SALMAN LADHA, TRAFFIC DATA VIA MIOVISION BLOG (AUG 1, 2019)
Live events happen in cities of all sizes providing an economic boost to both the city and local businesses in the process. Whether it’s a sporting match, concert, festival, or conference, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that hasn’t attended some type of live event. Which also means that we can all relate to the inevitable traffic problems that come along with these types of large-scale gatherings.
Safe and efficient travel is a crucial element in delivering positive game-day experiences. However, when it comes to improving transportation and logistics, it can be a struggle to know where to start.
Such was the case with a well-known stadium, where a troubling trend was noticed. Thousands of game-day fans were opting to jaywalk across an eight-lane freeway to avoid a congested pedestrian bridge that connected the stadium and parking lot.
With fan safety top of mind, stadium staff were considering the construction of a second pedestrian bridge, costing upwards of ten million dollars. They brought the team at Burns & McDonnell into the fold to provide their insights and recommendations before making a final decision. Burns & McDonnell investigated the problem and ultimately suggested innovative solutions to improve the level of service on the existing infrastructure.
Using Miovision Scout to uncover the root of the problem
In partnership with Gewalt Hamilton Associates, a data collection firm, Burns & McDonnell used nine Miovision Scout units, positioned at both the approach and receiving sides of the pedestrian bridge to collect data. What they uncovered was that at peak capacity, travel time to the stadium using the pedestrian bridge increased threefold, going from a 5-minute commute to 15 minutes. This spike proved high enough to make the minute and a half travel time of jaywalking – though incredibly dangerous – more desirable. While these quantitative results reiterated the challenge being faced, the video footage from Miovision Scout provided a rich qualitative data set for Burns & McDonnell to examine, uncovering the behavioral patterns of pedestrians that brought to life choke points along the path.
For example, bottlenecks often occurred at stairs located at the entry and exit points of the bridge due to the need for pedestrians to slow down. Portable restrooms near the tail end of the commute also resulted in significant pinch points. And most interestingly, video footage revealed that rain puddles were failing to drain, further causing delays as people would actively sidestep, thus increasing travel time.
Using data to justify cost-friendly solutions
Burns & McDonnell concluded that several inefficiencies were impeding pedestrian flow resulting in a cumulative impact on travel time. Rather than construct a second pedestrian bridge, minor adjustments such as eliminating stairs and replacing them with a ramp, positioning restrooms away from the pedestrian path, and installing a stronger drainage system were all viable solutions to the problem being faced by the stadium at a fraction of the cost.
Looking ahead, Burns & McDonnell will continue working with the stadium to quantify the impacts of these recommendations and identify other avenues for improving fan safety, commute, and experience.