Posted by: olymponomics | May 7, 2012

Queuing as an Olympic sport and a reputational risk

“An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one”, wrote George Mikes. In line with this great cultural tradition, it is expected that spectators for events at the London Olympics will have to put up with longer than normal waiting times due to the tight security restrictions in place. According to the LOCOG chief executive, the flow of traffic is due to be controlled by the number of trains and people arriving at the Olympic Park, which sets a limit on the “number of people who can come in at any one time”. One of the features of such a complex system, however, is that disruptions to the transport system have the potential to lead to knock-on effects for queuing at the Olympic Park. No doubt this sort of modelling has been undertaken to plan for contingencies, but it could in theory take a quite small disturbance to the transport timetable to lead to a substantial increase in queuing times if the back-check system at the venues has a fixed capacity as reports imply. By lowering expectations ahead of the event, it appears that organizers are pre-emptively managing reputational risk associated with queuing, which might seem a rather less headline-grabbing concern that the threat of terrorism, but nevertheless is crucial for a successful Games.




  1. […] But what about visitors from the rest of the world? Is Britain’s reputation at risk? This is  discussed on the blog posting “Queuing as an Olympic sport and a reputational risk” in the blog Olyponomics. […]

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