Landscape Connections  

This mailer has been provided as an avenue to disperse information pertinent to architects and the landscape architecture profession, in hopes of fostering greater understanding and collaboration. Topics address issues that affect the built environment within which we live.



"Incorporating disability considerations into emergency evacuation planning, preparation, and other activities is critical. Currently, there is insufficient evidence demonstrating the most effective ways to ensure the safety of individuals with disabilities during emergency situations."
The Department of Education-2006

Evacuation modeling is not a new concept for many of us, however, there have been limitations to the accuracy of these model's predictions. In an attempt to address these limitations, a landscape architect at the Center for Persons with Disabilities, in Logan, Utah, has created an agent-based simulation model that incorporates complex populations of agents rather than a homogenous agent population. An often overlooked group of our society is the 12.6% of the working age population who have a disability of some form (RRTCDDS 2005). This model (the BUMMPEE model) specifically addresses this population by incorporating agents with limited motor function, visual impairments, hearing impairments, stamina impairments, cognitive disabilities and mental disabilities.

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The BUMPEE model mimics the behaviors of agent populations by following set parameters for individual speed, individual size, navigation abilities, individual perceptions, individual mental capacity, and individual requirements for assistance. These characteristics govern the agent's movements through the environment and the decisions made at each obstacle. As individuals with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the built environment, the model includes environmental characteristics specific to the building design including exit, route and obstacle characteristics, and ADA accommodations.

Though the BUMMPEE model is not a perfect representation of actual evacuation events, the results of modeled simulations compared with results of actual physical evacuations are very similar indicating that it reasonably represents the movements of individuals with disabilities during an evacuation event. Potential design applications of this model may include:

  • Evaluation and discovery of evacuation bottlenecks
  • Evaluation of ADA feature effectiveness in assisting individuals with disabilities
  • Effectiveness of wayfinding features
  • Adequacy and number of exits
  • Evaluation of unperceived design barriers

During my involvement with this project, and several others, I gained an awareness of the impact our built environments have on individuals with disabilities within our communities. It also became apparent that accommodating these individuals was far simpler than I had thought. For more information about this model and its universal design applications, see the following two articles.

Agent-Based Emergency Evacuation Simulation with Individuals with Disabilities in the Population - 2008.

The impact of Building Design on Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities - 2008.

bummpee interface    
Author: Chad Kennedy, Landscape Architect

This informational article provided by O'Dell Engineering - 1165 Scenic Drive, Suite A, Modesto CA 95350