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Evaluation of Evacuation Performance Using Different Locomotive Postures




Cao, Li

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Industrial and Systems Engineering


Humans may adopt atypical locomotive postures due to breathing zone constraints during emergency evacuations. Except for walking upright, postures during evacuation have been sparsely researched. This study evaluated travel velocity and physiological demand for five different evacuation postures (Upright Walking (UW), Stoop-Walking (SW), Foot and Hand Crawling (FHC), Knee and Hand Crawling (KHC) and Low Crawling (LC)) representing different breathing zone levels. Kinematic analysis of these different locomotive postures was also conducted using a 3D motion tracking system: Xsens. Results indicate that locomotive posture impacts human velocity and physiological demands. Crawling is significantly slower and more physically demanding (higher average Heart Rate (HRavg) level, higher Volume of Oxygen consumption (VO2), higher Ventilation Rate (VE), and higher Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER)) than walking. Average maximum crawling distance is less than 250 feet (76.2 m). Furthermore, Foot and Hand Crawling (FHC) is faster, but perceived to be more physically demanding than both Knee and Hand Crawling (KHC) and Low Crawling (LC). Gender has a significant effect on crawling velocity and maximum crawling distance. Males move faster and attain longer distances than females in all crawling postures. Results of the study can provide a way to evaluate human capabilities and limitations during evacuation and give additional guidance about the effects of different postures (breathing zone heights) on egress performance, which supports the design of building evacuation routes.