Earlier in the year, I had an interesting few weeks observing how people navigate the crowded buffet restaurant of a cruise ship.
Image courtesy Shutterstock.
There appeared to be three broad difficulties.
Actively impeding traffic:
- Chatting in the middle of traffic, like a doorway or access way.
- Stopping in a queue to make decisions that could have been made before joining said queue - but also unwilling to leave the queue.
- Walking as a group across access ways that had traffic going both ways.
Not flowing/merging with the traffic:
- Weaving in and out of lanes of traffic to try and get ahead, but not really getting ahead given everyone is trying to do the same thing.
- Stopping suddenly in traffic without any warning or awareness of the surrounding people.
- Aggressively cut ahead of the traffic, to then stop suddenly to look backwards.
- Queue cutting.
- Not forming clear queues.
- Not joining queues from the right direction.
- Queuing from both directions at the same time causing a pile-up where the queues meet.
It is interesting to note many of the same behaviour of foot traffic in Singapore shopping centres.
I'm guessing these behaviours are not that conscious. People don't set out to deliberately cause traffic chaos. Nonetheless I'm curious as to what could be the subconscious drivers behind these behaviours. And how we can accommodate them in how we design spaces and services.