Put crowd controls in place

There are generally three main phases of an event where you can use design, information and effective crowd management to ensure people's safety:

  • arrival and entry to the venue or site (eg access routes, queuing space and entrances)
  • onsite/venue circulation of crowds (eg concourses, areas around facilities)
  • leaving the venue/site and dispersal (eg exit routes and exit gate widths)

Entering and leaving the venue

Depending on the scale, complexity and type of your event, speak to the police, local highways authority and transport providers about external traffic and pedestrian management around the event location to:

  • ensure safe and convenient site access
  • minimise offsite traffic, as well as pedestrian and transport disruption

Where appropriate, consult rail authorities and other transport providers about additional public transport services to meet the demands of the event. Traffic conditions may affect the timing of people's arrival or departure plans.

In certain circumstances, changes to the existing road layout around an event site, parking arrangements or traffic flows will be required to:

  • assist road safety
  • help reduce any potential congestion on local road networks
  • manage traffic flow of visitors to the event

If you are expecting people to drive to the event, arrange for adequate parking and for parking areas to be well signposted or have car parking stewards direct drivers. Make sure that any areas where parking could cause a hazard are cordoned off.

Advice on getting to and from the venue and parking

Entrances and exits

For larger crowds, encourage phased arrivals and departures, for example by:

  • making entry cheaper off-peak
  • offering entertainment before and after the main event
  • staggering the start and/or finish of several events within the venue
  • making early arrival and late departure more worthwhile by providing good catering and welfare facilities

Before allowing people into the venue, ensure all exits are unlocked, pedestrian routes are clear and your emergency arrangements are in place.

A combination of queuing systems, signage, appropriate barriers and effective stewarding can be used to manage crowd flow/pressure. Ensure any security search procedures do not compromise the safety of people by creating an overcrowding risk. 

Traffic routes and stairs

Take reasonable steps to protect people queuing on traffic routes and stairs. Make sure there is a safe way people can get out of a queue without having to move against those queuing behind them or into the path of moving vehicles. Queuing should not block emergency access routes.

Where the number of people arriving may exceed the safe capacity of the venue, you will need:

  • arrangements for monitoring and estimating the numbers of people arriving
  • depending on the size of the event, close liaison with the police, transport operators and other agencies

Pre-empt this at the planning stage by:

  • planning your advertising campaign to emphasise that it is a 'ticket-only' even
  • including in the advertising that the ticket-only rule will be strictly enforced

Announcements at train and bus stations, use of local radio and social media can also be effective communication tools on the day of the event.

Make allowances by agreeing with the police and other agencies on how excess people could be redirected before reaching the venue. Consider providing overflow space and additional routes for excess people to prevent crushing, when deciding on the most appropriate action to take.

Crowd controls inside the venue

Is this page useful?

Updated 2023-03-13