Modeling Pedestrian Tactical and Operational Decisions Under Risk and Uncertainty: A Two-Layer Model Framework

Rong Huang, Xuan Zhao, Yufei Yuan, Qiang Yu, Chengqing Liu, Winnie Daamen

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Pedestrian tactical choices and operational movement in evacuations essentially pertain to decision-making under risk and uncertainty. However, in microscopic evacuation models, this attribute has been greatly overlooked, even lacking a methodology to delineate the related decision characteristics (bounded rationality and risk attitudes), let alone their effects on evacuation processes. This work presents an innovative two-layer floor field cellular automaton model framework, where three intertwined sub-modules respectively dedicated to modelling the exit choice, the locomotion movement and the exit-choice changing behaviours are proposed and integrated as an entity. By introducing various decision-making elements computed by the proposed algorithm, Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT) is proposed for the first time to model the exit choice and locomotion decision-making under risk and uncertainty. In the exit-choice changing module, attractive and repulsive forces are invented to jointly describe the tendency to revisit the routing decision. Each sub-module and the whole framework are validated in manifold indoor environments. The simulation results of the modules with CPT accord with the empirics from the evacuation experiments and are superior over those from the state-of-the-art models. The degree of rationality and risk attitudes are proven to have significant impacts on tactical and operational decisions. Furthermore, irrational behaviour in decision-making is not variably detrimental to locomotion efficiency of pedestrians. The proposed framework can serve as an elegant tool to predict pedestrian dynamics. The behavioural findings shed new light on understanding and modelling the tactical and operational decisions in evacuations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 5259 - 5281
Number of pages23
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • cellular automaton
  • Computational modeling
  • cumulative prospect theory
  • Decision making
  • Mathematical models
  • Microscopy
  • Numerical models
  • operational decision
  • Pedestrian simulation
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • tactical decision
  • Uncertainty


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