People movement; People movement;

People Movement

We help clients to understand how people will move through a space or engage with a service – safely, efficiently and inclusively

We help clients to understand how people will move through a space or engage with a service – safely, efficiently and inclusively

Understanding how people move, travel or flow through our cities is vital to shaping the built environment. Well-designed cities and towns are a joy to spend time in and navigate, and you can immediately sense when a human centred design approach has been applied when shaping a location. 

At Arup we have long championed effective people movement strategies. We work with clients across a wide variety of contexts and uses, from cultural institutions to transport hubs – bringing together the latest research insights, design advice, pedestrian modelling and data-driven analysis to reach the best solution for all users of the space or environment.

How we work with you:


The crucial first stage is to identify the human-centred dimensions of your project and define the questions people movement must answer.


In the discovery phase we conduct research into human behaviours, developing personas that represent the psychological and behavioural drivers that will shape your scheme.


With these insights established, we next move to help define a design concept that meets these human centric needs. We work with you to develop a user experience and concept design for the building or environment. 


Finally we support the production of detailed and verified designs. This is an iterative and collaborative process with the design team and stakeholders that refines the service or experience your asset or building will offer.

Insights that unlock projects

As a service, people movement produces insights, clarity and value to projects at every stage of the design process. Establishing potential visitor or user numbers is a key part of the commercial logic of any project. We help clients to build their business case with demand forecasting and spatial allocation of the new building or facility. The service brings additional rigour to assumptions about the scale, scope, size and location of a proposed scheme. 

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Shaping the experience

People movement analysis plays a different role in different contexts, but always drives safe, efficient and commercially valuable design choices. Here are just three:

Transport Interchanges and Stations

Transport Interchanges and Stations

We analyse station use in terms of train boarding and alighting, concourse passenger dwell times and so on to ensure stations are future proofed against passenger demand forecasts. Our insights can also maximise commercial returns for transport operators, getting the most revenue from oversite developments and retail opportunities. 



People Movement insights ensure that stadiums can ingress and egress safely and efficiently and that venues have enough vertical transportation for spectators to access all levels. We also ensure that spectators can access food and beverage and retail concessions to maximise their commercial return. We also help stadiums to operate as multi-purpose venues, to host concerts, conferences and exhibitions effectively and safely within the same building structure.

Cultural and event venues

Cultural and event venues

Cultural venues increasingly have to embrace flexibility to ensure visitor numbers and commercial viability. Our People Movement teams help them to address the challenges of this complexity, to understand and plan for the different age groups and movement patterns that come with each event type.

Driving inclusive design

Truly socially valuable designs take account of the population’s diverse needs. That means understanding the impacts of age, gender, ability and culture on the flow of people through a space or building. People movement helps clients to explore these issues and model their implications for a proposed design, ultimately driving more inclusive facilities, assets or services. 

Explore our work

Discover how we have used people movement insights to improve urban experiences:

Brentford Stadium

Brentford stadium

Getting fans into and out of sports stadia comfortably is always a challenge, and the Brentford Community Stadium is no different.  The stadium is a cutting-edge 17,250-seat dual-code home for Brentford Football Club and the London Irish Rugby Club. We provided pedestrian planning advice and modelling to inform the stadium design in line with Green Guide requirements for a range of match day scenarios, to provide the best possible experience for fans attending matches.

Brent Cross

Brent Cross

In order to quantify the benefits of proposed changes to the street network and active travel within the site, our tool, uMove was employed as part of our ongoing efforts on the Brent Cross Town masterplan in North London. uMove was used to examine potential shifts in relative route popularity, active travel catchment isochrones and network quality. uMove also took the analysis one step further and assesses the pedestrian quality along different route options.

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Royal Observatory Greenwich

The Royal Observatory’s historic hilltop location means the site is limited in space, and therefore efficient visitor flow is essential to make the best use of the available space. Arup assessed the current operations as well as the proposed plans for the site to give advice and recommendations to modify the design and operations to improve visitor flow and experience.  The analysis included building a picture of a ‘day in the life’ of the Observatory, including visitor patterns and types as well as constructing a MassMotion dynamic simulation model to test the proposals and future projected visitor numbers and profiles. 

Ottawa Central Library

Ottawa Central Library

To help plan for the future operations of the new Ottawa Central Library we combined pedestrian simulation modelling, operations advisory, and building services to review the usability of the public spaces throughout the facility and identify potential enhancements. Outcomes of the study included design refinements to facilitate flexible operations in the event of future disruptions, while keeping the facility open as an inclusive community resource.

Grand Central–42nd Street station

Grand Central–42nd Street station

Visualising completed projects is always a challenge, especially due to the often complex interactions between people and space. To address this, we used MassMotion to simulate crowds in the newly refurbished Grand Central–42nd Street subway station’s mezzanine level, showing the movement and flow of passengers in relation to the planned improvements. MassMotion was then combined with other visualisation software, typically used for video games, to create a virtual reality experience of accurate crowd movements to deliver an immersive depiction of the space, bringing the simulated station to life as it would be experienced by everyday users.

Network analysis with Staterra

Staterra is a data-driven toolkit developed by Arup to better understand pedestrian mobility and travel demand in cities and public realms around the world. When examining mobility along with land-use performance (like urban vitality, productivity, well-being and equality), we believe in a human-centric approach that can truly recognise the needs and experience of everyday lives.

Staterra uses rich spatial data to answer the key questions that influence our planning decisions: Why do people travel? When do they travel? Where do they go to? How do they travel? The toolkit generates quick and flexible analysis without the need for detailed data collection and transport surveys.

Learn more about Staterra

Pedestrian modelling

A key part of people movement analysis is dynamic pedestrian simulation.  Arup’s people movement team use a variety of tools and software platforms including MassMotion; Arup’s own pedestrian movement and behaviour modelling software. Learn more about MassMotion

Union Station Toronto MassMotion model Union Station Toronto MassMotion model

MassMotion; Arup’s own pedestrian movement and behaviour modelling software.

Design an experience

Find out how Arup’s Experience Design teams can help you to offer a compelling user experience in every interaction with a building or service, or how our people movement service supports active travel programmes.


Meet our people