Panicking individuals tend to display maladaptive behavior such as "jamming" and life-threatening "over-crowding"
This observed jamming is a result of uncoordinated motion (aka "incoordination") and depends on the reward structure
Drawing on "socio-psychological literature, reports in the media, available video materials, empirical investigations, and engineering handbooks" the authors list nine features of escape panic:
These observations have encouraged us to model the collective phenomenon of escape panic in the framework of self-driven many particle systems
Each of pedestrians of mass likes to move with a certain desired speed in a certain direction , and therefore tends to correspondingly adapt his or her actual velocity with a certain characteristic time .
Simultaneously, he or she tries to keep a velocity-dependent distance from other pedestrians and walk .
This can be modeled by 'interaction forces' and , respectively.
Mathematically, this is represented as...
…while the change of position is given by the velocity
Additional equations are defined which describe the psychological tendency of two pedestrians to stay away from one another as well as their relationship to the walls — among some other model assumptions — these details are left out but can be found within the original text via the link at the top of the page.
Generally, to minimize the number of parameters, for reasons of calibration and robustness, identical values were chosen for all pedestrians with one exception.
With these model assumptions numerous escape panic phenomena are simulated...
When the desired velocity 1.5 m s — i.e. when people are rushing the simulation displays:
This simulation is in parallel to empirical findings of real situations
The arching underlying the clogging effect at the exit requires a combination of two effects:
As a result, the dangers of clogging during a moment of panic can be reduced by avoiding bottlenecks in the construction of buildings, etc.
Unfortunately, even for wide openings, some clogging effects can still be found (Fig. 2)
In this simulation, each pedestrian can either choose an individual direction or follow the average direction of his neighbors in a certain radios — or try a mixture of both.
… where denotes normalization of a vector .
What this means is...
What they learn is that that neither extreme is good
Pure individualistic behavior means that each pedestrian finds an exit only accidentally, while pure herding behavior implies that the entire crowd will eventually move into the same and probably blocked direction, so that available exists are not efficiently used (Fig. 3d), in agreement with observations. … we expect optimal chances of survival for a certain mixture of individualistic and herding behavior, where individualism allows some people to detect the exits and herding guarantees that successful solutions are imitated by the others.