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Walking paths parametric design tool (2012)

Walking Paths is an extension for Autodesk Revit, an industry standard tool for architectural design. The extension allows tracing the paths that patients, nurses, and other users should follow inside a facility. The application provides objective criteria to evaluate the work efficiency of a particular facility design.

Walking_Paths [RFA]

An Autodesk Revit parametric design family to visualize activity while designing space.

Optimizing_Walking_Paths_Inside_Buildings [PDF]

Instructions on how to use the custom family to analyze the paths of inhabitants inside a building. The family can calculate the distances travelled and time spent, giving objective criteria to evaluate the performance of a floor plan in terms of work procedures. Different design options can be compared. Walkthroughs can be laid upon paths to visualize in first person the spatial experience of a given worker or user.

Walking_Paths_Experiment [PDF]

This document present the results of an experiment conducted with 29 students from the Methods and Strategies for Facility Design course at the Civil Engineering Bachelor from the University of Twente.

Video demo

Demo made at the 3TU technology conference using the Smartboard technology.

Why using this tool

Architects like to make sketches of user paths. However, if they take it too seriously, they end up with a “spaghetti” diagram, what is actually what lean design professionals recommend. Information gets lost or outdated easily in such diagrams. The parametric tool store this information in the design model.


Using built-in design option function in Autodesk Revit it is possible to store different paths in the same file. This information can be used to compare designs and sparkle new strategies for reducing nonsense walking.


Visualization samples based on the family

Experiments in applying the tool in simulated settings. The goal is to show what is possible with current available software.

Inquirying about the visitor's path in an auditorium
Inquirying about the visitor’s path in an auditorium
3D walthrough following the walking paths – Autodesk Revit
4D simulation and clash detection (i.e. contagious patient that should not meet in a particular time and space) – Navisworks integration
Path visibility isovits analysis - DepthmapX integration
Isovit generated from paths – DepthmapX integration
Operation schedule assembled with path information – Excel integration


Van Amstel, F.M.C; Hartmann, T; Voort, M. van der and Dewulf, G.P.M.R. The social production of design space, Design Studies, 46, 2016, p. 199–225. DOI:

Van Amstel, F. M.C., Zerjav, V., Hartmann, T., van der Voort, M. C., & Dewulf, G. P. (2015). Expanding the representation of user activities. Building Research & Information, 43(2), 1-16. DOI:

Categories: Methods & Tools, My work.

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