Title

MOVING CROWDS IN CHICAGO: BASEBALL AND THE FOURTH OF JULY

Authors

S H. Abrams

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

operations - coordination, operations - crowding, land use - planning, mode - rail

Keywords

Sports facilities, Special events, Rapid transit facilities, Rail transit facilities, Planning, Overcrowding, Operations, Crowds, Crowding, Coordination, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago (Illinois)

Abstract

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is often called on to transport large numbers of spectators attending popular special events. Although these situations bear similarities to normal peak-hour traffic, they are characterized by longer-lasting streams of intense traffic volume. Facilities and operating practices designed for peak-hour traffic are usually unable to handle these extraordinary inflows. Therefore, facilities and operations must be adapted to deal with these extreme conditions. Today, CTA experiences two major types of special-events situations. The first type of situation is sporting events, such as professional baseball, football, and basketball games, which originate predictable traffic from a specific site at predetermined times. Therefore, a nearby transit facility such as a rapid-transit station can be designed to service expected traffic volumes. Second, Chicago hosts a growing list of special events that are located in less-well-defined areas, which may change over time. Attendance at this second type of event is often difficult to predict and measure. Therefore, permanent facilities must be adapted to serve such infrequent demand. Also, special-events operations planning must be coordinated carefully with outside agencies. The discussion focuses on how CTA has designed both facilities and operations to deal with the crowds generated by both scenarios. CTA serves many sporting events, including Cubs baseball games at Wrigley Field. Also, every year Chicago hosts a fireworks display held on the night of July 3. A description is included of the design of facilities and operations that facilitate these special events.