Capacity Utilization Assessment Using Discrete-Event Simulation: Case Study of a High-Density Crowd Visiting the Holy Rawda in the City of Madinah

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Kawther Saeedi, Abdulaziz Ab-dullah, Marwa Sonbul, Ahmad Hatim Hassan Qadi, Liping Zhao, Kawthar Moria, Sultanah M. Alshammari, Rehab Ashari


Managing a high-density crowd is challenging, especially when space is limited, due to increased risk of crowd disasters. There are many considerations to lower disaster risk and ensure crowd safety such as infrastructure, facility, staff, emergency response plan, education and awareness. This paper investigates capacity management, which is the most critical consideration when space is limited. Discrete-event simulation (DES) technique is highly adept at reproducing complex real-world operations and can incorporate numerous stochastic variables, thereby improving its effectiveness in decision-making. The objective of this study is to assess capacity utilization of small space through formulating space features and crowd dynamic with a DES model. The model is intended to provide support for informed decision-making process related to capacity management. A real case study about a high-density crowd visiting the Holy Rawda was employed. The data related to the visiting parameters and visit experience KPIs were captured through a range of interviews and actual visits. Comparing the results of the simulation scenarios against the proposed KPIs had a surprising result, there is only 79% utilization of the area, although, intensive high-density crowd were featured during all the visits. It means better management of the crowd may allow 21% more visitors to visit the Holy Rawda.  

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