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Contemporary planning approaches for crowd safety at mass gatherings

posted on 07.09.2018, 00:00 by Aldo RaineriAldo Raineri
Mass gatherings are planned or spontaneous events where the number of people attending is sufficient to strain the planning and response resources of the host. They are characterised by the concentration of people, generally on a predictable basis, in venues or precincts that are open or enclosed. Examples include sporting (e.g. Summer and Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup) and religious (e.g. Hajj, World Youth Day) events, cultural festivals and music festivals. Mass gatherings can also occur at train stations (e.g. London Underground, Paris Metro), shopping complexes (e.g. IKEA opening in London, annual store sales), business precincts and tourist attractions. A number of studies and official inquiries have identified inadequate planning as a major contributory factor to deficiencies in crowd safety at mass gatherings. Proper planning involves an assessment of attendant safety risks using traditional risk assessment methods. These generally tend to deal with the hazards and risks usually found at most workplaces without taking into account the dynamics of the crowd or those factors that influence its behaviour. Insufficient attention to the way that people behave in a crowd, and the relationship between behaviour and system design, are major factors in crowd disasters. Due to the sheer number of attendees, the nature of activity and potential patron behaviour, risk is always shifting and changing throughout the course of a mas gathering event. How crowd-related safety risks can change over time is difficult to both visualise and articulate in the conventional risk assessment process. This paper presents contemporary and innovative approaches to risk analysis and monitoring for crowd safety which provide a more relevant, meaningful and valuable contribution to the assessment of (dynamic) crowd-related risks.


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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Open Access


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2016 Safe Cities Conference