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Crowd data warning for Olympic designers

ICE news

OFFICIAL GUIDELINES on crowd movements are likely to underestimate the speed at which people will move around the new Olympic park, according to a paper published by the ICE recently.

It says that the inexperience of many visitors plus a high proportions of women and the elderly could result in much slower-moving crowds than designers are used to.

The paper is published in the ICE's Structures and Buildings Journal.

Analysis of high density crowd movements at Ascot racecourse during Royal Week by a team of research engineers led by David Brocklehurst found flows were much lower than indicated in the Scottish Office 'Green Guide', the offi cial design guide for stadiums in the UK, and the new European standard BS EN 13200-1:2003.

Using find and handheld video cameras at major entrances and exits, Brocklehurst recorded flow rates between 26 and 52 people per minute per metre compared to the Green Guide fi gure of 109 and the European standard figure of 83.

The signifi antly lower flow rates at Ascot were attributed to a general lack of selfish and aggressive behaviour, lack of experience in high density flows, a high proportion of women (approaching 50%), a high proportion of older people (over 60% being over 35 years old) and a tendency to form social gatherings even in high density flows.

The authors have warned stadium designers that official guideline fi res for crowd flow rates are likely to be 'inappropriately high' for evacuation, egress and circulation and advise them to take careful account of the age, gender, determination and experience of anticipated crowds at different events before completing their designs.

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