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Why do omnimover throughputs vary so much?

Matt N

Strata Poster
Hi guys. I was doing a little looking online yesterday at different omnimover rides on the Dark Ride Database, and I noticed that in spite of being very similar omnimover ride systems, they have vastly different throughputs to one another; to take two of Europa Park’s Mack omnimover systems as an example, Geisterschloss hits 2,050pph, while Abenteuer Atlantis only hits 1,240pph. And then, you have rides like Disney’s Haunted Mansion, which supposedly gets as high as 3,500pph! This confused me given that all of these are very similar omnimover systems… I wouldn’t have thought that they’d vary that much, surely?

So my question to you today is; why is it that omnimovers vary so drastically from one another in terms of throughput, even when built by the same manufacturer? Does anybody know?
 

CanobieFan

Giga Poster
I mean, the length of the ride would have more cars would have more riders on the ride...
The speed of the ride would move more riders through the ride.

At Magic Kingdom you have three attractions that are OM, although four with continuous loading. When it comes to the 3 OM's all run at a different pace and are different lengths as well. Haunted Mansion is definitely longer and slower moving than Little Mermaid. Buzz Lightyear runs at a pretty good pace, but is longer than Mermaid as well
 
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Matt N

Strata Poster
I mean, the length of the ride would have more cars would have more riders on the ride...
The speed of the ride would move more riders through the ride.

At Magic Kingdom you have three attractions that are OM, although four with continuous loading. When it comes to the 3 OM's all run at a different pace and are different lengths as well. Haunted Mansion is definitely longer and slower moving than Little Mermaid. Buzz Lightyear runs at a pretty good pace, but is longer than Mermaid as well
Wouldn’t adding additional length make no difference to the throughput, as the cars would still be moving through at the same rate?

I know a longer ride means that it would be able to take more people, thus increasing capacity, but unless it moves at a different speed, that must surely not make much, if any, difference to the throughput?

Or am I mistaken there?
 

CanobieFan

Giga Poster
I don't know, Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom hauls ass through that show building. It's almost too fast to enjoy some of the shorter scenes. Speed definitely affects the put through.

Shorter length at a higher rate definitely pushes more people through than a longer, slower ride, that has more riders on it
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
I don't know, Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom hauls ass through that show building. It's almost too fast to enjoy some of the shorter scenes. Speed definitely affects the put through.
Ah, so omnimovers vary in speed, thus varying the throughput! That makes sense; I don’t know why I never thought of that…

Thanks for your answers, everyone!
 

JoshC.

Giga Poster
This can all be thought of quite clearly with a little bit of maths...
NB: All of this assumes perfect conditions etc so might not be totally accurate, but will give a good insight.

Some Maths with Letters
L= Length of track
S = Speed of ride
D = Distance between cars
C = Car capacity

These are the 4 main variables you have when designing / building / operating an omnimover style ride.
NB: Distance between cars doesn't mean the physical gaps between cars. I mean the distance between the same point of different cars (eg: the front of car 1 to the front of car 2).

Using these, you can find:

N = Maximum number of cars on the ride = (Length of track) / (Distance between cars) = L/D
T = Time of ride = (Length of track) / (Speed of ride) = L/S

If you calculate the lengths in meters and the speed in meters per second, then the time T you find here is in seconds.
What this means is that in T seconds, you can load every one of the cars exactly once.
So, in T seconds, you can get a maximum of (Number of cars)*(Car capacity) = N*C people loaded onto the ride.

In one hour, there are 3600 seconds.
So, that means all of the cars cycle round the ride on 3600/T occasions per hour.
And the maximum number of people you can get through the ride in one hour is the number of times all the cars cycle through the ride multiplied by the maximum number of people you can get during the time it takes to cycle through all cars exactly once. This is (3600/T)*N*C.

But we know that T = L/S and N = L/D.
So, you get:
Throughput = (3600/(L/S))*(L/D)*C = (3600*S*L*C) / (L*D) = 3600*S*C / D.

An Example with Numbers
I'll use the details of Carnval Festival from DRdb (as I can apply common sense since I've ridden it, and haven't ridden any Disney ones)

So here:
L = 240m
S = 2km/h = 0.55556m/s (exactly 5/9 m/s)
D = ?
C = 2 people per car

Distance between cars isn't stated, but the number of cars is listed as 118. Working backwards, that means there's 240/118 = roughly 2.03m between cars (sounds about right to me).
So, the throughput would be: 3600*(5/9)*2 / (2.03) = 1950 people per hour roughly.

DRdb lists the throughput as 1600pph which sounds more accurate. I expect the reason for that is because the speed listed is the maximum speed (which it won't always run at, and it sounds a bit faster than I expected anyways). That number listed could also be a realistic throughput, rather than a theoretical throughput as calculated here.


Why do Omnimover Throughputs Vary So Much?
So a direct answer to your question Matt (as has already been given by others), the key factors which affect throughput are:
-The speed the cars travel
-The capacity of the cars
-The distance between the cars

So, directly at least, the length of the ride doesn't affect the throughput. However, it certainly has an indirect impact.

If you have a huge space for an omnimover, there are loads of design implications. Do you create a physically longer ride? Do you create a ride which surrounds the cars in bigger set pieces? Do you space the cars more to give a more personal experience? What speed will the ride move at?
The same questions, but almost in reverse, occur if you have a small space. Do you create a physically shorter ride? Do you cram as much into a small space? Do you squeeze the cars in as close together as physically possible? Will the ride move very slowly to maximize ride rime?

But it's not necessarily as straightforward as that even. When rides and attractions are designed, there will be at least some ballpark figure for throughput in mind. It should reflect the expected level of popularity, amount of investment, need of the ride, space available, etc. And usually some of those things are intertwined and not separate identities. So if you have a target throughput in mind, the ride will need to reflect that.

For example, if you want a very high throughput omnimover, you wouldn't want to opt for it to have a short length, because that means it will have a smaller number of cars, and so to achieve the high throughput, you need to have a high speed to compensate, which goes against the point of an omnimover.

So, an alternative answer to your question would be "Throughputs vary so much because that's the way the rides were designed". Which is basically the case for every ride ever too.

tl;dr
The speed at which the ride moves is one of the biggest factors for why throughputs of omnimovers vary so much. But also space available, and the creative design aspects behind the ride play a big role too.
 
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