Thursday, 17 March 2011

Transport to sports events

When I studied OR as a postgraduate, we were presented with several scenarios to reflect on their logistical problems. One was related to sports transport.

An event is scheduled at time T1 and finishes at time T2. Spectators arrive by public transport in advance of time T1. Their arrivals are spread over a considerable period, as their plans vary. Some may want to be very early, others arrive in the last few minutes. But the general distribution of their arrivals is widely spread. So the transport provision has to reflect this ... with vehicles scheduled over a wide range of times before T1.

On the other hand, at time T2, all those who arrived by public transport are ready to depart at the same time. So the public transport has to be concentrated into a much smaller time window.

These are the same sorts of problem that one meets in other circumstances, but the size of the crowds at some sports events make the contrasting problems particularly difficult.

OR has been used by the organisers of the recent Olympics to cope with this scheduling problem. And already, the London Underground OR team is planning how to cope with the 2012 Games.

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