Bottleneck Flow and Clogging
Bottleneck flow describes the situation where a group of pedestrians is moving from a wide area through a narrow gateway to reach their target. Near the bottleneck pedestrians can get into conflicts regarding who can enter the space in front of the bottleneck first, which reduces the flow. These situations are especially critical during emergency evacuations where pedestrians are urging to leave an area as fast as possible. In these cases an emergent phenomenon called “clogging” can be observed. Similar to granular particles like salt in a salt shaker, pedestrians can form stable structures in front of the bottleneck, which inhibit the flow further or in the worst case arrest it. High densities can be observed during these processes, which can lead to serious injuries. Using computational methods it is possible to simulate bottleneck flow in various environments. The aim is to find a minimal model which can produce the observed phenomena of clogging and high densities in front of bottlenecks.