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TfL’s ultimate test during the 2012 Games

Posted: 25 June 2012 | Peter Hendy, CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner | No comments yet

This summer, the world’s spotlight will settle on London with the staging of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the biggest event the capital has ever seen, tens of thousands of the world’s greatest athletes will arrive in one of its finest cities to put their sporting ability to the ultimate test.

As the capital’s transport authority, we know that the 2012 Games will present Transport for London (TfL) with its own ultimate test. Our challenge is to ensure that those competing, watching and working on the Games can move around the city quickly and safely, and that all the daily journeys that have no connection to the event can be completed with minimum disruption. Around 800,000 spectators and 55,000 athletes will be travelling to and from the Olympic venues on the busiest days, along with Games officials, sponsors and members of the media who all need to get to events on time. On the busiest days, we are expecting an additional three million journeys on the public transport network against a backdrop of 12 million journeys which are made on London’s public transport network every working day.

TfL’s detailed planning and testing means we are confident we will meet our twin objectives of helping to deliver a great Games and sporting spectacle for the capital and the country, and keep London and the UK moving. We do, however, recognise the scale of the task.

This summer, the world’s spotlight will settle on London with the staging of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the biggest event the capital has ever seen, tens of thousands of the world’s greatest athletes will arrive in one of its finest cities to put their sporting ability to the ultimate test.As the capital’s transport authority, we know that the 2012 Games will present Transport for London (TfL) with its own ultimate test. Our challenge is to ensure that those competing, watching and working on the Games can move around the city quickly and safely, and that all the daily journeys that have no connection to the event can be completed with minimum disruption. Around 800,000 spectators and 55,000 athletes will be travelling to and from the Olympic venues on the busiest days, along with Games officials, sponsors and members of the media who all need to get to events on time. On the busiest days, we are expecting an additional three million journeys on the public transport network against a backdrop of 12 million journeys which are made on London’s public transport network every working day.TfL’s detailed planning and testing means we are confident we will meet our twin objectives of helping to deliver a great Games and sporting spectacle for the capital and the country, and keep London and the UK moving. We do, however, recognise the scale of the task.

This summer, the world’s spotlight will settle on London with the staging of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the biggest event the capital has ever seen, tens of thousands of the world’s greatest athletes will arrive in one of its finest cities to put their sporting ability to the ultimate test.

As the capital’s transport authority, we know that the 2012 Games will present Transport for London (TfL) with its own ultimate test. Our challenge is to ensure that those competing, watching and working on the Games can move around the city quickly and safely, and that all the daily journeys that have no connection to the event can be completed with minimum disruption. Around 800,000 spectators and 55,000 athletes will be travelling to and from the Olympic venues on the busiest days, along with Games officials, sponsors and members of the media who all need to get to events on time. On the busiest days, we are expecting an additional three million journeys on the public transport network against a backdrop of 12 million journeys which are made on London’s public transport network every working day.

TfL’s detailed planning and testing means we are confident we will meet our twin objectives of helping to deliver a great Games and sporting spectacle for the capital and the country, and keep London and the UK moving. We do, however, recognise the scale of the task. London will look, feel and work very differently during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but will need to continue to perform as the economic and cultural powerhouse of the UK and will be very much open for business. The roads and public transport network will inevitably be busier than usual, but numbers of vehicles and passengers will fluctuate day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and from place-toplace as the action moves from one competition venue to another. The whole of central London and many parts of the East End will be transformed into a giant cultural and sporting venue, but many other areas of the capital will operate much as normal.

Around £6.5billion has been invested in upgrading and extending transport links to increase capacity and improve services well ahead of the 2012 Games. This includes more Tube and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) trains, line extensions, and taking passengers from St Pancras to the Olympic Park at Stratford International on the first ever domestic highspeed train in Britain in just seven minutes. This investment is already providing an early legacy of better transport options in London, which will benefit millions of people and support economic development for generations to come.

Alongside the billions of pounds of investment, a range of additional services will be in operation during Games-time to help spectators and those who ‘make the Games happen’ move around the city quickly and efficiently. These include an Olympic and Paralympic Route Network on the roads for athletes and officials to travel between venues and their accommo – dation, and a dedicated national coach and bus network. An online journey planner to help Olympic spectators plan their journeys is already available, and Tube and DLR services will run for an extra hour at night for the duration of the Games. Around 200 extra buses will be operating in London during the Games, and some single-deck buses will be temporarily replaced with double-decks to boost capacity.

