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:

  1. 1


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

  2. 2


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

  3. 3


    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.

  4. 4


    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.

People moving around a large city
People Movement Leader, Brett Little describes how People Movement shapes projects at every stage.

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.

Developed in-house by Arup, MassMotion is the world’s most flexible pedestrian and crowd simulation software. Based on research into human movement and refined by data from real world projects, it technical analysis of people’s movement through physical spaces.
Discover MassMotion

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.

Render of Kings Cross Station, London

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.

Crowds approaching Wembley Stadium in London

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.

National Forum of Music

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: