13.04.2016 : Martin Peat

Crowd modelling in Rio

The Rio 2016 Olympics are a one-off opportunity. The world’s watching and there’s one chance to get it right. If you don’t, everyone is going to know about it.

Martin Peat on the basics of crowd modelling, how it works and some important things to look out for.

“Meu nome é Martin, eu sou da Nova Zelândia e eu trabalho nos Jogos Olímpicos. - My name is Martin. I am from New Zealand and I’m working on the Rio Olympic Games.

Beca is involved in the crowd modelling at the Rio Olympics, and crowd modelling involves looking at spectator movements from one place to another. In this case, it’s people jumping off the trains and buses, and making their way into the venue.

The main inputs to crowd modelling are the competition schedule and the capacity of the venues. They’re really important because we’re looking at when people arrive.

When we’ve been designing the flows, in particular at the Olympic Park, we’ve come up with a solution that has the majority of people walking on the right-hand side. This comes more naturally and is going to be easier to manage than trying to force people to do something that they’re not used to.

When we’re doing crowd modelling, there are a number of tools that we can use. For quick and easy calculations, and Excel spreadsheet is all you need. The more detail you need to go into, we can start using special computer software that simulates the movement of people. What that ends up with is a drawing of the venue and then you get ‘little dots’ running around, leaving the venue, going through the walkways and leaving the exit.

As part of that, the software knows about the interactions between people and will speed people up or slow people down depending on how many people are around.

Olympics are a one-off opportunity. It’s a huge event and it only lasts for two weeks for the Olympics and two weeks for the Paralympics. The world’s watching and there’s one opportunity to get it right. If you don’t, everybody’s is going to know about it.”
About the Author

Martin Peat

Senior Engineer - Transportation

Martin is currently based in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, where he's been leading a crowd modelling project for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Last month Martin received the IPENZ Young Engineer of the Year Award for 2016,  in recognition of his outstanding contribution as an engineer, a leader, and community involvement.

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