Case Studies

First responder comms research

by Mark Rowe

Movement Strategies, the movement consulting arm of consultancy GHD, is partnering with the University of Edinburgh on a four-year research project, titled: Simulating the Impact of First Responder Communication Strategies on Citizen Compliance in Emergencies. Their aim; to understand what helps or hinders citizens to act in an emergency; and, the ultimate aim, to make safer behaviour and better planning responses in emergencies.

The research which cover first responders, social psychologists, and pedestrian modellers, led by Dr Steve Gwynne, of Movement Strategies, Research Lead; Dr Aoife Hunt, Market Leader; and Dr Hui Xie, Advisor.

Computational pedestrian models provide a tool for emergency planning by simulating the consequences of crowd response during emergencies. These models can then be used to inform communications to crowds. Movement Strategies says modelling will capture the impact of responder communication on crowds by better representing the physical and social factors present.

The interdisciplinary team will ascertain how communication strategies can affect adherence to instructions and provide a foundation for evidence-based group processes into a pedestrian model. Movement Strategies will create evidence-based models of behaviour in emergencies that reflect the impact of group dynamics on communication strategies.

Dr Steve Gwynne said: “Crowd management is critical to both avoiding crowd emergencies and limiting the consequences of them. We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Edinburgh on such an important project, which will help to inform safer and more effective crowd management strategies in the future. Furthermore, bringing together a range of disciplines will encourage more robust designs and better-informed procedural and policy decision-making in the future.”

Anne Templeton, Principal Investigator at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This project will make novel insights into how group dynamics impact emergency response, and integrate these social psychological factors into movement models to improve safety planning. I am thrilled to be working with Movement Strategies, whose expertise in developing research-led movement models is invaluable to this project.”

Pictured: 9-11 memorial on the London 2012 Olympic Park.

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