#2245: Streamstile

The dynamics of crowds always fascinate me. I’m particularly keen on smoothing people flows, as you might streamline or laminarise the movement of a fluid.

Today’s invention attempts to provide a solution to one of the main problems of ticket barriers.


People walk up to existing barriers, stop, insert ticket, wait, receive ticket and plunge through the open gate.

If the barrier dislikes their ticket, the process is further complicated by the need for the person to collect it and reverse into the face of the oncoming masses.

Instead, imagine a barrier of the type shown. A person (dark blue) puts the edge of their ticket in an open slot (with the gate in the closed, turquoise position).

They must walk smoothly forwards as the machine reads their ticket, never letting it go.

Reaching the red location, the barrier decides to move the gate to the open (pink) position or to keep it closed.

In this event, the person still clutching their ticket is directed around a U-turn into a space between queueing passengers (rather than bumping into them). They can then seek assistance from an attendant in the usual way.

This eliminates all the stopping and reversals associated with normal barriers.

Although there would be fewer outlets, the increased speed of egress would more than compensate for this, and thus boost net flowrates of passengers.

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