MODELING THE FLOW OF CROWD DURING TAWAF AT MASJID AL-HARAM
Keywords:Tawaf, crowd management, crowd modelling, queuing theory, simulation.
AbstractTawaf is one of the most important rituals of hajj or umrah performed by the Muslim pilgrims in Masjid Al-Haram yard, Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It consists of seven counterclockwise circulations around Kaâ€™aba, a building situated in the middle of the yard. Large crowds of pilgrims performing Tawaf during peak seasons need to be investigated towards providing a safe and robust crowd management plan. Although many studies have been reported, related to Tawaf, but many of them focused on animation and behavior during Tawaf. There have been limited studies addressing human crowd during Tawaf from queuing system and optimization perspectives. This research modeled the Tawaf activities based on queuing system using discrete-event simulation, ARENA. Alternative crowd management policies were studied and their performances were compared using three criteria namely, density, service rate and average time in the system. Important design factors such as pilgrim inter-arrival time, group size, availability of space and switching behavior during Tawaf were investigated. The simulation results suggest that switching lane during Tawaf is the most significant factor in crowd density development and reduce efficiency of the queuing system. The proposed Tawaf model using separation, spiral path and timely scheduled the incoming pilgrims has resulted in the best performance among the investigated models. The techniques used in this study, is potentially applicable to other huge crowd gathering such as in theme parks, public transportation hubs and sports events.
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