Commuters need to be aware that they should make allowances for some disruption to their usual journeys at certain times and in certain locations, particularly if they travel to and from work in central London or Docklands in peak hours. For example, could they stagger their journey times so they avoid the busiest stations at the busiest times? Or maybe they could walk or cycle all or part of their journey if they live relatively close to work, or walk the ‘last mile’ to avoid a busy Tube station? TfL has now published full and final information on when and where the UK’s Tube and rail network will be most affected during the Games and is urging those who live, work or travel in the capital to explore their alternative travel options at www.getaheadofthegames.com.

As well as information on the ‘hotspots’ on the Tube, DLR and London Overground net – works during Games-time, the website also gives a detailed picture of predicted demand at national rail stations including London Bridge, Waterloo and Greenwich. While around two thirds of Tube and DLR stations will be unaffected, the spread of ‘hotspot’ stations across the public transport network means that the DLR, Central and Jubilee lines will be exceptionally busy at certain times throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A huge amount has already been done to ensure that businesses and other organisations have the detailed information they need to enable them to plan ahead and keep on running this summer. Some, for example, will be stocking up on non-perishable materials such as office supplies well in advance of the Games and arranging deliveries outside of peak hours. Others will be providing facilities for staff to work more flexibly. Many will do both, and more. To date, around 500 major London businesses employing more than 600,000 staff have signed up for specific travel advice and have drafted travel plans which they have shared with TfL, and more than 20,500 businesses across London and other affected areas of the UK have attended TfL arranged or supported workshops.

For the past year, TfL has worked very closely with freight operators and their customers in Games transport ‘hotspots’ to ensure they understand the impact that the Games could have on their delivery and servicing activity, and take the necessary steps to ensure that their businesses continue to run smoothly this summer. We have run hundreds of free freight workshops, organised a regular ‘freight forum’ for senior industry representatives, offered tailored advice and support to London’s major wholesale markets and individual retailers in ‘hotspot’ areas and made a wealth of information available at www.tfl.gov.uk/2012freight including road ‘hotspot’ maps for each day of the Games.

Underpinning all of this work has been a focus throughout on encouraging operators and their customers in affected areas to consider the four Rs – Reducing, Re-timing, Re-routing, or where possible, Revising the mode for a particular journey. Clearly, many deliveries and collections will need to continue during Gamestime, not least to keep the capital’s shelves stocked with bread and milk and the beer pumps flowing, but we have been urging the industry to consider whether these journeys could be consolidated, made using alternative routes which avoid the ‘hotspot’ areas, or made out-of-hours when the roads will be less busy.

While the challenges surrounding deliveries during the Games are considerable, the success of the quieter out-of-hours delivery trials TfL has commissioned and the Code of Practice we’ve developed in conjunction with the Freight Transport Association and the Noise Abatement Society demonstrate that out-of-hours deliveries can, and will, play a vital role in ensuring London and the rest of the UK keeps on moving this summer. If the freight industry gets it right, there is also a real opportunity for reducing congestion and improving air quality and road safety in London in the future.

The London 2012 Games will undoubtedly provide TfL and our partners with an unparalleled challenge in keeping London and the UK moving. For a few short weeks this summer the world will be watching as its finest athletes take to the sporting stage while, behind the scenes, organisations like ours work to support and enhance the experience of all those taking part in London 2012. We will need the city – its inhabitants, visitors and businesses – to give journeys made during Games-time a little more thought than usual, but we are confident that we have the plans in place to help deliver a truly memorable Olympic and Paralympic Games that will do our great city proud.

 

About the author

Peter Hendy was appointed Commissioner of Transport for London (TfL) in 2006, having previously served as TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport. He was formerly Deputy Director UK Bus for FirstGroup and previously MD of Centrewest London Buses, managing it in London Transport ownership, leading it through a management and staff buyout with venture capital backing and subsequent expansion. He started his transport career in 1975 as an LT Graduate Trainee. Peter was also Chair of the Commission for Integrated Transport from 2005 until 2010. Peter is 2011/12 President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

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