Research on the effect of COVID-19 measures on throughput in voting stations for the parliamentary election in March 2021.
COVID-19 and the accompanied measures will have a drastic effect on the parliamentary election in March 2021. The safety and health of the visitors and the volunteers must be ensured during the elections. The purpose of this assignment is to study the effect on the throughput time of the voting process, considering the COVID-19 measures. There must also be determined how long voting stations should remain open after opening hours.
To ensure a safe voting process for the visitors, the voting stations are designed in such a way that visitors and volunteers can keep the distance of six feet everywhere. Three different sizes of voting stations are simulated to represent the majority of the voting stations. The effect on the throughput time of the voting process, considering the COVID-19 measures is studied.
Nobleo has simulated the visitor behavior within voting stations. Assumptions are made about the arrival rates, possible delays during voting, during the ID check and during the extra walking time that occurs to maintain 1,5 meter distance.
Within the voting stations, no queues were allowed to arise, meaning that the waiting visitors had to wait outside. This queue is also considered while determining the extra opening times of the voting stations.
- Throughput time in the voting stations does not only depend on the walking distance, but also on the freedom of movement which is limited in smaller sized voting stations. This has shown that relatively larger voting stations have a better flow compared to smaller voting stations
- The smaller voting stations were limited to less voting booths due to the limited free walking space that occurred. This resulted in more freedom of movement but reduced the capacity and throughput of the voting stations, which means fewer visitors per hour that can vote.
- It has turned out that the ID check occurred as the bottleneck in the voting process. For this reason it is recommended to carry out this process step in a parallel way instead of the usual sequential (series) way. An increase of the capacity of 28% is realized using the parallel way.
- The voting process takes longer due to COVID-19 measures, which means that voting stations have to remain open longer to allow all visitors to vote. The extra opening time depends on the size of the voting stations.
- In order to improve the throughput, an advice is given to use two sperate disinfection points, one before the visitors entry and one before the visitor leaves. This prevents congestion when both an incoming and an outgoing visitor want to use it and keep 1,5 meter distance.
“It’s interesting to use simulation techniques for projects related to COVID-19”
Berend Steenhuisen – Logistic Optimization Engineer