Pedestrian modelling and simulation

Nick Fellows

Regional Director, Asia Pacific

T: +65 6958 2212

The dynamics of crowds

Today, transport planners, architects and engineers can utilise advanced software combined with mathematical models to predict the way pedestrians move through train stations, buildings, or sport stadiums – before they are built – in order to create safe and efficient environments with minimum redesign. The solution is called pedestrian modelling. 

Pedestrian modelling makes it possible to study the impacts of proposed changes to indoor and outdoor spaces. In situations with a high flow of pedestrians, such as a shopping mall or an airport, it pays off to treat the assessment of capacity for pedestrians in the same manner you plan traffic lanes for cars – in order to make the most of the available space. 

Ramboll has been at the forefront of this specialisation and has developed pedestrian simulations for many types of infrastructure and commercial developments where, through collaboration with the architects, we are able to identify the optimal design of the spaces.   

Authorities are also increasingly requiring pedestrian micro-simulation evaluation of critical transport infrastructure and high-impact facilities to access evacuation scenarios. Here, Ramboll our pedestrian model tool specialists can also help develop models to improve design and obtain necessary authority approvals.

Cross Island Line Pedestrian Simulation

An example of pedestrian modelling put to good use can be seen in Singapore; the city is constructing a new mass rapid transit (MRT) line, called the Cross Island Line (CRL), which will run from Changi Airport to the area Tuas. The line will improve connectivity from the centre of Singapore to east and west industrial regions, the airport, and the Jurong Lake District, which will be Singapore’s new central business district. 

Ramboll has helped Singapore optimise the design of the MRT line by creating pedestrian microsimulation models for the first six stations of the Cross Island Line. Three of the stations include interchanges with existing and future MRT lines. The pedestrian models were used throughout the design process to both validate designs and identify areas to improve the design, to determine the most optimal flow and space utilization for the stations The microsimulation models use projected ridership from the year 2055, when demand is at its maximum, as a baseline, to ensure that the designs are future-proof.