Development and evaluation of a VR research tool to study wayfinding behaviour in a multi-story building

Yan Feng*, Dorine C. Duives, Serge P. Hoogendoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Although understanding wayfinding behaviour in complex buildings is important to ensure pedestrian safety, the state of the art predominantly investigated pedestrian movement in simplified environments. This paper presents a Virtual Reality tool – WayR, that is designed to investigate pedestrian wayfinding behaviour in a multi-story building under both normal and emergency situations. WayR supports free navigation and collects pedestrian walking trajectories, head movements and gaze points automatically. To evaluate WayR, a VR experiment consists of four wayfinding assignments were conducted. The validity and usability of WayR are evaluated using objective measures (i.e., route choice, evacuation exit choice, wayfinding performance, and observation behaviour) and subjective measures (i.e., realism, feeling of presence, system usability, and simulation sickness). Analysis of the objective measures indicates that participants’ wayfinding behaviour in VR matches with findings in the literature. Moreover, we found that overall participants behaved significantly different across wayfinding assignments with increasing complexity. Furthermore, the results of subjective measures indicate a high degree of realism, immersion, usability, and low level of sickness of WayR. Overall, the results demonstrated the face validity, content validity, construct validity and usability of WayR as a research tool to study wayfinding behaviour in a complex multi-story building.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105573
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Evacuation
  • Multi-story building
  • Pedestrian wayfinding
  • Route and exit choice
  • Validity
  • Virtual reality


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