Skip to content


Circulation routes provide the means for people to move in, our and around a sports ground.

Circulation routes provide the means for all people present on an event day to move in and out, and around the ground, under both normal and emergency conditions.

As a necessary function of a sports ground, circulation routes must be planned and managed to be safe and secure.

Safe and secure circulation is achieved by:

  • physical means  – primarily good design and construction, supplemented by clear signposting, lighting, surface indicators and the placement of appropriate barriers, bollards and railings.
  • human resources – good stewarding, supplemented by clear communications and good housekeeping
  • technological aids – such as closed circuit television, public address systems and the use of crowd simulation modelling .

In addition to their safety, security and service, the comfort and enjoyment of spectators during an event will be influenced by their experience of passing through circulation routes, and of accessing any of the amenities located along them.

Consideration should also be given to the arrival and departure patterns of spectators, and the impact that external constraints – beyond the perimeter of the sports ground – might have on their ingress and egress, and on circulation routes in general.

In order to achieve and maintain such levels of comfort and free flow it is essential for designers and management to understand flow rates (also known as rates of passage) and crowd densities.

Learn more
Outside wembley stadium

Zone Ex

Zone Ex is the external zone which lies immediately beyond the outer perimeter of the sports ground.

Learn more
Learn more


A vomitory is an access route between the viewing accommodation and other circulation areas.

Learn more
Learn more

Vertical circulation

Vertical circulation routes include stairways, radial gangways, ramps, lifts and escalators.

Learn more
Learn more


Egress relates to the circulation considerations when spectators exit a sports ground.

Learn more
Learn more
Turnstiles in use


Ingress relates to the safe entry to the sports ground.

Learn more
Learn more


Concourses are a circulation area providing access to and from viewing accommodation.

Learn more

Circulation routes and accessibility

The location of viewing accommodation for disabled spectators around the ground, and particularly on the upper levels of stands, has considerable implications for the safe management of circulation areas, and for the design and management of exit and emergency exit routes.

Wherever possible, and in all cases of new construction, management and designers should take account of BS8300-1: Design of an accessible and inclusive built environment. External environment. Code of practice. This standard provides guidance on suitable stairs, ramps and refuges.

Where, because of constraints posed by existing buildings, it is not possible or practicable to apply the British Standards fully, alternative ways of meeting their objectives should be sought.

Although entry points for wheelchair users may need to be kept separate (see Section 7.8.e), and vertical circulation routes, such as passenger lifts or ramps, should be clearly defined, horizontal circulation routes should be designed so that they can be shared safely by all people.

Where appropriate, corridors and passageways need to be wide enough to allow wheelchair users to manoeuvre and, where necessary, to turn through 180 degrees and to allow other wheelchair users to pass. For further guidance, reference should be made to Accessible Stadia and Supplementary Guidance.

The publication Fire Safety Risk Assessment – Means of Escape for Disabled People, published by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, provides additional information on accessibility and means of escape for disabled people.

Flow rates

Flow rates, and therefore the resultant densities, will vary according to whether people are walking on:

  • level surfaces
  • ramps
  • stepped surfaces moving up
  • stepped surfaces moving down.

Other factors include whether people are:

  • entering the ground
  • exiting the ground, under normal or emergency conditions, or
  • whether they are milling or standing, for example on a concourse or a terrace.

Additional factors affecting flow rates and crowd densities include the prevailing weather conditions (for example, in cold conditions people will wear bulkier clothing), the timing of an event (for example spectators may be more likely to exit hurriedly if the event ends in the late evening), and whether large numbers of children are present.