MassMotion crowd analysis fits the bill for New York’s Fulton Center

Only 3D is fit for purpose for pedestrian analysis in modern transport hubs.

New York’s newest transport hub, the US$1.4bn Fulton Center is now serving up to 300,000 passengers a day in Lower Manhattan.


Above ground it is a new iconic glass and steel structure; while beneath the surface are platforms for nine subway lines that were originally built by separate and competing commercial entities, some more than a century ago, and with no thought for future needs to interconnect them. Creating smooth pedestrian flows was a core challenge for designers and it was a key driver for the early development of MassMotion. Now released as V8.0 with stunning modelling and visualisation capabilities, MassMotion is recognised as a world leader in 3D pedestrian simulation and crowd analysis,


At The Fulton Center, the design team needed to understand how people would move through the station and resolve any potential conflicts before finalising. “With any transit project, there is a lot of competition for a limited amount of space,” says Eric Rivers, a pedestrian planner with Arup. Subway platforms, for instance, are used as corridors as well as for boarding, alighting, and waiting for trains. “The only way to understand it was with a 3D micro-simulation model,” he says.


That challenge could not be met by the tools available back in 2003, and so Oasys developers were tasked with developing a solution that would analyse and solve the complicated multi-year staged construction sequences: this was the original Oasys MassMotion. MassMotion is of course now widely and commercially available, and is still the only truly 3D modelling tool available, and supports modelling of both everyday movements as well as both emergency and rare event scenarios.

MassMotion is infinitely scalable, and allows engineers to enter data accounting for local customs and cultures, making it suitable for projects of all sizes anywhere in the world. Where the focus remains on ingress/egress planning, rather than complex building use analysis, the sister release, Flow, makes sophisticated modelling and visualisation affordable for any architectural and project office.