Venue queueing experiences

16 Mar 2010 - 1:51pm
6 years ago
7 replies
842 reads
Theo Tveteras

After summer I'm starting my diploma thesis on queueing in entertainment venues, and I'm currently doing some preparatory research.
By entertainment venues I mean places such as amusement parks, festivals, conferences, concerts, casinos, fairs and exhibitions.

I've found some good articles on both queueing psychology and mathematical studies of waiting lines, but I have a hard time finding any sites or papers that discusses design-related issues in queues, like building anticipation, social interactions, playing games or storytelling. I'm sure there must be some good publications regarding these issues!

Has anyone got referencial material to recommend?
I'd also like to get in touch with someone in the venue/event design field, so if you are or know of a professional who could be interested in discussing it please tell me!


16 Mar 2010 - 3:09pm

This might be a somewhat novel approach, but have you checked out games like "Roller Coaster Tycoon"?   You might consider contacting that the maker of that game to see if any real world psychological or mathematical studies were put into the AI queuing algorithms there, because there are definitely metrics applied to the length of the queue and and the qualitatively measured emotional experience of each virtual patron of your park. (the designer) (You can contact him through his agency)

16 Mar 2010 - 10:30pm
Daniel Zollman

I don't know if this goes as far as you'd like, but Don Norman wrote an article on this a couple years ago. There are also a couple references on the page.

17 Mar 2010 - 1:10am
Adam Korman

Some of this may be similar to what you've already found, but I thought I'd pass it along:

He has a couple of posts about queuing at Disneyland, but the focus is still on the math & psychology. If you haven't already investigated Disneyland, you should definitely look into research/articles about their queues, since they have focused a lot of attention on the things you're asking about (building anticipation, interaction, storytelling, etc.).

Regards, Adam

17 Mar 2010 - 12:25pm
Joshua Muskovitz

Sorry, no study leads, but I do know that a lot of thought does go into this, and that there are different schools of thought:

- Amusement parks (roller coaster types) attempt to extract maximum revenue by providing periodic vending locations in queues. Premium customers can line jump *most* of the queue, but not all of it (typically).

- Theme parks (movie studio parks) divide the queue into a ride-prep portion, and a conventional overflow queue. In the ride prep portion, there is an attempt to get you immersed into the ride's theme and plot, so as to maximize the experience. Typically, the prep lasts longer than the ride itself. Premium customers can line jump the overflow, but not the prep.

I think, therefore, it is important to distinguish between overflow (demand-based) queues and integral (plot prep) queues. Both are necessary, but have very different purposes.

-- j

17 Mar 2010 - 1:33pm

Richard Larson was one of my professors at MIT and has done research in queue. Might check with him to see if he knows of any studies on the game and storytelling side of queues. I cannot recall any research that dealt specifically with those engaging topics instead of the personal and crowd psychological aspects.

17 Mar 2010 - 3:58pm
Theo Tveteras

Wow, thanks you guys!

Mike, I'll look into rollercoaster tycoon, been some years since I played it, but good idea to see their approach.
Daniel and Adam, those are good ones, I haven't read any of those before, I sure will. David, I'll see if Richard Larson's got any ideas, and Joshua, how come you know so much about amusement/theme park queues and the differences between them?
Got some reading to do now...
Thanks again!

19 Mar 2010 - 7:13am
Joshua Muskovitz

For a number of years, I was very close to friends who worked for Berkshire Ridefilm. They were heavily involved with theme-park-style ride technology.

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