(Allen Pitts, John Edleman, 1991)
Southern Methodist University, nationally known and referred to as SMU, has had a resurgence in it's football program since the programs reinstatement in 1989. SMU's football program was given the ``death penalty'' by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1986 which banned SMU's football team from competing for 1 year and playing a limited, away games only, schedule in its second year of probation. SMU officials elected instead to not compete at all in the second year of the ``death penalty'' probation and put its efforts into restructuring its student- athlete code and putting an end to the quasi-professional nature of athletics that were so relevant at SMU. SMU officials decided that in order to give athletics at SMU a more amateurish affect, the first step was to have a football team that played its college football games at a college football stadium. This was the topic of much conversation because SMU hadn't played football on campus since 1947. In 1948 SMU started playing its games in the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park. The increased capacity was the reason for the move. Then in 1978, citing lack of attendance and increased recruiting value by the fact that players would be playing in the same stadium as the Dallas Cowboys, so sentimentally referred to as ``America's Team,'' SMU once again changed their playing venue, this time, to Texas Stadium in Irving. However, even before the NCAA handed down its probation to SMU, SMU's football team had gone downhill in success from its #1 national ranking in 1981 to one of the worst teams in the Southwest Conference.
This decline in the teams success directly correlated to a decline in attendance. The decline was easily explained by those knowledgeable in college athletics; people don't go to watch a losing team play, especially when they can see the game on television for free. This attitude was prevalent not only with the average fan, but also with SMU students who found that getting to Texas Stadium was a problem. A combination of these and other factors led to talk of possibly returning football to the SMU campus even before the NCAA's 1986 action. The return of Mustang Madness to the Hilltop, to which SMU is commonly referred, created logistic questions in the minds of SMU officials. The first being, ``Do we renovate the existing structure, Ownby Stadium, or do we tear it down and build a new stadium? '' There was a lot of thought put into this question as well as conceptual blueprints. However, after checking with the city of University Park on zoning regulations, the only alternative was to renovate Ownby Stadium to meet the standards set by the NCAA regarding capacity of Division 1 stadiums. This lead to discussion between SMU and the NCAA regarding renovation constraints. The first being zoning and the second being cost. After reviewing the situation, the NCAA gave SMU a temporary injunction allowing the stadium to be smaller than standards specified. The standard set by the NCAA is 32,000 seats and they allowed SMU to only have 24,000 seats. This is however a temporary situation and the NCAA has given SMU until the 1994 season to comply with their standards for Division 1 football stadiums.
The second question that SMU officials had to address was ``Where do we park all the cars and how do we get them around campus?''. That question has yet to have been answered to the satisfaction of SMU officials. The procedure drawn up was done by the SMU Department of Public Safety (DPS) with respect to certain guidelines they had set up to deal with other campus activities. That action along with a Senior Design project similar to what we are doing here helped the SMU DPS create an initial routing of traffic to available parking areas on the SMU campus. In the 2 years since the implementation of this system, the SMU DPS has continuously refined their system to maximize the systems efficiency by minimizing the amount of time it takes the average car coming to a football game at SMU to find a parking space. The goal of this project is to assist the SMU DPS by re-simulating the flow of traffic around the general vicinity of the SMU campus and make new suggestions as to where problems may occur and give recommendations on alleviating the problems. The success of this project hinges on our ability to change the assumptions made in the first simulation into supportable facts by using data obtained by the SMU DPS over the past two years.