Saturday, 7 April 2012

111 days to go

There are 111 days to the Olympic Games in London and from here on things will get really busy as we prepare for the summer - one which really starts with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and runs through until the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in September.

The vital statistics of the Games are ingrained in my brain - 23,000 athletes, 30,000 media, 5000 officials, 203 countries, 100 Heads of State. All here at once. Over 8m tickets have been sold to spectators but there will, if the experience of previous Games' cities is demonstrated, millions of others here in London to be part of the atmosphere, attend many of the cultural events going on, and of course try and see the many Olympic events taking place on our streets and which are open to the public.

Every inch of the areas around the venues and the Olympic Route Network are available on-line. You can see just how the roads will be affected. Also on-line are 'heat maps' showing the levels of traffic we expect on the surface and at stations. And lastly there are journey planners which will guide everyone across London avoiding the most heavily-used places.

We are increasing the levels of our messages to all who live and work in London - how to prepare for getting to and from work, get your deliveries organised, keep your business functioning etc. With such a huge amount of information available it is really possible to plan ahead.

Some subtle changes to the road network is already underway - if you look closely you will see some traffic islands and traffic signals have been swapped so they are of the 'clip in and out' variety. Other works are also taking place.

The media continues to be clumsy with its language and we spend a lot of time correcting them. The Olympic Route Network is 109 miles of fast moving corridors linking the venues with Central London. With one tiny exception it is open to all traffic. The traffic will travel on it like a fast moving current as there will be no stopping, there will be temporary banned turns and a reduction in the number of crossings.

On about a third of the ORN there are lanes for Games Family vehicles only. This is generally where there are two lanes and in most cases it is the offside lane. These lanes will usually be full - that's how many Games Family vehicles there are. When they are not needed, we will switch them off using variable message signs.

The Torch relay comes to London in July and is visiting every Borough. In the last week before the Opening Ceremony it is spiralling into inner London so we expect crowds to increase. My advice therefore is to plan ahead not just for the Games but the previous week as well.

Other good advice from previous Games is to have plenty of help on the street so we are turning down the amount of 'ordinary business' to allow thousands of TfL staff to volunteer to help on a wide-range of duties. A chance to help directly deliver a great Games and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to add a unique reference on their CV.

This is going to be a very exciting summer!



  1. We are all looking forward to a demonstration of how the British rise to the occasion and plan and implement a major series of events successfully. We must be confident that it can be pulled off with the minimum of snags (bound to be a few localised hot spots). But our beloved media will manage to winkle negative stories out the event somehow.

    All power to your elbow, Leon and the team.


    tells me that after the huge hoped-for reduction in traffic caused by the traffic demand management programme, TfL are assuming

    102 cars
    75 buses
    5 light goods vehicles

    pass along the two Olympic Zil lanes on the Marylebone Road at 38 km/hr in the hour beginning 17:00


    164 motorcycles
    121 taxis
    1607 cars
    121 buses
    362 light goods vehicles

    together with a few lorries and an unknown number of pedal cycles try to move together in the four remaining non-Zil lanes at a hoped for 16 km/hr in the same hour.

    I'm not convinced that this planning shows the Zil lane will be full !