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  • Pedestrian Comfort Map

    Wind comfort should be assessed at the mean pedestrian level since the comfort criteria is correlated to the wind characteristics at the pedestrian height.

    With the Pedestrian comfort map setting, the user can define the desired pedestrian height at which the wind comfort will be evaluated according to the different standard wind comfort criteria.

    The setting can be found in the simulation tree as shown below:

    Pedestrian comfort map settings in Simscale
    Figure 1: Ground relative Pedestrian comfort map settings in Simscale

    Click on the ‘+’ button, as shown in Figure 1, to create a Pedestrian level. The user needs to specify two primary inputs: the average pedestrian height/level above the ground and the ground type.

    Important information

    Try not to select too many faces for the Pedestrian comfort map assignment. Although there is not a coded limitation regarding the number of faces, we advice not to select more than 100 faces due to the possible storage capacity issues.

    Height Above Ground

    pedestrian height comparison
    Figure 2: Average pedestrian height depends on the scenario in hand. People sitting outside a cafe will account for a reduced height.

    Height above ground input should be defined by taking average pedestrian height into account. This value varies based on the region of simulation. Evaluating wind comfort outside a cafe where people are sitting or in a kids’ park will have a reduced height value. On the other hand, busy city streets will take up the actual height of an average pedestrian.

    The height value can be specified in either meters or inches.


    Ground reference can be either “absolute” (uses bottom of region of interest as reference) or “relative” (uses each assignment as reference) and elevates those by the height defined.


    It uses the bottom of the wind tunnel as the reference height. Any value specified will be with respect to this height. The dimensions for the wind tunnel are defined under Advanced settings while setting up the Region of interest.

    absolute height vs relative height
    Figure 3: Absolute Height vs. Relative Height used for defining the Pedestrian comfort map


    Pedestrians can be located at different elevations. In such cases users can select multiple surfaces for the comfort criterion evaluation. The height in this case will be with respect to those selected surfaces.

    A schematic of both absolute and relative height references is shown in Figure 2.

    Figure 3 is an actual snap from the SimScale Workbench showing the wind comfort criteria at different levels: absolute and relative.

    wind comfort criterion evaluated at absolute and relative heights
    Figure 4: Wind comfort criterion evaluated at both absolute and relative heights. For most of the region (disk) it is absolute 1.75 meters while for the buildings marked within the orange polygon the height is 1.75 meters relative to the top surfaces of the buildings.

    Creating Multiple Maps

    It is possible to create more than one Pedestrian comfort map within the same setup. This can be useful if one needs to categorize the comfort results based on different absolute and relative heights or faces selected according to different regions of the CAD model.

    Wind Comfort Criterion

    The wind comfort is evaluated only over the region of interest defined by a cylinder around the main building/s. Everything outside of it is cut off for the result export.

    result of pwc simulation with simscale
    Figure 5: Example of a Wind Comfort Criterion evaluated over the region of interest seen as a disk here, in SimScale.

    User can view the results with respect to the following wind comfort criteria: 

    • Lawson
    • Davenport
    • Lawson LDDC
    • Lawson 2001
    • Lawson LDDC Comfort
    • NEN8100 Comfort
    • NEN8100 Danger

    Each criterion consists of a threshold value for the wind speed and a maximum allowable exceedance probability of the threshold value. Colors represent the scale of a comfort level with respect to the selected comfort criterion.

    Each comfort criterion may lead to different conclusions about the comfort level. Users can quickly switch to a different criterion in order to evaluate as desired.

    pwc simulation with lawson and davenport criterion done with simscale
    Figure 6: PWC Simulation with Lawson and Davenport criterion for the same simulation setup and same geometry

    Did you know?

    Interpreting the different wind comfort criteria is straightforward. Taking the Davenport criterion, for example:

    davenport wind comfort criterion
    Figure 7: Davenport wind criterion, showing the different comfort categories

    Sitting Long: the velocities exceed 3.6 m/s less than 1.5% of the time
    Sitting Short: the wind speed exceeds 5.3 m/s less than 1.5% of the time
    Walking Leisurely: velocities higher than 7.6 m/s are observed less than 1.5% of the time
    Walking Fast: velocities higher than 9.8 m/s are experienced less than 1.5% of the time
    Uncomfortable: a wind speed of 9.8 m/s is surpassed 1.5% or more of the time
    – Finally, a region is considered to be Dangerous when the wind speed reaches 15.1 m/s at a frequency of at least 0.01%

    The interpretation of the other comfort criteria categories follows the same logic as above. However, they typically have different thresholds and different category nomenclatures, as shown below:

    wind comfort criteria thresholds and categories nomenclature
    Figure 8: Categories and velocity/frequency thresholds for different wind comfort criteria supported by SimScale.

    Read more about wind comfort criteria in our dedicated blogs:

    Custom Wind Comfort Criteria

    Users can define custom comfort criteria, allowing for a more personalized and accurate analysis of outdoor pedestrian environments. With this feature, SimScale users can tailor their pedestrian wind comfort analysis to specific project requirements, ensuring that pedestrians are comfortable and safe in any outdoor environment.

    Last updated: June 20th, 2023

    What's Next

    part of: Pedestrian Wind Comfort Analysis