An early-stage design model for estimating ship evacuation patterns using the ship-centric Markov decision process

Austin Kana, Koen Droste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


An early-stage design model is presented that estimates personnel locations on board a vessel during times of evacuation. This model takes into account various levels of uncertainty and pain that individuals may feel while heading toward safety, while simultaneously not requiring highly detailed information regarding the vessel layout. This makes this model suitable for analysis during early stages of design. To do this, principal eigenvector analysis is applied to the ship-centric Markov decision process model. Principal eigenvector analysis provides a leading indicator metric for forecasting and quantifying locations of individuals when coupled with the ship-centric Markov decision process model. For evacuation models suited for later stages of design, full temporal simulations may be required to understand long-term implications of personnel movement. This article proposes an alternative method that is able to identify some of these implications while not requiring full details of the vessel layout nor temporal simulations. To do this, a common theorem in Markov theory is applied that defines how the principal eigenvector represents the long-term steady-state behavior of the system. Metrics are defined that quantify the probability that an individual will congregate at specific locations on the vessels and highlight sensitivities to long-term behavior. A case study of a simplified vessel layout is presented that examines decision-making regarding ship egress analysis and general arrangements design. The results highlight specific areas of interest that cause significant changes to where individuals congregate and the probability they arrive safely at the exit. Sensitivity studies are performed varying the uncertainty in the movement of the individuals, how much pain they are experiencing, and one example where a passageway is blocked.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-149
JournalInstitution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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