Optimization Group

Organized Pedestrian Movement in Public Spaces

The franco-german research project OPMoPS is funded by the BMBF and the ANR from September 01, 2017 - August 31, 2020.


Parades of highly controversial groups or of political demonstration marches are considered as a major threat to urban security, since the diametrically opposed opinions of participants and opponents may result in violence or even terroristic attacks. Due to the movement of the urban parades and demonstration marches (in the following abbreviated by UPM) through large parts of cities and the resulting space and time dynamics, it is particularly difficult for forces of civil security(abbreviated in the following by FCS) to guarantee safety at these types of urban events without endangering one of the most important indicators of a free society.

In this project, partners representing the FCS (police and industry) will cooperate with researchers from academic institutions to develop a decision support system (DSS) which can help both in the preparation phase and crisis management situations of UPMs. The development of this tool will be driven by the needs of the FCS, and implemented using new methods of mathematics and computer science, but also by research results in social behaviour of participants and opponents. The latter and the assessment of legal and ethical issues related to proposed technical solutions are an important part of the proposed research.

The results of the OPMoPS research consortium will contribute to the preparation phase as well as to the crisis management of UPM. The pros and cons of various routes of the UPM through the city will be given which are based on a multi-criteria analysis of the situation. The different criteria draw on the experience of participating FSC, but will also be dependent on the different sociological studies on individual, organisational and spatial factors, which are investigated as part of OPMoPS. Travel to and from the UPM may - depending on the size of the UPM - require the use of special public transportation. Details of such transportation systems will be developed. The use of stationary and moving cameras to control the UPM will be investigated by considering optimization methods to deal with technical feasibility and optimality, but also by taking the resulting legal and ethical consequences into account. The location and rostering of security personnel during the UPM will be modelled and tested with participating police units. In combination with simulation methods and their visualizations, numerous realistic hazard scenarios during a given UPM will be generated. In the simulation, special emphasis will be given to modelling the social behaviour of participants and opponents. The FSC can use these scenarios to prepare for a specific UPM a priori or react in a crisis management situation by using a new neighbourhood analysis. The research on the societal environment and the legality of the DSS are continuously investigated throughout the project.

The main outcome of OPMoPS is a decision support system based on mathematical, computer science and sociological research which help the FCS to prepare and control UPMs, to detect risk situations, and to react to possible threats to individuals and civil security fast and efficiently. The means of this tool will be checked with respect to its legal and ethical consequences. At the end of the project, a demonstrator will be available which will have been tested by the users of FCS, and which will show the potential of the methods developed in OPMoPS. The participation of industrial partners will make sure that the demonstrator will be usable in an industrial environment after a reasonable additional investment in time and money after the end of the funding period.


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