Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Subhadeep Chakraborty

Committee Members

William R. Hamel, Asad J. Khattak, Jindong Tan, Eric R. Wade


Emergency evacuation is a critical research topic and any improvement to the existing evacuation models will help in improving the safety of the evacuees. Currently, there are evacuation models that have either an accurate movement model or a sophisticated decision model. Individuals in a crowd tend to share and propagate their opinion. This opinion sharing part is either implicitly modeled or entirely overlooked in most of the existing models. Thus, one of the overarching goal of this research is to the study the effect of opinion evolution through an evacuating crowd. First, the opinion evolution in a crowd was modeled mathematically. Next, the results from the analytical model were validated with a simulation model having a simple motion model. To improve the fidelity of the evacuation model, a more realistic movement and decision model were incorporated and the effect of opinion sharing on the evacuation dynamics was studied extensively. Further, individuals with strong inclination towards particular route were introduced and their effect on overall efficiency was studied. Current evacuation guidance algorithms focuses on efficient crowd evacuation. The method of guidance delivery is generally overlooked. This important gap in guidance delivery is addressed next. Additionally, a virtual reality based immersive experiment is designed to study factors affecting individuals' decision making during emergency evacuation.


Portions of this document were previously published in journals or conference proceedings and the journal articles or conference proceedings are cited in the relevant chapters. Please cite the journal article(s) or the conference proceeding(s) along with the thesis citation. Thank you.

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