Passengers have different needs and behave differently with any given station environment. They move about at different speeds and take different routes depending upon their passenger classification, i.e., commuter, leisure traveller, encumbered passenger (person with luggage, young children, bicycle etc), passenger in wheelchair or with reduced mobility.

Furthermore, train stations often serve a greater purpose than moving passengers from one location to another, they now generate prosperity in our economy by comprising retail and leisure outlets. With some stations offering short-cuts between two external locations thus generating additional footfall demands which need to be accommodated in station design or re-generation. All of which needs to be considered when planning.

We took a look at a recent example of where we used Pedestrian Flow Modelling as part of our multi-disciplinary design services at Perry Barr Station, to ensure all of the above was take into consideration.

Case Study: Perry Barr Station

A major redevelopment is taking place at the existing Perry Barr Station in Birmingham as part of the regeneration of the surrounding area for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Waldeck are the lead design organisation providing full multi-disciplinary services on the scheme for Galliford Try who are the main contractor.

As part of our involvement on the project, our team have provided Pedestrian Flow Modelling.

Pedestrian Flow Modelling was used to establish the suitability of the design option for predicted future demand forecast of 1.1 million passengers in 2027, which would see a 58% increase from the base flows.

Our Solution

Our team utilised Oasys Software’s MassMotion to create a 3D model from the model created by our architectural team.

Simulations were set up and created to align with Perry Barr’s peak train times, with Platform 1 and 2 trains arrival being 3 minutes apart with the passenger boarding and alighting demands taken from peak 3-hour survey data and factored by the 58%.

The model was stress-tested for a number of additional scenarios, including out of hours operations, event traffic, a degraded state such as when an entrance is out of use due to a malfunction or closed for safety reasons, provision of ticket barriers on peak trains and station design stress test determining maximum capacity of pedestrians during peak hours before elements are over stressed.

Pedestrian Flow Modelling has confirmed the suitability of the team’s design at each GRIP stage and aided the streamlining of the scheme to suit budget and visual aspirations. In addition, the passive provision of gate lines was simulated aiding future development of the station should these be installed at a later date.

Example footage of passengers arriving, boarding/disembarking then leaving the station:

Associate Director, Veronica Ruby-Lewis answers some common questions:

Can Pedestrian Flow Modelling be used going forward for on-going flow management within the Station?

The station is in close proximity to Aston Villa Football Ground and anecdotal evidence identified a noticeable impact on the passenger flow at such times despite only a number of trains being affected by this. An initial event train scenario was run as part of the project determining stress points, this could be built upon with further scenarios and flow options run to aid station management for such frequent events and for special events taking place, such as the Commonwealth Games 2022.

In addition, should the station undergo future design changes, then it could be used to inform design, but also temporary station environment as a result of construction work.

Would you recommend Pedestrian Flow Modelling to clients?

Yes definitely. The algorithm behind the agent profile mimics that of a person in terms of behaviour and decision making to suit surroundings and scenarios. This therefore can translate and be utilised to benefit many different types of projects where mass movement of pedestrians is key to the design outcome.

The MassMotion software would be ideal for transport projects such as airports, bus depots, train stations, port terminals and so on, as well as event management for sporting and music events and large entertainment venues, such as stadiums, arenas, concert halls etc.

To find out more about how Pedestrian Flow Modelling can enhance your next project, please get in touch with Veronica and the team by calling 08450 990 285 or send Veronica an email here.