This thesis describes the structure, functionality, and use of Building Traffic Simulator (BTS). The evacuation of tall buildings was studied by simulations. The simulator has versatile possibilities to define traffic situations, elevator groups, escalators and staircases. Simulations are visualized through 2- and 3-dimensional displays. The statistics of performance measures for passengers and elevator groups are calculated based on the simulation results. The main use of BTS is in elevator planning. Kone corporation uses BTS also for testing new group control algorithms.
According to the current safety standards, buildings are evacuated using stairs. Stairs are an inefficient means to empty a tall building, since stairways will become congested if the whole population leaves at the same time. Evacuation is also slowed down because of the long distance from the highest floors down to ground level. Furthermore, elderly and handicapped persons cannot use the stairs at all. There has been reconsideration of the evacuation standards of tall buildings and discussion on improving the fire safety of elevators. According to the simulations in this thesis, the elevators speed up the evacuation of tall buildings considerably.