Testing the efficacy of platform and train passenger boarding, alighting and dispersal through innovative 3D agent-based modelling techniques

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Suburban railways around the world are experiencing a rapid increase in patronage. Higher passenger densities, particularly during peak times of the day, have implications for train punctuality, crowding, accessibility and passenger comfort. Research indicates that the design of the train carriage and the impediments of platform furniture all have an influence on accessibility and passenger dispersal, with consequences for service punctuality and network capacity. Building new concepts in train and station design are expensive undertakings and carry with the investment a high level of risk. Computational simulation methods such as agent-based modelling (ABM) can mitigate this risk at much lower cost. Many contemporary ABM modellers represent passenger flow at a macroscale, often in a single plan view and with agents travelling at same speeds and represented crudely as dots on a flat plane. This paper discusses a body of work concerning the building of a boarding and alighting simulator at a more detailed scale where a deeper and richer experience of crowd behaviour has been modelled using 3D animated figures. The primary benefit of these methods of evaluation is that they take away the expense and lack of realism present in experiments with full-size mock-ups. The outcomes of this work have resulted in sophisticated imagery, underpinned by technical accuracy that provides a tool for the development of station infrastructure, train carriage design with implications on timetabling and network planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalUrban Rail Transit
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • 3D
  • Agent-based modelling
  • Dwell time

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