Agent-based model of passenger flows in airport terminals

Ma, Wenbo (2013) Agent-based model of passenger flows in airport terminals. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Passenger flow studies in airport terminals have shown consistent statistical relationships between airport spatial layout and pedestrian movement, facilitating prediction of movement from terminal designs. However, these studies are done at an aggregate level and do not incorporate how individual passengers make decisions at a microscopic level. Therefore, they do not explain the formation of complex movement flows. In addition, existing models mostly focus on standard airport processing procedures such as immigration and security, but seldom consider discretionary activities of passengers, and thus are not able to truly describe the full range of passenger flows within airport terminals. As the route-choice decision-making of passengers involves many uncertain factors within the airport terminals, the mechanisms to fulfill the capacity of managing the route-choice have proven difficult to acquire and quantify.

Could the study of cognitive factors of passengers (i.e. human mental preferences of deciding which on-airport facility to use) be useful to tackle these issues? Assuming the movement in virtual simulated environments can be analogous to movement in real environments, passenger behaviour dynamics can be similar to those generated in virtual experiments. Three levels of dynamics have been devised for motion control: the localised field, tactical level, and strategic level. A localised field refers to basic motion capabilities, such as walking speed, direction and avoidance of obstacles. The other two fields represent cognitive route-choice decision-making. This research views passenger flow problems via a "bottom-up approach", regarding individual passengers as independent intelligent agents who can behave autonomously and are able to interact with others and the ambient environment. In this regard, passenger flow formation becomes an emergent phenomenon of large numbers of passengers interacting with others.

In the thesis, first, the passenger flow in airport terminals was investigated. Discretionary activities of passengers were integrated with standard processing procedures in the research. The localised field for passenger motion dynamics was constructed by a devised force-based model. Next, advanced traits of passengers (such as their desire to shop, their comfort with technology and their willingness to ask for assistance) were formulated to facilitate tactical route-choice decision-making. The traits consist of quantified measures of mental preferences of passengers when they travel through airport terminals. Each category of the traits indicates a decision which passengers may take. They were inferred through a Bayesian network model by analysing the probabilities based on currently available data. Route-choice decision-making was finalised by calculating corresponding utility results based on those probabilities observed.

Three sorts of simulation outcomes were generated: namely, queuing length before checkpoints, average dwell time of passengers at service facilities, and instantaneous space utilisation. Queuing length reflects the number of passengers who are in a queue. Long queues no doubt cause significant delay in processing procedures. The dwell time of each passenger agent at the service facilities were recorded. The overall dwell time of passenger agents at typical facility areas were analysed so as to demonstrate portions of utilisation in the temporal aspect. For the spatial aspect, the number of passenger agents who were dwelling within specific terminal areas can be used to estimate service rates. All outcomes demonstrated specific results by typical simulated passenger flows. They directly reflect terminal capacity. The simulation results strongly suggest that integrating discretionary activities of passengers makes the passenger flows more intuitive, observing probabilities of mental preferences by inferring advanced traits make up an approach capable of carrying out tactical route-choice decision-making.

On the whole, the research studied passenger flows in airport terminals by an agent-based model, which investigated individual characteristics of passengers and their impact on psychological route-choice decisions of passengers. Finally, intuitive passenger flows in airport terminals were able to be realised in simulation.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

424 since deposited on 17 Oct 2013
134 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 63457
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Yarlagadda, Prasad & Fookes, Clinton
Keywords: agent-based model, simulation, airport, pedestrian flow, agent decision-making, Bayesian networks, influence diagram, routing decisions, route-choice decision-making
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 17 Oct 2013 02:14
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 05:30

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page