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In Safety science

With the issues of crowd control and physical distancing becoming central to disease prevention measures, one would expect that crowd research should become a focus of attention during the Covid-19 pandemic era. However, I will show, based on a variety of metrics, that not only has this not been the case, but also, the first two years of the pandemic have posed an undisputable setback to the development and growth of crowd science. Without intervention, this could potentially aggravate further and cause a long-lasting recession in this field. This article, in addition to documenting and highlighting this issue, aims to outline potential avenues through which crowd research can reshape itself in the era of Covid-19 pandemic, maintain its pre-pandemic momentum and even further expand the diversity of its topics. Despite significant changes that the pandemic has brought to human life, issues related to congregation and mobility of pedestrians, building fires, crowd incidents, rallying crowds and the like have not disappeared from societies and remain relevant. Moreover, the diversity of pandemic-related problems itself creates a rich ground for making novel scientific discoveries. This could provide grounds for establishing fresh dimensions in crowd dynamics research. These potential new dimensions extend to all areas of this field including numerical and experimental investigations, crowd psychology and applications of computer vision and artificial intelligence methods in crowd management. The Covid-19 pandemic may have posed challenges to crowd researchers but has also created ample potential opportunities. This is further evidenced by reviewing efforts taken thus far in pandemic-related crowd research.

Haghani Milad

2022-Sep

Covid-19, Crowd dynamics, Evacuation dynamics, Pandemic, Pedestrian dynamics