Impacts and lessons from the London 2012 Olympic Games travel demand management program - an independent view

Graham Currie, Adam Jones, Janet Woolley

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This paper presents an independent review of the travel demand management (TDM) program for the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, including the official TDM plan and a discussion of the undocumented but highly influential aspects of the "big scare" effect. The games were some of the largest planned in history, with more than 20 million additional trips expected in a city renowned for significant daily travel congestion. The network of Olympic lanes was the largest ever (108 mi); a traffic lane was designated for exclusive use by Olympic vehicles over a large proportion of inner London’s roads. The TDM program was the largest in history and cost £30 million for extensive advertising, travel planning for 611,000 employees, new trip planning web tools, and the transmission of 107 million travel advice e-mails. This program, along with a substantial transit development program, aimed to encourage public transit use and to reduce base load travel so as to increase the capacity for games-related travel. The TDM program warned Londoners to change their travel patterns during the games. This warning, a range of probably unplanned events, and media hysteria before the games acted to enhance the big scare effect of the games on travel. The impact of the games on travel was impressive. About 20 million (more than 30%) additional transit trips resulted. Road travel itself decreased by 10% to 30%. A 26% change in travel by London residents included a 20% reduction in travel and a 13% change in travel (i.e., retiming 6%, rerouting 4%, and remoding 3%). Significantly, media reporting was highly positive during the time that the games took place. Business surveys corroborated these findings: employee attendance decreased by 30%, and a strong preference was shown to reduce and retime commutes. Implications for policy and future research are identified in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTRB 93rd Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers
EditorsRobert E Skinner Jr
Place of PublicationWashington DC USA
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventTransportation Research Board (USA) Annual Meeting 2014 - Washington , United States of America
Duration: 12 Jan 201416 Jan 2014
Conference number: 93rd


ConferenceTransportation Research Board (USA) Annual Meeting 2014
Abbreviated titleTRB 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address

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