Software & Tools


Welcome to the US Army Corps of Engineers Risk Management Center's web page for our life loss and direct damage estimation software, LifeSim. LifeSim is an agent-based system for estimating life loss with the fundamental intent to simulate population redistribution during an evacuation.  Life loss and economic damages are then determined by the hazard (e.g. flooding).

The purpose of this site is to enhance the support services we provide to our customers. We've provided several resources here to help you download software, learn how to use LifeSim, resolve problems, report bugs, and suggest improvements to our products and service. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide phone or email technical support to non-USACE customers.  However, we do encourage anyone who finds a “bug” in our software, to please report it through the “Bug Report” page of this website. Please review our Support Policy page for details.


LifeSim is designed to simulate the entire warning and evacuation process for estimating potential life loss and direct economic damages resulting from catastrophic floods. The following is a description of the major capabilities of LifeSim.
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Agent Based Modeling
  • Evacuation Simulation
  • Uncertainty
  • Graphics and Reporting

Graphical User Interface

The user interacts with LifeSim through a graphical user interface (GUI). The interface is designed to make it easy to use the software, while still maintaining a high level of efficiency for the user. The interface provides for the following functions:
  • File Management
  • Data Entry and Editing
  • Life Loss and Direct Damage Analyses
  • Tabulation and Graphical Displays of Input and Output Data
  • GIS mapping and animations of results
  • Reporting Facilities
  • Context Sensitive Help

Agent Based Modeling

LifeSim uses an agent-based approach to track individuals throughout the warning and evacuation process. During an evacuation, agents are interacting with the roads, other vehicles, and the incoming hazard. After the warning and evacuation process has been simulated, LifeSim calculates lethality for those people that are exposed and direct damages due to the hazard. By tracking individual people and their movements, LifeSim can help identify where people are most at risk of losing their lives, whether it is on roads or in structures.  We can now pinpoint the locations of greatest potential life loss, which is useful when developing alternative project formulations.

Evacuation Simulation

Three modes of evacuation are included in LifeSim: cars, sports utility vehicles (SUV’s), and pedestrians. For vehicular evacuation, a dual-regime modified Greenshields model (USDOT) in conjunction with spillback enforcement is used for traffic propagation to represent the effects of traffic density and road capacity on vehicle speed. Each road is assigned default values for the number of lanes, free flow speed, traffic jam densities, and minimum stop-and-go speeds based on the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) (TRB 2000).
To define the routes people use to evacuate, a road network is provided where each segment of the network contains information such as road category, directionality, ground offset (for bridges), and interconnectivity. The road network can be imported from an existing GIS polyline shapefile or from OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world.
During each time step at the user defined interval Δt, evacuating groups move as far as the model allows until a destination point is reached, the group gets caught, or becomes stranded. If a flooded road is encountered, a new route is determined unless they are on a one-way street with no turns (e.g. highway off-ramp). The population group then keeps the flooded road in memory so that it will not try to evacuate through the road again.  If no new route can be found, the population group is considered stranded. More information on the evacuation simulation can be found in the LifeSim Technical Reference Manual (RMC 2021).


LifeSim applies both natural variability and knowledge uncertainty through monte carlo analysis. Multiple parameters can be entered with uncertainty including those that influence the warning and evacuation timeline. Each iteration in a simulation represents a scenario that could occur given the data uncertainties in the model. The results of the analysis provide a distribution of estimated consequences from a given hazard.

Graphics and Reporting

To accommodate both the uncertainty and the agent-based computations, robust results reporting are available through plots, tables, animations, and GIS data layers. Output can be viewed as box and whisker plots which summarizes the results over all iterations of the monte carlo simulation. Results by iteration can be viewed by iteration number or by various sampled parameters to help determine which uncertain parameters results are most sensitive to. Detailed information can be generated for individual iterations which can be used to animate the evacuation process and display various plots, tables, and GIS layers for individual iterations.


LifeSim was developed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Risk Management Center. However, software developed at the Risk Management Center is made available to the public whenever appropriate. Use is not restricted and individuals outside of the Corps of Engineers may use the program without charge. RMC will not provide user assistance or support for this software to non-Corps users. However, we will respond to any reported software bugs.  Downloading this software indicates full acceptance of your responsibility in the use of this program. Please see the distribution policy for more details.

Bug Report

If you're experiencing a problem with LifeSim, please submit the following information to, along with a graphical representation of the bug (if available).
  1. Contact Information: Name, Phone Number, and E-mail Address.
  2. What version of the software are you using?
  3. What operating system are you using?
  4. A detailed explanation of the problem.
  5. If the problem is reproducible, please list the exact steps required to re-create the problem (e.g., "1. Create a new file., 2. Insert some text., etc ...").
  6. If the problem is not reproducible (only happened once, or occasionally for no apparent reason) please describe the circumstances in which it occurred and the symptoms observed (Note: it is much harder to fix non-reproducible bugs).
  7. If the problem causes any error messages to appear, please write down the exact text displayed, or capture it from the screen to paste in the email.
  8. If you have an LifeSim data set that demonstrates the problem, zip up the data set. Then attach the zip file to the email. If the data set is too large for an email attachment, then you will need to send it by some form of ftp server,  Google Drive, or some other file sharing capability. 


If you have any suggestions or ideas for enhancing LifeSim, please e-mail your suggestions to

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