Monday, September 26, 2011

Estimating crowd numbers.

200,000 people right. Completely unexpected that, everyone predicted 50,000. And with so many more people than expected it can't really be anyone's fault that things failed right?

Several months ago, December I think, my attention was called to the work of one Tony Cooper, a man with a pretty damn good pedigree in stats and a vested interest in producing accurate numbers. I recall thinking that 300,000 people attending the Santa Parade, the number being bandied about was quite impressive. Then along comes Mr Cooper, does a little bit of applied maths and wh'hey - actually you'd only fit about 30,000 people in there. He's at it again, looking at the RWC crowds. his best estimate for opening night down on the viaduct - 70,000 max. Iiiiinnnntersting. If he's right then we have a situation where they got the expected numbers right and things still failed. Even if he's not completely bang on with his estimate, it casts serious doubt on the 200,000 number.

And actually, while I think about it, what sort of organisation allows claiming that it 300,000 people can get into and out of town with little or no problems for a Santa parade yet can't handle 200,000 rugby fans with 4 years of planning?

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