The good design of circulation spaces will ensure the efficient movement of spectators into the building, enhance the spectator experience, and enable the safe exit from and emergency evacuation of the stadium. This will determine the design and location of gangways both radial, where the gangway is perpendicular to or across the treads of the tier, and lateral, where the gangway is parallel to the treads and vomitories.
The spaces and routes should be designed to provide free movement within the stadium, both safely and intuitively. All designs should comply with local building codes and regulations relating to emergency evacuation. When reviewing local regulations regarding emergency evacuation, the fire strategy should also be developed. All elements in the bowl should be non-flammable, including the seats and all structural elements (see Sub-Section 5.4.2).
When calculating the dimensions for circulation routes, a safe width should be determined using the relevant methodology in the local codes – be it units of width per person or through the use of flow rates, where the width is equated per person per minute. Flow-rate system examples and methodologies can be found in the SGSA’s Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (6th Edition).
A minimum width on all routes should be assessed and is generally set at 1.2m. The minimum head clearance should be set at 2.4m wherever possible – however, for transitional areas such as vomitories, this may be reduced locally. The minimum clearance height should consider all items on circulation routes and concourses such as wayfinding signage and TV screens to help avoid damage and injury. In larger spaces, heights greater than 2.4m may be required to enhance the spectator experience.
All areas within the stadium should be accessible by all spectators regardless of any disability, and provision for this should be made at an early stage in the design.
It may be desirable for different areas of the stadium to be segregated from other areas for operational and/or safety reasons. This should be included in any circulation design to avoid, wherever possible, the ability for spectators from different zones to mix on both ingress and egress. However, careful consideration should be given to the impact of segregation on emergency evacuation to ensure that it does not unduly extend evacuation times.
All routes should be designed to minimise the risk of fire and should be built to local building standards, fire codes and regulations. This work should incorporate, where possible, the use of fire-engineering solutions (see Sub-Section 5.4.1).
The circulation systems within a stadium fall into two prime categories: vertical circulation routes and horizontal circulation routes.