Crowd Control and Queue Management at Universities
Planning and organizing are key to a successful operation, including running a university. Even if your institution is the smallest of the bunch, you will never be able to run it successfully without a proper plan or strategy.
Planning and organization are required in each and every aspect of your institution, whether it is planning the class schedule, managing sports teams and student activities, or departmental handling issues. Even the smallest, seemingly insignificant, aspects such as crowd control and queue management are important to your university’s success.
Student and public events, cafeterias, dorm rooms, classrooms, stores, and even concession stands require some form of crowd control and queuing system. Managing crowds reduces the “chaos” on campus; smooth traffic flow is maintained, time is used efficiently, and an on-foot rush is avoided.
Invisible Crowd Control
Invisible Crowd Control is a way to control crowds on your campus overall; it can be used in main, general areas that see an influx of student traffic each day. The great thing about this method of crowd control is that people do not tend to see them as “orders” or someone telling them what to do – this is why this type of crowd control works best with college students.
This type of crowd control makes use of retractable belt barriers, steel barricades, signs, and jersey barriers. In most cases, people tend to follow these tools blindly and acknowledge their instructions. These tools are also cheap to purchase and do not require much maintenance.
Take a police officer in a police car, for example. If you were to place a police officer rather than a sign or barricade, students would be willing to listen to them much less because, in the end, people do not like being told what to do; they would rather follow a rule they believe to be already set in place. Additionally, hiring a police officer to manage crowds would cost you more.
Let’s delve into the different tools within invisible crowd controls:
- Retractable Belt Barriers – Retractable belt barriers are a cost-effective solution to direct human traffic and help manage queues. The type of belt barrier you purchase will depend on where they will be placed (if placed outside, they should be weather withstanding), how much traffic will pass through them (if there is heavy traffic, you should consider those barriers that are mountable so that they do not topple over), and how much area they will need to cover (the larger the area, the more you will need to purchase). These barriers are useful in bookstores, cafeterias/dining halls, concession stands, and buildings.
- Steel and Jersey Barricades – Steel barricades are useful to confine crowds into a singular space. They can be used in parking lots to mark the space allocated for parking or at sports events to prevent fans and students from entering the field/court. Steel barricades can be used at larger events on campus (especially those open to the public) to mark off space and make sure attendees do not enter restricted areas. They also help to mitigate crowds.
- Signs – Large, clear, and well-spaced signs tell people where to go, sometimes even ahead of time. Knowing where to go reduces confusion for students on campus – they will not have to keep roaming about to find their destination. This reduces the pileup of students in a single area, which can also be useful in an emergency situation. Signs can be used to direct students to any place on campus; their versatility makes them extremely useful.
What Spaces On Campus Would Benefit From Crowd Control The Best?
Some spaces are more crowded than most; they usually include spaces that are the most frequently used and the most popular. These spaces include:
- Stores and Cafeterias/Dining Halls – Stores such as pharmacies, bookstores, and grocery stores, alongside dining halls, are spaces used almost every day by each student; they see an increased influx of traffic. Hence, they should be equipped with retractable belt barriers and signs to organize lines and help students understand where to go and what to do.
- Athletic Events – Although they occur less frequently, athletic events always attract a crowd. These crowds can lead up to something minor, such as a longer wait time for those attending, or major, like fights and riots. Effective control of these crowds should be taken to avoid negative consequences.
- Parking Lots – Students need a place to park their cars, and all students that own a car visit the parking lot at least once a day – this can create traffic. An uncontrollable rush in such areas can cause students to park in areas that they are not allowed to park in, potentially harming their or someone else’s property. These areas can be managed with pre-allocated and defined parking spots and barriers to mark the limits of the parking area.
Implementing Crowd Control Strategies on Campus
Once you have decided on the areas to focus on (on campus) and the tools you plan to use, all you need is a plan to implement your ideas.
One way to do so is by printing out maps of the areas you want to implement crowd control solutions in. On these maps, you can mark the placement of signs and barriers beforehand and plan a layout that works well and maximizes the space. For example, L-shaped queues (made with retractable belt barriers) are better for smaller spaces, while U-shaped queues are better for larger ones.
Make sure to order all the things you need before you decide to implement your ideas on crowd control. The Crowd Control Company is a great option if you are looking to invest in these types of products; you can order any sign or barrier that you would need.
All in all, crowd control and establishing the use of queues add to the students’ experience; organization and planning make the students’ lives easier, and when they look back on their college years, they will reflect on the ease with which they spent their time on campus.
Crowd control techniques promise efficiency, but they also provide safety and fairness to all students on campus.