Conceptualizing intragroup and intergroup dynamics within a controlled crowd evacuation


  • Terra Elzie, ME
  • Erika Frydenlund, MS
  • Andrew J. Collins, PhD
  • R. Michael Robinson, PhD



agent-based model, decision-making, evacuation, pedestrian, simulation


Social dynamics play a critical role in successful pedestrian evacuations. Crowd modeling research has made progress in capturing the way individual and group dynamics affect evacuations; however, few studies have simultaneously examined how individuals and groups interact with one another during egress. To address this gap, the researchers present a conceptual agent-based model (ABM) designed to study the ways in which autonomous, heterogeneous, decision-making individuals negotiate intragroup and intergroup behavior while exiting a large venue. A key feature of this proposed model is the examination of the dynamics among and between various groupings, where heterogeneity at the individual level dynamically affects group behavior and subsequently group/group interactions. ABM provides a means of representing the important social factors that affect decision making among diverse social groups. Expanding on the 2013 work of Vizzari et al., the researchers focus specifically on social factors and decision making at the individual group and group/group levels to more realistically portray dynamic crowd systems during a pedestrian evacuation. By developing a model with individual, intragroup, and intergroup interactions, the ABM provides a more representative approximation of real-world crowd egress. The simulation will enable more informed planning by disaster managers, emergency planners, and other decision makers. This pedestrian behavioral concept is one piece of a larger simulation model. Future research will build toward an integrated model capturing decision-making interactions between pedestrians and vehicles that affect evacuation outcomes.

Author Biographies

Terra Elzie, ME

Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center, Old Dominion University, Suffolk, Virginia

Erika Frydenlund, MS

Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center, Old Dominion University, Suffolk, Virginia

Andrew J. Collins, PhD

Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center, Old Dominion University, Suffolk, Virginia

R. Michael Robinson, PhD

Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center, Old Dominion University, Suffolk, Virginia


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How to Cite

Elzie, ME, T., E. Frydenlund, MS, A. J. Collins, PhD, and R. M. Robinson, PhD. “Conceptualizing Intragroup and Intergroup Dynamics Within a Controlled Crowd Evacuation”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 13, no. 2, Mar. 2015, pp. 109-20, doi:10.5055/jem.2015.0224.