Queues in Service Systems: Some Unusual Applications
- 1.7k Downloads
Queues can exist in unusual places, often very different from the traditional standing line of customers. Here, we visit some of these less obvious queues, some fun and some quite serious, with the intent to open our eyes to the fact that at any given time, each of us is waiting in multiple queues. Our tour of queues includes: (1) the Hypercube Queue model for emergency services such as ambulance and police services; (2) queues of PhDs waiting as postdoctoral fellows, hoping to obtain a tenure-track faculty position; (3) a university’s faculty as a large queue, where “service” is leaving the academic ranks; (4) queues of moving cars trying to find inexpensive on-street parking in cities; (5) queues of homeowners waiting for the restoration of electrical service following a Nor’easter; (6) queues of individuals awaiting human organ transplants; (7) human behavior in queues, often with culturally dependent rules for behavior; and (8) smart phone apps for managing or avoiding queues.
KeywordsQueues Waiting Emergency response Post-docs Queue psychology Queue culture
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Grant 2U01GM094141-05) supported some of the work described herein. The grant, “A Model-Based Examination of Behavioral and Social Science Workforce: Improving Health Outcomes,” was awarded to the Ohio State University, MIT, and Virginia Tech. The discussion and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health, the Ohio State University, MIT, or Virginia Tech. The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) of MIT supported the efforts of the first four coauthors; for that support, we are most grateful.
- Larson, R.C. & Odoni, A. (1981). Urban Operations Research. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- In Memoriam–Samuel J. Raff. (2011, April). INFORMS News, 38(2). https://www.informs.org/ORMS-Today/Public-Articles/April-Volume-38-Number-2/INFORMS-News-In-Memoriam-Samuel-J.-Raff.
- Andalib, M.A., Ghaffarzadegan N., Larson, R.C. (2018). The Postdoc Queue: A Labour Force in Waiting. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 2018. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/sres.2510.
- Survey of Doctorate Recipients. (2013). National Center for Engineering Statistics & National Institutes of Health.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.-a). U.S Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation. https://organdonor.gov/about/process/transplant-process.html.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.-b). Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/members/regions.
- Yasinski, E. (2006, February 24). When Donated Organs Go to Waste. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/when-donated-organs-go-to-waste/470838/.
- Resnick, B. (2012, March 23). Living Cadavers: How the Poor Are Tricked Into Selling Their Organs. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/03/living-cadavers-how-the-poor-are-tricked-into-selling-their-organs/254570/.
- Govan, F. (2017, September 15). How Spain became the world leader in organ transplants. https://www.thelocal.es/20170915/how-spain-became-world-leader-at-organ-transplants.
- Interview with Cordelia Zhong. (2018, February 12).Google Scholar
- Katz, K.L., Larson, B.M., Larson, R. C. (1991). Prescription for the waiting-in-line blues: Entertain, enlighten, and engage. MIT Sloan Management Review, 32(2), 44.Google Scholar
- Maister, D. (1985). The psychology of waiting lines. In J.A. Czepiel, M.R. Solomon, C.F. Surprenant (Eds.), The service encounter: Managing employee/customer interaction in service businesses. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington Books.Google Scholar
- Rushin, S. (2007, August 30). The Waiting Game. Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1657807,00.html.
- Ryan, T. (2017, April 12). Starbucks Mobile Ordering Is Working Too Well. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/retailwire/2017/04/12/starbucks-mobile-ordering-is-working-too-well/#1a55ddbbea28.
- QLess. (n.d.). https://www.qless.com/.
- Harris, D.L. (2014, November 24). Haystack, the parking app that was banned in Boston, disappears from app stores. Boston Business Journal. https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/startups/2014/11/haystack-the-parking-app-that-was-banned-in-boston.html.
- Shoup, D. (2007, Spring). Cruising for Parking. Access. University of California, Los Angeles. http://shoup.luskin.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/02/CruisingForParkingAccess.pdf.