Wednesday 25 January 2012

Olympic Traffic Chaos?

As Transport for London continue their intricate plans to keep traffic moving during the Olympic period, dire predictions of Olympic traffic chaos is made by global traffic experts INRIX - the firm which provides vital real-time traffic information to hundreds of sat-nav and mobile phone providers, including car giants, the BBC and Sky News. 
The report says the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday 27th July clashes with one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the summer when traffic levels are already around 30 per cent above average. It is based on its detailed data of current historic traffic flows gathered over many years - including disruption caused by major sporting or cultural events - combined with their prior diary knowledge of Olympic and other events planned this summer. In the 'worst case scenario' the Olympic opening ceremony could be held in 'a half empty stadium' because the other half are stuck in a jam.
The firm's lead scientist and traffic analyst Greg Hallsworth said the weekend of 27th, 28th and 29th July will be worst: 'Traditionally this is one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the year, combine this with the Olympic opening ceremony and the Men's road cycling race and we could have the perfect traffic storm.'
This all comes at a time when Transport providers are working on their plans to move the vast numbers of participants and spectators. Coaches and buses will be provided with transponders to change traffic lights in their favour with resultant delays to other forms of traffic.
Nearly 100,000 ticket-holders are expected at the opening ceremony, with tens of thousands of visitors anticipated at the 'live' sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park. 'Couple this with the thousands of roads closed for the Men's Road Cycling event and the result is huge stress on the UK's road networks ' say INRIX.
By contrast, elite Olympic VIPs will be spared the jams because they have exclusive use of more than 250 miles of the nation's busiest roads. Up to 80,000 officials, sponsors, politicians and athletes - dubbed 'the Games Family' - will be whisked seamlessly down specially reserved congestion-free lanes, putting further pressure on surrounding roads. Drivers straying into the Olympic Lanes face crippling fixed- penalties and, says the AA, fines up to £5,000 for those who challenge them.
Transport for London today criticised the report saying it had been written 'without foundation' was 'wholly inaccurate' and based on out-of date data.
Meanwhile all businesses are being encouraged to review their logistics operations, including the impact of delivery curfews. Liaison is ongoing with local authorities on curfews and out-of-hours deliveries to ensure businesses do not run out of supplies. Storage containers are to be used as temporary stockrooms by shopping centres and space is being allocated according to the needs of each tenant and plans have been drawn up to keep ATM's topped up with cash.