Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Crowd Control and Ancient Rome

What can we learn about crowd control from ancient Pompeii?

Apparently quite a bit. An excerpt from the CSO article:

Limit Options. In crowd management, the maxim called Braess’ paradox states that more options equals decreased performance. That is, if you give people many routes to choose from, crowd traffic will slow down because of indecisiveness and selfish behavior when choosing one of the paths. Pompeii provides a stark example of avoiding Braess’ paradox. The entire stadium is serviced by just six stairways, all of which point in the same general direction—northwest. By the time a Roman would have to make a decision which way to go, the space has already opened wide.

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