Investigating commuter train boarding and alighting dispersal by contemporary agent based modelling techniques

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This paper concerns research into the use of a contemporary computer simulation to replicate the passenger dynamics of boarding and alighting suburban trains. Advances in computational methods have enabled researchers to model and animate imagined scenes in more visually compelling ways. The implications of these improvements in crowd modelling can be seen in decision-making processes concerning the design of carriage interiors and the impediments of platform furniture. While agent based modelling has been in the professional milieu for many years it has tended to be applied to macro scale problems, presented in plan view with agents represented as dots all moving at similar speeds. This paper describes work which models small numbers of passengers and variable behaviours therein allowing a more detailed analysis of the effect of individual behaviours on for example dwell time. The inclusion of 3D human models with animated behaviours into these spaces remains comparatively rare. The reasons for the absence of human models can be attributed to the unique challenges involved in animating 3D figures, but also to the absence of animators and computer game researchers involved in the simulation design process. Recent advances in game engine technology and processing power has enabled sophisticated representational human models with walk cycles, idle cycles and a range of recognisably human gestures. The Authors believe that there is a compelling case for increasing the visual sophistication of simulations so that they enable more accurate and nuanced responses in the development of station infrastructure, train carriage design and their implications on timetabling and network planning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 Australasian Transport Research Forum Papers
EditorsS Travis Waller, Hanna Grzybowska, Emily Moylan, Matthew Jones, Sherri Fields
Place of PublicationCanberra ACT Australia
PublisherDepartment of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2015 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 30 Sept 20152 Oct 2015
Conference number: 37th (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2015
Abbreviated titleATRF 2015
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