthard road tunnel in Switzerland, with 17 Km long, provide full availability (~99.99%), and efficient spatiallyis one of the major European road connections through the located in order to cover the failure of any router. The testsAlps, and connects the Italian border (Chiasso) with Germany performed in the pilot sites will assess reliability, usability,and France (Basel). The Metro Rapid Transit System, user acceptance, economic and safety/security impacts of theoperated by NEXUS on behalf of the Tyne and Wear whole system.Passenger Transport Authority, passes through theMetropolitan Boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside, South ACKNOWLEDGMENTTyneside and the Cities of Newcastle upon Tyne and The heading of the Acknowledgment section and theSunderland. References section must not be numbered. This work has been The tests will involve all the systems and services of the partially funded by the European Union in the context of theplatform working under different context of use, as well as SAVE ME project (SST-2008- 234027), coordinated by thedifferent types of users (around 100 professionals and University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. The project started in 1stindividuals), including vulnerable travellers, such as elderly, October 2009, and has a duration of 36 months. Thechildren disabled and tourists (no language understanding). In consortium is composed of the following partners: UNEW,particular, the pilot plans focus on key areas of innovation: CERTH, SIMUDYNE, CNVVF, IES, COAT, GST, MIZAR,accurate user localisation in tunnels, terminals and hubs using USTUTT, UNIMORE and UPM.combinations of different sensor technologies along withexisting wireless and mobile technologies, dynamic REFERENCESmonitoring of position and movement of people and vehicles, [1] Handbook for Estimating the Socio-economic and Environmentalpersonalised as well as route guidance via mobile technology, Effects of Disasters. United Nations, Economic Commission for Latingeneric route guidance for those without mobile technology America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (The World Bank), 2003.and the DSS for guiding emergency support.
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