A Crowd-Structure Interaction Model to Analyze the Lateral Lock-in Phenomenon on Footbridges

A Crowd-Structure Interaction Model to Analyze the Lateral Lock-in Phenomenon on Footbridges

Javier Fernando Jiménez-Alonso | Andres Sáez | Elsa Caetano | Alvaro Cunha 

Department of Building Structures, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

Department of Continuum Mechanics and Structural Analysis, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

Department of Civil Engineering, FEUP, Porto, Portugal


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In this paper a simplified biomechanical crowd-structure interaction model is proposed and validated in order to analyse the lateral lock-in phenomenon on real footbridges. The proposed crowd-structure interaction model is organized in three levels: (i) pedestrian-structure interaction; (ii) interaction among pedestrians in the crowd; and (iii) interaction between the crowd and the structure. To this end, first, the human-structure interaction of each pedestrian is modelled via a simplified two degrees of freedom system. Second, the interaction among pedestrians inside the crowd is simulated using a multi-agent model. The considered model simulates the movement of each pedestrian from the dynamic equilibrium of the different social forces that act on him/her. Finally, the crowd-structure interaction is achieved modifying the behaviour of the pedestrians depending on the comfort level experienced. For this purpose, the recommendations established by the French standards have been considered. The integration of the three levels in an overall model is achieved by the implementation of a predictive– corrective method. The performance of the proposed model is validated correlating the numerical and experimental dynamic response of the Pedro e Inês footbridge during the development of a lateral lock-in pedestrian test. As the first lateral natural frequency of the footbridge is inside the range that characterizes the walking pedestrian step frequency in lateral direction, numerical and experimental studies were performed to analyse its behaviour under pedestrian action. The agreement between the numerical and experimental results is adequate. However, further studies are recommended in order to generalize the proposed approach and facilitate its use during the design project of future footbridges.


crowd dynamics, footbridge, human-structure interaction, lateral lock-in, simplified biomechanical model


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