On June 8, the software house of engineering and design firm Arup, London, is releasing MassMotion, an industrial-strength pedestrian-behavior analysis tool developed over five years for internal use.

“Previously, it has only been available to us,” says Erin Morrow, the product manager at Oasys Ltd., a firm Arup set up in 1976 to develop, support and market tools built in-house. Mass-Motion has evolved over four version for use in complex, multilevel 3D BIM environments.

The tool is designed to address the multi-core, 64-bit processors of modern computers. A multi-threaded architecture controls the actions of hundreds of thousands of virtual “agents”—that is, walkers—dynamically by individual algorithms running simultaneously.

The agents seek destinations while avoiding each other and also avoiding the “cost” of obstacles and congestion. If the environment is altered by a design change, agent behavior instantly changes as well. Values, such as walking speed and congestion tolerance, are adjustable to model subsets of the population. The cost is £20,000 per seat.