Friday, January 28

Researchers used the closure of Pamplona to study how people flee in a situation of real danger

If we could understand how crowds act in times of danger when they must escape, we could make more effective evacuation plans. But experimentally analyzing this type of situation in real settings is very complex. However, a group of researchers has concluded that the running of the bulls in Pamplona is a great laboratory of human behavior.

The closure of Pamplona as a scientific laboratory

Based on the confinements, a published study in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) notes that runners increase their speed as the density of people rises in the middle of the race. According to the researchers, the systems studied so far indicate the opposite, that is, the higher the density of people, the lower the speed.

To arrive at these results, Daniel Parisi, from the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology and his colleagues recorded the confinements of the July 8 and 9, 2019. The video shots focused on capturing the runners and the bulls from two different angles of the street. Then, they extracted the trajectories of animals and people individually and analyzed the relationship between density and speed.

The researchers observed that the runners, alerted to impending danger, they began to move rapidly seconds before the first bulls arrived. Their pace was increasing as the density increased but when the crowd reached one or two people per square meter, some people began to crash and fall and the speed dropped dramatically.

The analysis of the images determined that in general the falls coincided with the passage of the bulls in the narrowest streets. Once the runners and bulls had passed, those who were behind them had a much slower speed. After about 50 seconds, most of the pedestrians were already walking calmly along the street.

“We are very proud of the scope of the study. This very particular system (San Fermín) allows the collection of real data on pedestrian dynamics in extreme conditions that could be key to achieving a better management of the infrastructure ”, highlights Daniel Parisi on the ITBA website.

Images | Flickr |ITBA