Efficient evacuation from transport terminals is usually constrained by a lack of detailed knowledge of the geometry. In most cases, the population attempts to evacuate via the way they entered, bypassing or ignoring emergency exits. In serious fires, the inability to locate emergency exits can lead to loss of life as in the Kings Cross Underground Station (1988) and Düsseldorf airport (1996) fires. While terminal staff attempt to direct passengers to the most appropriate exits, they cannot be everywhere throughout the station and they may not be able to reach the population quickly enough. Throughout the world, emergency signage has traditionally been used to address this problem. However, recent research has shown that only 38% of people ‘see’ evacuation signage, even if the sign is located directly in front of them and their vision is unobstructed. GETAWAY will tackle this problem through the design and development of an Intelligent Active Dynamic Signage System (IADSS). Through the introduction of lit, flashing and running signs, the traditional static emergency sign will transformed into a Dynamic Signage System. The increased affordance offered by the DSS will significantly increase the detectability of the emergency exit sign. By linking the DSS to the alarm system, the DSS will only be activated when needed, thereby overcoming the ‘learnt irrelevance’ of emergency signs. Finally, the Active Dynamic Signage System will be linked to an automated system utilising evacuation simulation, CCTV footage and Fire Detection System information to determine the optimal evacuation route as the fire develops, bringing Intelligence to the ADSS. IADSS enables the terminal Incident Manager to direct passengers to the optimal egress route by activating the appropriate signs within the ADSS. The IADSS will be tested and validated through trials in the London Underground and Barcelona Metro. GETAWAY will bring the humble emergency exit sign into the 21st Century.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call
Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project
See on map