Transport and traffic has been one of the over-riding concerns around the event, with the 109 mile Olympic Route Network (ORN) putting many roads out of bounds and huge increases in passenger volume on public transport. The opening ceremony on 27 July and the men’s road cycling race, combined with Friday night rush hour and departing holiday traffic have been cited by Inrix as a critical factor for road users. The report also says:
Londoners will face increased traffic congestion of 33% and core routes will slow to just 12mph in late July and early August.
INRIX predicts that in early August the start time for daily congested periods will move forward by as much as 90 minutes, with morning peak traffic hitting at 05:30 from 07:00 and evening peak traffic hitting as early as 15:30, rather than 17:00. However, evening traffic congestion may ease by 18:00 rather than 19:30 as people head to meeting places to watch events on TV.
Not so, say TfL, who claim that Inrix’s data is based on out of date or incorrect information, although the latter quote does support TfL’s suggestion that we go down the pub after work to avoid congestion. TfL Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport Garrett Emmerson said:
“It is unclear how Inrix has reached the conclusion that congestion will increase on the Olympic Route Network during Games time, when the purpose of the ORN is to achieve reliable journey times and improved traffic flow for the athletes, officials and others working to put on the Games.”
TfL also said Inrix had not accounted for the six years of planning for the Olympics, the results of which can be seen on their website in the form of data on projected traffic flow, vehicle trips, congestion hotspots and journey times. Which is all very well, but it remains just that; a projection.
Boris Johnson also disagrees and urges Londoners to remember that only ‘gloomadon poppers’ worry about travel chaos during the games.
See the BBC’s interactive map for more information on the Olympic Route Network and how it will affect your travel.