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Translating Behavioral Theory of Human Response into Modeling Practice (NISTGCR 12-972)



Steve M. Gwynne


A key limitation of current egress models is the scope and sophistication of the behavioral models that are embedded within them to determine what evacuees do and how long it takes them to do it. Kuligowski has recently produced a predictive behavioral model as part of her analysis of the World Trade Center (WTC) incident. She specifically addressed the pre-evacuation period; i.e., the process that leads to an individual initiating her movement towards safety. This represents an important step in the understanding of human behavior in fire and in the simulation of such behavior. However, this theoretical model is qualitative in nature and focuses specifically on the WTC incident. For this to be embedded within an existing egress simulation tool, effort is required to identify the structures needed to house such a model and the attributes and processes needed to enable its representation such that the model can be expanded beyond the pre-evacuation period and beyond the WTC incident. The purpose of this report is to describe the ways in which a computer egress model can incorporate the Kuligowski pre-evacuation behavioral model and the impact that this might have on the results produced.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 12-972
Report Number


Building fires, egress, egress modeling, evacuation, human behavior, World Trade Center


Gwynne, S. (2012), Translating Behavioral Theory of Human Response into Modeling Practice (NISTGCR 12-972), Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created November 13, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017