Making Events Flow, Planning People Flow During The Olympic And Paralympic Games, 2012

Movement Strategies' groundbreaking work in planning people flow during the Olympic and Paralympic games this summer has helped raise the bar of spectator experience.
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London, United Kingdom ( October 31, 2012 - London, UK, October 31, 2012 -- Simon Ancliffe is the founder and chief executive of Movement Strategies, an international consultancy with offices in London and Oslo that advises on people flow and crowd dynamics for transport hubs, sports stadia and major events around the world.

"When we say 'crowd dynamics' people immediately think of the safety need, but one of the points I'd like to make is that if you can ensure safety, then after that you can focus on optimising the visitor experience and the efficiency for the operator," says Ancliffe.

A scientist by background, Ancliffe goes on to explain that by utilising new technologies, years of experience and a rigorous approach to data, the company has been able to push the application of a field that has traditionally relied on computer-generated crowd simulations to answer narrow questions of design.

"They're so powerful that sometimes they're taken as the truth," says Ancliffe. "What we're very good at is keeping people aware of the interpretation of the results to give people good design and operations advice in a way people can understand."

Selected by the Olympic Delivery Authority(ODA) as its lead crowd consultant for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Movement Strategies' forward-thinking, spectator-centric approach to crowd management at the Olympic Park, London's major stations and Games venues was well received by fans and organisers alike.

"Rather than being seen as a technical consultant our clients allowed us to get involved in more strategic decisions early on," says Ancliffe. "We were taken as a serious partner in the design and operation of the Olympic Park."

Ancliffe explains how, armed with a competition schedule and venue sizes, Movement Strategies' Olympic work began in 2006 with the production of a spectator forecast for the Olympic Park. "That spectator forecast was fundamental to the size and shape of the master plan. So as part of the EDAW consortium we helped determine the number of venues and which venues should be where.

"For example," Ancliffe continues, "basketball was moved because its changeovers between sessions would overlap with those of the Olympic Stadium causing crowd conflict. Crowd flow was also a key consideration in determining the number and size of the bridges in the park and resulted in significant cost savings."

According to Ancliffe, it is examples like this that demonstrated to the ODA and other stakeholders the importance of the spectator forecast and crowd planning and how it could drive decision-making from an early stage." Now I think we've shown that it is a fundamental part of the design of major events - although it's been used before it's never been done at this depth or detail," he reports.

As well as its significant involvement in the design of the Olympic park and London's various venue and transport hotspots, Ancliffe describes how the company played a vital role in the operational aspect of the Games, with Movement Strategies' staff on the ground "supporting the ODA and Locog, but also the transport operators and TFL (Transport for London) who ran the city's transport as their day job."

"My team was instrumental in setting up and running a group called 'Transport Analytics', he says "which provided analysis and real-time decision support to Games organisers and transport operators - whether it was incident response or changes to messaging to commuters and spectators."

"We also had people monitoring crowd movement across the city and in the park using anonymised tracking of spectators' mobile phones" he adds. "It helped us understand how long people were spending at security, how long people were spending in the park, population numbers and so on. That's a step forward and that way of managing crowds and transport will be something that has changed as a result of the Games."

Despite the company being more than occupied in applying crowd dynamics to the design of Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium and the surrounding Northumberland Development Project, it appears that with Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016 looming on the horizon Movement Strategies 'game-changing work on London 2012 has only whet the appetite of Ancliffe and his team to become further involved with major events in the future.

"We have a broad range of crowd expertise - stadia, festivals, transport - but major events bring this all together," he says, "and it certainly our plan to expand internationally and leverage that experience gained from this and other events to raise the focus on spectator experience for other major events."

Contact :
Simon Ancliffe
Movement Strategies
160 Fleet Street
London, EC4A 2DQ
+ 44 0 20 7884 915


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Categories: Sports

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