1. Behavior of stranded people after large-scale earthquakes

  • Verification of a wave of persons unable to return home to stations and of the desirability of transmitting routine information at stations, from studies on the behavior of users after large-scale earthquakes in large cities based on a survey of earthquake after-effects

To determine disaster prevention measures, it is extremely important to understand the behavior of people in terms of railway management when a large-scale earthquake strikes. The RTRI therefore conducted a questionnaire survey of about 3,500 railway users at three terminals in a large city.

The results of a question on their behavior during the 30-minute period after an extremely large earthquake (magnitude 7) when they are within a 10-minute walk of a railway station are revealed as follows. Most people would return to their office or school if the earthquake occurred in the morning. More and more people would gather at railway stations, however, if the earthquake occurred later, say at 15:00, 19:00 or thereafter. Conversely, in the case where an earthquake hits in the morning or at 15:00, for example, most people would go to places other than railway stations in the 30 minutes after the earthquake, with a comparatively small number of people going to railway stations. About 40% of these people replied that they would go to a railway station in the three hours after the earthquake, and many would stay there for some time even if the station were crowded with stranded people (Fig .2). The survey therefore indicates that many people would come to railway stations and stay there for some time.

In order to prevent people from gathering at stations after large-scale earthquake, it is recommended that stations routinely provide people with information highlighting that they will not be allowed in stations at that time. More than 80% of respondents replied that such information would be useful in determining their action or judgment in the event of a large-scale earthquake (Fig. 3). The survey also clarified that, as a means of routine information transmission, posters and displays are more desirable than public address systems on platforms or trains for their acceptability, preference and desirability evaluated by people as a means of transmitting visual information.

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