Guidance on designing for crowds an integrated approach

This guide gives guidelines for designers to avoid crowd accidents and problems.

CIRIA guide 'Guidance on designing for crowds an integrated approach'
CIRIA guide 'Guidance on designing for crowds an integrated approach'

Who wrote this?

lan Rowe and Simon Ancliffe, working with CIRIA's research manager Alan Gilbertson.

Project steering group:

  • Simon Ancliffe, Movement Strategies
  • Sarah Choker, Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Gary Deards, National Association of Disabled Supporters(NADS)
  • Allan Gooch, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)
  • Aqeel Janjua, Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)
  • Phil McKenna, Transport for London (TfL)
  • David Petherick, Department for Culture and Local Government (DCLG)
  • lan Rowe, Ove Arup & Partners
  • Mark Short, Metropolitan Police
  • lan Smith, Football Licensing Authority (FLA)
  • Michael Woods, Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)

Funding came from the Rail Safety and Standards Board, Transport for London and the Core Members of CIRIA.


It was first published in 2008.


To help designers improve buildings for users and minimise the risk of crowd accidents.

Who should read this?

Anyone who is involved in designing buildings or places expected to become crowded.

This guidance is applicable for sports stadia, music venues, arenas, theaters, railway stations, shopping malls, religious venues and any other environment where crowds are expected, including places where crowds gather, such as at hogmanay or for public events such as the return of a victorious team, a state funeral or a royal wedding.


This 48-page guide describes what is considered best practice in design, and it has been written to help professionals enhance user experience and minimise risk of crowd accidents through design. It gives a list of design integration guidelines, tips and questions for clients.

Key messages:

  • Designing for crowds requires an integrated approach. which means designing for operation and not just for compliance with codes
  • This requires input from operators (or technical representatives of the operator if they are not yet appointed), and other key stakeholders (disability groups, user representation groups etc)
  • It also means taking into consideration areas around a venue (including transport systems) and considering the issues in a wide whole-life context
  • All decisions should be people centric

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