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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 11-19

From Ant Trails to Pedestrian Dynamics

Andreas Schadschneider,1 Ansgar Kirchner,1 and Katsuhiro Nishinari2

1Institute for Theoretical Physics, Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany
2Department of Applied Mathematics and Informatics, Ryukoku University, Shiga, Japan

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a model for the simulation of pedestrian dynamics inspired by the behaviour of ants in ant trails. Ants communicate by producing a pheromone that can be smelled by other ants. In this model, pedestrians produce a virtual pheromone that influences the motion of others. In this way all interactions are strictly local, and so even large crowds can be simulated very efficiently. Nevertheless, the model is able to reproduce the collective effects observed empirically, eg the formation of lanes in counterflow. As an application, we reproduce a surprising result found in experiments of evacuation from an aircraft.