Crowd Control and Queue Management at UniversitiesArticle published on May 20, 2018
Crowd Control and Queue Mangement at Universities
No matter the size of your institution, planning, and organization are the keys to a well-run, highly efficient university system.
That rule applies to every level of your school: from class scheduling to department hierarchies, to student activity committees and sports teams, and even university crowd control and queue management systems.
Events, retail shops, concession stands, cafeterias, and classrooms all require different types of crowd control solutions to keep your university running smoothly and efficiently.
In today’s post we will walk you through:1. Why you need “invisible” crowd control solutions on campus,
2. How to figure out which areas of your university need crowd control, and
3. The three most common areas of campus that require queue management and crowd systems.
Controlling Your Campus Without Controlling Your Campus
“Invisible” Crowd Control Solutions
Before you even start thinking about ordering a single belt barrier or stanchion post for your campus, it’s first necessary to learn that the best crowd control solution is often the one people don’t even realize is there.
According to a study by Fast Company, the more you try to force a group of people - i.e. ‘the mob’ - to do something, the more they will rebel against that action. This is especially true of college students who often feel entitled to the facilities of their university.
That’s why invisible crowd control solutions often work best on college campuses.
Signs, retractable belt barriers, and jersey barriers are so ubiquitous today that we typically don’t even realize that they’re there. We follow the guidance given to us by the objects without realizing we’re being controlled.
A traffic cop, on the other hand, not only stands out as a visible crowd controller but also costs significantly more money as you need to pay.
Invest in invisible solutions that direct students, faculty, employees, and campus visitors to keep costs down over the long term and create invisible crowd control solutions.
Which bring us to...
The Ultimate Invisible Crowd Control Solution
Signs are some of the best invisible crowd control solutions money can buy.
Clear, well-placed, large signs not only tell people where to go, but they do it ahead of time. If an emergency situation occurs, a well-placed sign ques people where to go and diminishes the likelihood of a pileup.
Think about the last time you went to the movies.
As soon as you walked into the theater, you knew you could exit either behind your seat where you walked in or at the front of the theater because there are exit signs placed in both places. Because of those signs, moviegoers already know where to go if there is an emergency, like a fire.
You can implement the same system across campus.
Exit signs, signs for restrooms, emergency equipment signs in labs, and directions to other areas of campus can help direct the flow of your student body and keep people calm in emergency situations.
Defining Your Campus Layout by Crowd Control Solutions
Each area of your campus - dorms, labs, athletic facilities, classrooms, libraries, the ‘quad,’ etc. - requires its own crowd control and queue management solution.
When you’re coming up with crowd management solutions for your university, write out a list of the different areas of campus, the type of crowd control solution each space needs, and what products you need to implement that solution.
For example, let’s take a look at what the list for a campus football stadium would look like.
Concession Stands, Entrances, Ticket Lines (Queue Management)
On-the-Field (Crowd Control)
Parking Lot (Traffic Control)
Putting together a checklist like this will help you make sure you have the appropriate crowd control products for each area of campus.
The 3 Most Common Campus Crowd Control Zones
And how to effectively manage them
The three most common areas of campus that require crowd control solutions are:
- Cafes, Administrative Buildings, Bookstores, and Concession Stands
- Parking Lots
- Athletic & Event Facilities
Let’s take each of those one at a time to determine the crowd control solutions they need.
1) Cafes, Admin Buildings, Bookstores, and Concession Stands
In these types of areas, queue management solutions are essential. So, what’s the number one product used for effective queue management?
Retractable belt barriers
That’s because retractable belt barriers are the most cost-effective solution for directing human traffic on campus.
Picking the right belt barriers to guide students, faculty, and campus visitors is a big decision as you’re designing different areas of campus.
The amount of traffic the belt-barriers will need to withstand, where they’re located, and how much area they’ll need to cover should all be taken into account when you’re determining what type of belt-barrier to purchase.
It’s best to plan out the layout of your queues before buying retractable belt barriers. Because of their efficiency and adaptability, most people use queue management apps to do this. With the right app, you can create a digital layout of your library/cafeteria/etc., and virtually layout your barriers to estimate how many you’ll need.
Quick note: it’s worth spending a little more on your retractable belt barriers upfront to avoid extra costs later. In most cases, these barriers will need to hold up to daily, constant use so it’s more cost-effective to purchase a high-end or permanent retractable-belt barrier solution rather than a cheap one that could break down within a year.
2) Parking Lots
No matter if you run a large, suburban school, or a tiny city campus, you’re going to have to deal with some type of parking lot for students, faculty, and employees.
Traffic safety protocols will help keep traffic flowing smoothly and decrease the likelihood of accidents. Even simple solutions, like well-placed speed bumps, can make a huge difference in the safety of your campus parking lots.
Here are the five most common parking lot safety solutions for college campuses and how you can implement them.
- With near-constant foot traffic, there is no reason a motorist should be driving above the speed limit on campus. Speed bumps will help remind drivers to slow down and stay vigilant about pedestrians on campus.
- Barriers remind drivers where they should and shouldn’t be driving. A wide footpath can sometimes be confused for a road, and you don’t want drivers taking their car somewhere they shouldn’t be.
- Well-placed traffic signs also tell drivers where to go and keep them out of areas designated for safety vehicles or foot traffic.
- Delineator posts ‘delineate’ which lane to drive in and which direction to follow in large, open parking lots.
- Last, traffic cones tell drivers where they should and shouldn’t be, and can also hold large signs to direct traffic.
3. Athletic & Event Facilities
Athletic and event facilities are like mini college campuses within themselves.
They can house concession stands, apparel stores, locker rooms, museums, bookstores, cafeterias, fitness facilities, classrooms, and administrative offices all in one building.
Because of this, you’ll need a number of crowd control solutions for each type of area.
Here are the basic types you’ll need for your athletic facility:
When a game, concert, or student activity day is happening, you’ll need a way to keep that massive crowd organized. Clearly defined lines minimize congestion and keep confusion to a minimum, and belt barriers and stanchions can help you accomplish that.
Stanchion sign frames, barricade sign covers, traffic signs, and permanent signs tell people where to go without making them feel as if they’ve been pushed. A simple sign that says “Restrooms to the Left” can help keep traffic at a game flowing instead of piling up around entrances and exits.
For places like ticket lines and concession stands, wall-mounted retractable belt barriers offer a more permanent queue management solution. Anywhere you are confident that you will need a permanent solution (i.e., the size of the line will be standard/expected), consider installing a wall-mounted retractable belt barrier. They hold up better to wear and tear and will last longer.