A hybrid hierarchical agent-based simulation approach for buildings indoor layout evaluation based on the post-earthquake evacuation

Sajjad Hassanpour, Vicente Gonzalez, Jiamou Liu, Yang Zou, Guillermo Cabrera-Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In the aftermath of severe earthquakes, building occupants evacuation behaviour is a vital indicator of the performance of an indoor building design. However, earthquake evacuation has been systematically neglected in the current building design practice. Arguably, one of the primary reasons for this is that post-earthquake evacuation behaviour is complex and distinct from all other types of evacuation behaviours such as fire. Thus, a comprehensive approach to considering the integration of human evacuation behaviour and a building's indoor layout design, mainly focused on non-structural damage, has been consistently neglected in the literature. In this paper, a hierarchical hybrid Agent-Based Model (ABM) framework integrated with a Cellular Automata (CA) and a 2D Building Information Model (BIM) damage visualisation to consider an approximation of non-structural damage has been developed. The proposed ABM incorporates learning mechanisms and human psychological aspects influencing evacuees' utility during the navigation process. The proposed approach was verified by comparing the results to previous real-life post-earthquake evacuation data and a “model to model” comparison of results from the existing relevant studies. The model prototype was successfully tested to simulate the pedestrian evacuation process from one floor of the new engineering building at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. The proposed simulation approach has been carried out for two different internal layout design alternatives where five population sizes are evacuated through different scenarios. The outputs from this study can be used to improve the design's compatibility of the building's indoor layout with the occupants' post-earthquake evacuation behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101531
JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Agent-based models
  • Evacuation simulation
  • Indoor layout design evaluation
  • Reinforcement learning


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