Hourly Capacity and Queue Lengths

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Offline andreizsmart

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Hourly Capacity and Queue Lengths
« on: June 29, 2018, 03:49 PM »
I had commented on someones question elsewhere regarding Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacities (THRC) and Queue Line Length Estimation and thought I would share with you guys. If you guys have questions or are curious about more information, or even have notes to offer, feel free to comment.

Ride Capacities are dependent on a number of factors that is unique to every coaster and attraction. Which means that capacities need to be calculated for each attraction. Capacity is dependent on the following variables:
    D = Ride Duration in minutes (total time from when a vehicle dispatches/ride cycle begins to the moment when that vehicle dispatches again. Basically Ride time + Load/unload time)(El Toro averages at 4.5 min)
    C = the capacity of a train/vehicle (El Toro train has capacity of 36 ppl)
    T = the number of trains/vehicle units (El Toro at peak runs 3 trains)
One basic formula for determining an attractions capacity is as follows:
    THRC (Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacity) = (60*T*C)/D
Using El Toro as an example,
    D = 4.5 min
    C = 36 ppl
    T = 3 trains
    THRC = (60 x 36 x 3)/4.5 = 1440 pph (people per hour)
This value indicates how many people the attraction can process in one hour.

Queue line length is more complicated of a calculation and has many different ways, with many different parts, to determine it. One quick estimation that can be done is as follows:
Assuming your attraction has a THRC of 1440 pph, and you expect your coaster to be pretty popular (about 90min wait), you would need to design your queue to hold 1.5hrs worth of guests on an attraction that processes 1440 pph:
    Queue Capacity = Wait time x THRC
    Queue Capacity = 1.5hrs x 1440pph = 2160 ppl
Industry Standards suggests that queue lines have about 4 sqft of standing room per person and assuming a queue width of 5 ft wide:
    Area per Person = 4 sqft/person
    Queue Width = 5 ft
    Approximate Queue Length = (Queue Capacity x Area per Person)/Queue Width
                             = (2160 x 4)/5
                             = 1728 ft of queue
For comparison, El Toro's Queue line is approximately 1500 ft long.

These calculations can be applied to a number of different attraction formats. For example, a flat ride's capacity would be determined the same way except that the capacity would equal the number of seats, the number of trains would be only 1, and the duration would be the the time from when the ride starts its cycle to the time it starts its next cycle.

Shows can follow a similar calculation as flat rides do but are more traditionally determined by the number of cycles per hour the show occurs. If a theater can hold 1000 people, and the show cycles twice an hour, then the hourly capacity is simply 2 times 1000 people, or 2000 people per hour.

The standard calculations become a little more complex for attractions like continuously moving omnimovers (Haunted Mansion), coasters with dual loading stations side by side (California Screamin'), coasters with two loading platforms in tandem (Space Mountain at Disneyland), separate load and unload platforms (Expedition Everest), and trackless dark rides or batch loading (Mystic Manor or Radiator Springs Racers), free-flow walkthrough attractions (Enchanted Storybook Castle), pulsed walkthrough attractions (Enchanted Tales with Belle). All of these formats tend to increase the capacity by increasing the flow of guests through the attraction or streamlining the load/unload process which reduces the duration value, D.

An interesting attraction to note is the new Ropes Course at Shanghai Disneyland ( The Challenge Trails at Camp Discovery). Traditionally a low capacity attraction, Disney increased its throughput with the following:
  • Creating a linear experience as opposed to free flow. Meaning, guests follow a path that starts at one point and finishes at another without ever returning to a previous section.
  • Adding 3 paths, on 2 courses (total of 6 paths)
  • Segmenting the load process into multiple components. Meaning, guests are first split into groups, then move foward to then be given a harness. Then proceed forward to then step into harness. Then move forward again for harnesses to be tightened and adjusted. And then move forward to be clipped in before being let off into the course.
By segmenting the loading process, they end up processing more guests, much like how a factory assembly line works.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 04:32 PM by andreizsmart »
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Offline Bullethead

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Re: Hourly Capacity and Queue Lengths
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 06:45 PM »
This is all very good info.  Thanks!  Definitely food for thought.  You can also look at this from different angles, though.

All peeps spend an average amount of time in the park before deciding to leave.  The decision to leave is solely time-based; remaining money has nothing to do with it.  The happier peeps are, the longer they'll stay and vice versa but it's still a function of elapsed time, nothing else.  And only a tiny fraction of peeps have the trait to use an ATM, so basically you're playing for table stakes.  The average peep has about $95 when he spawns and, if the park makes him blissfully happy, will decide to leave after about 1.5-2 hours.  Your objective, therefore, is to bleed the peep's funds at a rate of about $45-50/hour.  Any slower means unspent money leaving the park.  Any faster means the peep becomes an "angry ghost", broke but refusing to leave, constantly complaining he can't afford anything, and, if the park is at capacity, preventing another peep with money to spend from entering.

Peeps standing in a queue paid whatever price the ride ticket was (if any) and then spend zero money for the whole time they're in the queue and on the ride.  All that elapsed queue time gives you is triggering the peep's physical needs for food, drink toilet, and energy.  The rate at which peep physical needs build up varies slightly with peep group demographics and the relative urgency of physical needs vs. the desire to go on rides is modified by overall happiness.  Keep your peeps happy enough and they'll starve and piss their pants rather than forego taking another ride.  But in general, figure on an average of 1 energy per 30 minutes, 1 drink and 1 toilet per 45 minutes, and 1 food per 60 minutes (assuming you haven't applied a bunch of extras to the food and drink).  If you have benches all over, you'll never sell an energy drink so don't bother about that one.

So let's assume peeps are very happy, toilets are free, benches are plentiful, and park entry is $10/peep.  Also assume rides, food, drink, and gifts all cost about $10 each (essentially default prices for needs but ride prices can be up to prestige/37.9 before anybody thinks they're too expensive).   This means you need to bleed peeps at $40-45/hour (considering the entrance price), which in turn means that any queue time longer than 10-15 minutes is costing you money.

Ride queue time is a function of queue length and ride throughput.  Throughput is the rate at which full trains leave the station or flat rides start per hour, less the average of 2.5 empty seats/run due to indivisible peep group sizes, and considering periodic stoppages for preventive maintenance and breakdowns.  On average, expecting more than about 75% of the max theoretical throughput is wishful thinking.  In the queue, each peep occupies 1 square meter, peeps form columns of 2, and groups don't overlap so queue widths > 2m are wasted space and the average group will occupy 4m of queue length.  This means that no queue should exceed 60m in length.
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