Plans for extensive renovations aimed at revitalising the ‘De Heuvel’ shopping centre in Eindhoven included several new features. One was a ‘pavement café’ in the middle of the Heuvel mall passage. This passage is used by both shoppers and visitors to the Theatre. In order to keep the mall safe and comfortable for all visitors, Royal HaskoningDHV was asked to examine how such as pavement café would affect a possible evacuation. 

Mass Evacuation modelling De Heuvel Eindhoven by Royal HaskoningDHV

Visitor flows

The MassMotion simulation program was used to determine the influence of the pavement café on visitor flows. MassMotion is a highly developed 3D program that predicts flow rates and can even incorporate individual personal characteristics. 
Five scenarios were simulated for this case. Based on the results, recommendations regarding the position and design of the pavement café were provided. 

The result

The simulation demonstrated that visitors would be able to leave the building within the maximum evacuation time of 15 minutes. However, it also highlighted various obstacles that influenced free movement.  Although crowds and congestion cannot be avoided near the exits, bottlenecks near exits should be avoided at all times. Royal HaskoningDHV therefore suggested an alternative location of the pavement café, to prevent narrowing the pedestrian route. 

The evacuation simulation has also been approved by the responsible fire safety authorities. The authorities have endorsed the fact that moving the pavement café nearer the restaurant units would ease pedestrian flows near the Theatre building