Optimizing stadium evacuation by integrating geocomputation and affordance theory


  • Joslyn Zale, PhD
  • Bandana Kar, PhD
  • David Cochran, PhD




evacuation, agent-based model, GIS, hazard, stadium, network analysis, pedestrian evacuation, vehicular evacuation


Football is culturally and economically important in the United States, and football stadiums are part of the country's critical infrastructure, thus receiving government protection against hazard events. In this project, an agent-based evacuation model was implemented to optimize evacuation time from The University of Southern Mississippi's M.M. Roberts Stadium (football) by accounting for evacuees’ age, gender, physical fitness, alcohol consumption, and prior experience with hazard events. The findings revealed that (i) the age and gender of an individual impact his/her locomotion speed and (ii) evacuation route choice is influenced by evacuees’ perception of its safety and effectiveness. The estimated evacuation times for all evacuees to exit only the stadium and the stadium plus the surrounding campus were 20.82 and 165.01 minutes, respectively. Both of these times were shorter than the evacuation times determined by models employing location-unspecific locomotion speeds. One-way analysis of variance revealed that there were statistically significant differences between use of location-specific and location-unspecific within-stadium evacuation times (p ≤ 0.001 with α = 0.05). These results suggest that using local data is vital to accurately estimate evacuation time.

Author Biographies

Joslyn Zale, PhD

Department of Geography and Geology, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Bandana Kar, PhD

Research Scientist, Critical Infrastructure and Climate Team, Urban Dynamics Institute, Geographic Information Science and Technology Group, Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

David Cochran, PhD

Department of Geography and Geology, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi


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How to Cite

Zale, PhD, J., B. Kar, PhD, and D. Cochran, PhD. “Optimizing Stadium Evacuation by Integrating Geocomputation and Affordance Theory”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 16, no. 2, Mar. 2018, pp. 81-93, doi:10.5055/jem.2018.0357.