There are numerous tools one can use to map out the risks at public events. One of the most used tools is the RAMP analysis: a modelling technique that helps to define the crowd dynamics as crowds approach, circulate, and depart from the site.
The acronym RAMP stands for Routes, Areas, Movement, and Profile. These are the four main factors that you need to get to grips with to be able to understand the risks that may evolve at your event. In essence, the RAMP analysis is your first preview of what you expect to happen.
First, you map out the routes towards, around, and leaving the site. Drawing these out on a site map provides a clear overview of crowd flows around the location. It is important to distinguish the routes that will be used for every phase of your event. This makes it possible to create a visual indication of how busy a route is at a particular location and/or time.
There might be a big transport hub close to the site which will result in a big flow of people to and from that direction. Will cross-flows appear that could potentially hinder the crowd?
A RAMP analysis uses color coding for communicating the severity of crowd risks. A route that has limited capacity may be colored orange, while a route that has a dangerous capacity shortage should be colored red. This color coding allows its’ user to immediately see where and in which phases dangerous situations could occur. These colors are universally understood, which allows people to get their meaning regardless of what language they speak.
Once the routes are established, it is essential to look at the areas that these routes take people. What areas are available at your event site? There might be different themes and stages at the event. Calculating the capacity of these areas helps prevent overcrowding. If a major artist is performing on the main stage, it is foreseeable that the majority of your visitors will move into that area. Does that area have space to comfortably fit all those people?
Color coding is also done for the Areas. When determining the use of the available area at the site, the following may be the case:
- Green: areas where the crowd density is two people per square meter or less. This means low risks.
- Orange: areas where the crowd density is three to four people per square meter. Orange indicates medium risks.
- Red: areas where the crowd density may be five people per square meter or more. Red means high risks to the crowds.
Movement is defined as the expected flow of people into, through, and away from a site. Flow rates show how much time it might take for an area to fill, or for people to move to a certain area onsite. Insight in the movements towards the entrance gates will help us to judge whether the number of gates and the amount of available personnel are sufficient. But movement is also about risks during an event. If the headliner is performing late in the day, then a big flow of people moving towards that stage will be visible. Are there any factors onsite that could limit the crowd flow and could potentially cause congestion?
The profile of a crowd can tell us a lot about their characteristics and motives when coming to the event. Historical data and more recent observations about a crowd’s behaviour make it possible for the event organizer to prepare for possible issues to be aware of for fans or specific performers. What type of crowd is expected? In a previous article on our website, we presented the first insights of an evaluation report on the tragedy at Astroworld Festival on the evening of November 5, 2021. Specific types of artists attract specific behaviour and in some cases the artist is actively instigating expressive and even aggressive behaviour amongst the crowd. What do incidents like these teach us about future events with this type of artist?
A RAMP analysis leads the user through the key elements of an event and might make potential threats to crowd safety more visible. Next, you will be able to prevent these risks or prepare the organization for foreseeable incidents. If you are not able to determine Routes, Areas, Movement, and Profile of your event, you probably know too little to move on with your risk assessment. That could mean you risk liability issues because of negligence.
Would you like to learn more about the RAMP analysis and how to apply this to your event? Sign up for our course: Courses Scheduled – Event Safety Institute or book an in-company course for your team. Any questions? Get in contact with ESI.