Umm Al-Qura University’s Research Team Completes a Crowd Simulation Model for Crowd Movement in the Holy Mosque

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A team from the Crowd Management and Transportation Centre of Research Excellence (TCMCORE ) in Umm Al-Qura University has recently conducted a crowd simulation modelling study in the holy mosque of Makkah.

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Crowd Simulation is an important tool that could be used to plan and train the personnel involved in Hajj and Pilgrimage organization.

A team of researchers from the Crowd Management and Transportation Center of Research Excellence (TCMCORE ) in Umm Al-Qura University has recently completed a key research project in Makkah. This crowd simulation project involved a thorough study of the millions of people that visit this ancient city to perform religious pilgrimage.

The highly challenging study by the researchers from Umm Al-Qura University was an important one because of the specific crowd movement pattern during circumambulations around Kaaba, the black cubical symbol, and in the grand holy mosque. This congregation is considered to be one of the largest, and most diverse mass gatherings all over the world. Pilgrims arriving at the Holy Grand Mosque make seven circumambulations (known as Tawaf) in a counter-clockwise direction around the Kaaba. Efficient crowd management has always been a burning issue during a crowded Tawaf. The movement pattern becomes even more complex as there are many other rituals performed by the visitors.

The researchers at Umm Al-Qura University selected a crowd simulation software from Oasys called MassMotion for their study. As part of this project, the team developed a simulation model that was built around several complex mobility patterns around Kaaba including:

  •     Entering and exiting from Tawaf Plaza
  •     Entering and exiting from Tawaf rituals, including seven circumambulations
  •     Entering and exiting from Hijr Ismail
  •     Stopping next to Kaaba's gate
  •     Slowing down around Maqam Ibrahim
  •     Stopping for kissing the Black Stone
  •     Pausing at the end/start of each circumambulation

Utilizing the crowd simulation software, the team was able to analyze and measure the crowd density around the Kaaba to identify the critical areas. This, in turn, allowed them to calculate the total time required for the completion of the Tawaf in very crowded and less crowded conditions. This analysis also paved the way for a forecast about the impact of new construction on crowd management in this region.

Founded in 2008, the Crowd Management and Transportation Center of Research Excellence (TCMCORE ) is a research and innovation center delivering cutting-edge technology solutions to transportation and crowd management industry in Saudi Arabia.

The team reveals that they will use their simulation model in the near future for larger projects targeted towards the mitigation of crowd movement problems around Kaaba. Dr.Emad Felemban, the Director of the Crowd Management and Transportation Center of Research Excellence, was the primary investigator of this research project. Discussing the probable applications of crowd simulation in managing large, religious gatherings, Dr. Felemban stated, “Crowd Simulation is an important tool that could be used to plan and train the personnel involved in Hajj and Pilgrimage organization.”

More about this study can be found at http://hoshood.com/en/crowd-simulation

About Crowd Management and Transportation Centre of Research Excellence: Crowd Management and Transportation Centre of Research Excellence is a research and innovation center founded in 2008. Dedicated to applied research and facilitating technology transfer, the institute has been providing advanced technology solutions to the transportation and crowd management industry in Saudi Arabia. Their primary mission focuses on helping improve the transportation infrastructure and crowd management services for Hajj and Omrah.

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Emad Felemban
Umm Al Qura University
+966 555980640
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