People Flow in Buildings – Evacuation Experiments and Modelling of Elevator Passenger Traffic

Juha-Matti Kuusinen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This dissertation studies people flow in buildings, especially the process of how passengers arrive at elevator lobbies, estimation of elevator passenger traffic, and human behaviour and decision making in evacuations. The arrival process is studied by taking into account, for the first time, that passengers do not always arrive and use elevators individually but rather in batches. The results suggest that the common assumption that individual arrivals follow a Poisson distribution may not hold when the proportion of batch arrivals is large. To estimate the elevator passenger traffic in a building, new mathematical models and algorithms are developed. The new methods are based on mathematical optimization, namely, linear programming, integer least squares and constraint programming. The results from numerical experiments show that the new approaches satisfy real-time elevator control requirements. In addition, randomized algorithms result in better quality passenger traffic statistics than traditional deterministic algorithms. The dissertation presents also an experimental evacuation study. The results show that people may not be able to select the fastest exit route and that cooperation may slow down the evacuation. The new estimation models and algorithms presented in this dissertation enable better elevator control and some of them are already being implemented by KONE Corporation. The results also give new insights into the process of how passengers arrive at the elevator lobbies and use elevators and into human behaviour in evacuation situations, which affect elevator and building safety planning.
Translated title of the contributionHenkilöliikenne rakennuksissa – evakuointikokeita ja hissiliikennemalleja
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Ehtamo, Harri, Supervising Professor
  • Siikonen, Marja-Liisa, Thesis Advisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6161-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6162-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • people flow
  • building
  • evacuation
  • experiment
  • behaviour
  • elevator
  • arrival process
  • origin-destination matrix
  • estimation
  • integer programming


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