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The Superposition Principle: A Conceptual Perspective on Pedestrian Stream Simulations

Michael J. Seitz, Felix Dietrich, Gerta Köster, Hans-Joachim Bungartz


Models using a superposition of scalar fields for navigation are prevalent in microscopic pedestrian stream simulations. However, classifications, differences, and similarities of models are not clear at the conceptual level of navigation mechanisms. In this paper, we describe the superposition of scalar fields as an approach to microscopic crowd modelling and corresponding motion schemes. We use this background discussion to focus on the similarities and differences of models, and find that many models make use of similar mechanisms for the navigation of virtual agents. In some cases, the differences between models can be reduced to differences between discretisation schemes. The interpretation of scalar fields varies across models, but most of the time this variation does not have a large impact on simulation outcomes. The conceptual analysis of different models of pedestrian dynamics allows for a better understanding of their capabilities and limitations and may lead to better model development and validation.


Crowd models; simulation; microscopic; scalar fields; superposition; social forces; local optimisation; pedestrians; discretisation; comparison of models

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Copyright (c) 2016 Michael J. Seitz, Felix Dietrich, Gerta Köster, Hans-Joachim Bungartz

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