Will Your Building Handle Physical Distancing When It Opens? Check with Free Software > ENGINEERING.com

In what appears to the most magnanimous of gestures, Bentley Systems is making LEGION Simulator, perhaps the most sophisticated of all the crowd simulation applications, and OpenBuildings Station Designer, available at no monthly cost until September 30. In a world that is trying to reopen while still in the throes of a pandemic, Bentley is hoping that at least buildings and airports will be safer for the availability of its software.

Usable for hospital shift changes, office workers in high rises massing at or in elevators, and riot control, crowd simulation seems to address both of the big crises facing the nation, COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. However, coupling LEGION with OpenBuildings Station Designer shows Bentley’s focus on people movement in subways and train stations, where rush hours will reemerge as shelter-in-place orders are lifted and as people, masked or otherwise, will invariably end up closer to each other than they should be.

Planners use video to observe massing during rush hours and have, no doubt, learned about crowd behavior during normal conditions. However, planning for physical distancing rules that may have added extra gates, widened some passages while closing others, created new one-way lanes, etc., will boggle the mind and test the imagination. Should that be insufficient to plan for reopening, we have crowd simulation software like LEGION.

With people movement simulation, a building manager, hospital…

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