News story

Understanding crowd behaviours

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A series of reports commissioned by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat entitled 'Understanding crowd behaviour' have been published.

In 2008 the Civil Contingencies Secretariat commissioned Leeds University to produce a series of research reports collectively titled ‘Understanding crowd behaviour’. These reports are now being published as part of the body of UK Civil Protection Guidance.

While definitive, precise and infallible rules for event preparation and crowd management simply do not exist, these reports have distilled and interpreted what represents good practice and they will provide planners with clear direction, and supporting information, about the assumptions that can very reasonably be made about crowd behaviour.

Understanding crowd behaviour consists of 5 reports, summarised below:

  • Understanding crowd behaviours: a guide for readers - this brief report summarises the substantive research reports and is the recommended starting point for readers.

  • Understanding crowd behaviours: guidance and lessons identified - this is a highly practical report, which provides a comprehensive set of good practice guidelines for crowd events and management, and for emergency situations and evacuations. It also provides a comprehensive set of good practice guidelines for simulating crowd behaviours. This report should be of interest to all those involved in the field of crowd events.

  • Understanding crowd behaviours: supporting evidence - this report sets out the literature behind the good practice guidelines for crowd management, emergency situations and evacuations and crowd simulation techniques. It is expected that readers will want to explore this report as a supplement to “Understanding Crowd Behaviours: Guidance and Lessons Identified”, in order to better appreciate the derivation of the guidelines.

  • Understanding crowd behaviours: simulation tools - this report contains a detailed review of three of the leading agent-based simulation tools currently available. It is particularly relevant to those already involved with simulating crowd behaviours, or those who are looking to use simulation tools to assist with event preparation.

  • Understanding crowd behaviours: supporting documentation - this report sets out and references in detail the sources of the literature underpinning the guidance and lessons identified. As such it is a resource for readers wishing to further explore aspects of the literature in which they are most interested and researchers in the crowd behaviour field.