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WiSE: Wayfinding in Social Environments

English title WiSE: Wayfinding in Social Environments
Applicant Hölscher Christoph
Number 162428
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Chair of Cognitive Science D-GESS ETH Zurich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.11.2015 - 31.01.2019
Approved amount 340'135.00
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Keywords (5)

spatial cognition; eye tracking; social cognition; navigation; virtual reality

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Zielgerichtete Navigation (Wayfinding) steht im Focus dieses kognitionswissenschaftlichen Projekts. Da Wayfinding meist im öffentlichen Raum stattfindet und als sozialer Prozess angesehen werden kann, sollte die Modellierung dieses Prozesses sowohl individuelle Strategien wie auch Gruppendynamik in Betracht ziehen. Diese Wechselwirkung wird in der Literatur häufig nicht beachtet. Dieses Projekt versucht individuelle und gruppendynamische Ansätze zu vereinen, um bessere Eingaben für die existierenden Modelle zu erzeugen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Die Entscheidungen, die Menschen während des Wayfindings treffen, hängen sowohl von der Struktur der Umgebung als auch den anwesenden Mitmenschen ab. Dieses Projekt wird drei Ebenen von Social Wayfinding untersuchen: individuell, in Kleingruppen und in Menschenmengen. Auf der individuellen Ebene werden wir den Einfluss von anderen Passanten auf die Entscheidungen des Einzelnen untersuchen. Auf der Kleingruppe-Ebene werden wir untersuchen, wie Mitglieder der Gruppe zusammenarbeiten, um ihren Weg zu finden. Und auf der dritten Ebene werden wir den Einfluss von individuellen Entscheidungen auf die Dynamik von Menschenmengen untersuchen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Dieses Projekt wird unmittelbaren Einfluss auf die Leitung von Fussgängerströmen, insbesondere in Bahnhöfen haben. Ein tieferes Verständnis der unterschiedlichen Fussgänger wird zu besseren Vorhersagen der Fussgängerströme führen und helfen, Gestaltungsrichtlinien zu entwickeln. Damit leistet das Projekt einen Beitrag zur besseren Unterstützung der Navigation von Einzelpersonen und Gruppen.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.10.2015

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Wayfinding can be defined as a process of making spatial decisions. Since most wayfinding happens in public spaces and can be considered a social activity, modelling of these processes involves understanding both individuals’ strategies and crowd dynamics at the same time. This reciprocity is often overlooked in the literature. This project aims to unify the two previously separate research fields in order to better inform existing models of wayfinding behavior.
Lay summary

The decisions that humans make while navigating depend both on the structure of the surrounding space and other people that populate that space.  This project will address three levels of social wayfinding: individual, small-group and crowd level. On the individual level, we will investigate the impact of other people on individuals’ decisions. On the small-group level, we will study how members of a group work together in order to find their wayfinding goal. Lastly, we will investigate the impact of individuals’ decisions on emergent dynamics of the crowd (e.g., lane formation, congestions).  

This project will have direct impact on transportation planning for rail networks. Understanding the heterogeneity of the train station users will lead to better prediction of the passenger flows at the train stations. It will also lead to the better support of wayfinding needs of the individuals and groups of pedestrians. 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.10.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A Networked Desktop Virtual Reality Setup for Decision Science and Navigation Experiments with Multiple Participants
Zhao Hantao, Thrash Tyler, Wehrli Stefan, Hölscher Christoph, Kapadia Mubbasir, Grübel Jascha, Weibel Raphael P., Schinazi Victor R. (2018), A Networked Desktop Virtual Reality Setup for Decision Science and Navigation Experiments with Multiple Participants, in Journal of Visualized Experiments, (138), e58155, p1-e58155, p7.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Northumbria University / Ruth Dalton Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Disney Research Zurich / Robert Sumner Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
SBB (Swiss Rail) / Oliver Specker Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
UC Santa Barbara / Geography: Montello United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Rutgers University / Mubbasir Kapadia United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
ETH D-GESS Dirk Helbing Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
EPFL / Michel Bierlaire Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
ETH D-BAUG Martin Raubal Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
14th Biannual Conference of the German Society for Cognitive Science: Computational Approaches to Cognitive Science (KogWis 2018) Poster Determining the Influence of Dyadic Role Relationship on a Dyad’s Pedestrian Wayfinding Performance. 03.09.2018 Darmstadt, Germany Hölscher Christoph;
Annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society Poster Social Wayfinding in complex environments 27.07.2017 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Barisic Iva; Hölscher Christoph;
Lecture series at the Future Cities Laboratory Individual talk Investigations of collective search behavior using virtual reality and agent-based simulations. 11.07.2017 Singapore, Singapore Thrash Tyler;


Abstract

Transportation planning is directly related to the continuous success of the Swiss economy. Rail networks in large Swiss cities must account for considerable influxes and effluxes of passengers at different times of the day and week. The optimization of the existing infrastructure requires consideration of the needs of different types of patrons. For example, passengers traveling for business tend to travel alone and maximize the efficiency of their trip in terms of time and cost. In contrast, tourists and families often travel in small groups and explore their surroundings at a slower pace. The navigation decisions made by different types of patrons result in uneven spatiotemporal distributions along the system (i.e., pockets of congestion and underutilization) that may compromise their safety. Understanding patron behavior with different spatial constraints (e.g., the physical infrastructure) is essential for the performance and future development of the system.Social wayfinding is multi-agent, spatial, decision making. Modeling this process involves an understanding of both individuals’ strategies and collective dynamics. These two levels of explanation interact and constrain each other, but this reciprocity is typically overlooked in the literature. Specifically, previous research has either focused on individuals’ spatial decision making in the absence of social influences or the emergence of crowd behavior from individuals’ low-level, perceptual and motoric, processes. This approach to investigating crowd behavior has failed to account for the cognitive processes that underlie most human movement. The present project will unify these two previously disparate fields in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of wayfinding behavior in indoor environments.The proposal addresses three different levels of social wayfinding: individual, small-group, and crowd levels. These levels constitute the basis of three work packages (WPs) with real-world and virtual reality experiments. At the individual level (WP1), we will investigate the impact of other people on individuals’ wayfinding decisions. Here, we will consider social factors such as the presence, direction, and density of a moving crowd during a wayfinding task. The small-group level (WP2) focuses on the effect of group membership on wayfinding decisions in collaborative contexts. This work package will use participants’ gaze and walking patterns in order to identify differences in the wayfinding strategies of individuals and small groups. Research on crowd behavior (WP3) will address the relationship between individuals’ wayfinding strategies and emergent dynamics (e.g., lane formation, bottlenecks during evacuations). We will evaluate changes in crowd behavior that result from differences in context (e.g., reinforcement for either cooperative or competitive behavior) and from differences in environmental structure (e.g., the organization of rooms in a building).
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