MassMotion: Advanced 3D pedestrian simulations for evacuation plans

After several years of internal use, Arup have released their 3D pedestrian simulation tool to the wider world, and Jigsaw are pleased to be able to offer it following the 8th June launch.

MassMotion allows architects to accurately assess commuter traffic and evacuation plans for a wide range of building models and events. Having been around for several years, it’s had plenty of chance to be thoroughly tested and for any creases to be ironed out.

MassMotion is the only 3D pedestrian simulator available. Benefits include:

•    Ability to import models from CAD programs or build from scratch.
•    Scheduling origin and destination points for 3D agents (i.e. people).
•    Commands like walk, shop or loiter and the ability to set average speed.
•    Agents that automatically adapt to new routes when you change the geometry.
•    Access to extensive analysis tools including recordings of your 3D simulations.

Where do your models fit in?

Models can be developed from CAD drawings or built from scratch and you can import 3D geometry from AutoCAD, MicroStation, Rhino, 3ds Max, SketchUp and Revit. Geometry is then classified as floors, stairs, barriers and portals which agents will respond to accordingly. MassMotion also includes pre-flight model validation to identify any setup problems before a simulation is run.

How does it work?

Your 3D environment is analysed to develop a physical relationship between geometric objects so a full 3D simulation can be run. Routes are mapped between origins and destinations, taking into account any decision variables for individual or grouped agents who then navigate their way through the environment. The agents aren’t simply mindless stickmen either, Arup have spent a long time finetuning a formula that makes their behaviour frighteningly realistic.

The analytic stage is where MassMotion really comes into its own. It makes a big difference to clients when you can show them a recording of the 3D simulation and make objective statements about the design performance of a model and back it up with clear analysis. All of the simulation data is collected and exported for analysis, so you can assess journey times for individuals or groups; flow rates at doors, stairs or chosen areas; and queue lengths or volume-defined accumulations.

How MassMotion helps

If a simulation analysis reveals problems, you can make geometric changes in MassMotion using control tools based on the easy-to-use Autodesk Softimage interface. Agents will then alter their routes accordingly, finding the most efficient path and seeking alternative routes if these become congested.

Applications of MassMotion

MassMotion is hugely scalable: Arup have run simulations with 350,000 agents and believe this could be exceeded to assess the design performance of large buildings, transit stations, stadiums and events. Arup have applied this to venue planning for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, terminal design for Union Station in Los Angeles, and a fire and evacuation plan at Canary Wharf. MassMotion was also used in the design process of the Jetblue Shopping concourse at JFK airport where passenger movement was tied to flight schedules, food and retail concessions. In short, there are myriad applications for MassMotion.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering MassMotion or have any further questions, give our CAD consultants a call on 03332 409 306 or email

Call us: 03332 409 306

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