Dynamic Forces Induced by a Single Pedestrian: A Literature Review

Adel Younis, Onur Avci, Mohammed Hussein, Brad Davis, Paul Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


With the use of lighter construction materials, more slender architectural designs, and open floor plans resulting in low damping, vibration serviceability has become a dominant design criterion for structural engineers worldwide. In principle, assessment of floor vibration serviceability requires a proper consideration of three key issues: excitation source, system, and receiver. Walking is usually the dominant human excitation for building floors. This paper provides a comprehensive review of a considerable number of references dealing with experimental measurement and mathematical modeling of dynamic forces induced by a single pedestrian. The historical development of walking force modeling - from single harmonic loads to extremely complex stochastic processes - is discussed. As a conclusion to this effort, it is suggested that less reliance should be made by the industry on the deterministic force models, since they have been shown to be overly conservative. Alternatively, due to the random nature of human walking, probabilistic force models seem to be more realistic, while more research is needed to achieve enough confidence to implement in design practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020802
JournalApplied Mechanics Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The financial support for this research was provided by Qatar National Research Fund, QNRF (a member of Qatar Foundation) via the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), Project No. NPRP8-836-2-353.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 by ASME.


  • Building floors
  • Dynamic forces
  • Pedestrian loading
  • Serviceability
  • floor vibrations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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