University of Birmingham (Birmingham 2022)


To provide crowd movement services to support planning activities at the University of Birmingham venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.


Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Transport for West Midlands


Birmingham, UK


Feb 2021 – Sep 2022

The challenge

Movement Strategies was commissioned by the Organising Committee and subsequently by the transport authority to help ensure that the venue and existing transport infrastructure can accommodate high spectator volumes and complexity expected during the Games.

In Birmingham 2022 the hockey and squash events were set to be hosted at the existing sports facilities of a university campus where an efficient use of the space was vital to success.

The nature of the typical hockey sport schedule often means that spectators will be arriving for the next session whilst spectator for the previous sessions are still on-site, placing additional demands on the venue design and operations.

What’s more, the £56 million rail station renovation intended specifically to support the Commonwealth Games was not due to be complete in time and so the huge volume of spectators had to be handled by the limited existing station infrastructure.

Our response

The team began by visiting the site to understand the physical constraints and overlay options.

The study involved assessing the possible zone-ex walking routes to/from the nearby station, providing routing and operational recommendations to accommodate peak cross-over periods and improve crowd conditions. Estimates were provided for the required number of PSA lanes and advise for allocating these to different sports / approach routes for smooth ingress operations.

The team also reviewed the proposed venue overlay plan and recommended key changes to ensure arriving spectators can be comfortably accommodating and kept separate from departing spectators during the changeover period. Where some cross-flows were unavoidable, a contingency crowd management plan was outlined to ensure flow is maintained within target crowd condition levels.

Detailed pedestrian-transport modelling to provide an operational plan at the rail station, informing approach route signage, queuing and station management strategies.

Upon confirmation that a spectator shuttlebus service would be operated to support rail, modelling was done to calculate the minimum number of bus and load zone parameter required and the resulting queuing that will need to be accommodated

The impact

Following the review, the venue overlay plan was significantly revised and the resulting design was able to comfortably accommodate the spectator numbers and manage the complex cross-over period.

As predicted the renovated station was not available in time for the Games, however all passengers were successfully accommodated through the existing station thanks to careful station management, external queuing systems and supporting shuttlebus service.

Not only did the operational plan allow the limited station infrastructure to accommodate the cross-over period with significant levels of boarders and alighters, but accessibility access and public circulation was maintained throughout to minimise disruption on the Queen Elizabeth hospital and university.

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