The Line of Least Resistance

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Revision as of 20:30, 16 September 2016 by Devon.essick (talk | contribs)
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Project Overview

On a warm Saturday afternoon, Andrew found himself still waiting 30 minutes after his scheduled trip up the iconic St. Louis arch. Reflecting on the experience weeks later with fellow Systems Science and Engineering student Devon, they hypothesized there had to be a more efficient way to run the system by fixing how they manage the masses with their queues.

We aim to analyze the system and devise a method to decrease the waiting time for visitors by observing the current system and simulating both the current system and potential new ones, while keeping in mind restrictions such as cost, limited space in the capsules, and limited space at viewing area at the top. We hope to find a successful method for the Arch and to apply it to other tourist attractions or systems that also include queueing.

Team Members

  • Devon Essick
  • Andrew Sweren
  • Kjartan Brownell (TA)


  • Use direct observation and assistance from Arch officials to obtain information on current queueing systems at peak times
  • Utilize simulation software to model the current system
  • Become proficient in chosen software (MATLAB/SimEvents, Simul8, etc.)
  • Model ways to improve current system based on information
  • Demo: Create a program with a user interface that would allow employees to input real-time data (weather conditions, day of week, number of employees working, etc) and output recommendations for how to be most efficient at that time


  • Collaboration with the officials
  • Getting to the from the Arch
  • Creating realistic models of the system based on data restricted by limited visits
  • Learning simulation software
  • Identifying system issues as an outsider
  • Security, space and safety limitations at Arch
  • Implications of changing current practices (e.g. taking away security might make things faster, but what are the risks involved?)
  • Adapting to changing constraints


  • Trip to the Arch for observation - $26
  • Monitor and peripherals for demo (available from Urbauer 015) - $0

Total: $26

Gantt Chart


Design and Solutions