Friday, September 7, 2012

Active transport at the Olympics

The London Olympics was used to encourage people to walk and cycle, not just to access the Games, but also for regular trips during and after the Games. They had an active travel program as part of a broader sustainability strategy.  Their active travel web site gives information on the investments, the network and a journey planner. Here are two great posters that were used as part of the travel demand management messaging for the Games.

The outcomes of the active travel program on travel to the Games and throughout London are yet to be published. Graeme Steverson presented at the August 2012 seminar on the active transport experience of the London Olympics.  You can find the presentation here (I cannot seem to upload the presentation at the moment - will try again later).

Although there are no official results as yet of how well the active travel program worked, Graeme made some observations on the ground. Although the use of the official bicycle parking areas for accessing the Games was far lower than provided for, there were a large number of people who used bicycles to get around London and to get to event. The Guardian has an excellent blog post on how visitors experienced cycling in London.

It would appear that a big reason for the low use of the official bicycle parking areas was that they were far from venues. This is not an easy thing to avoid when having to deal with such massive crowds entering and exiting sporting venues as bicycle and pedestrian conflicts greatly reduce the safety and capacity for cycling.

It will be interesting to see how big the role of cycling was in the travel demand management task. Glasgow is also emphasising the importance of using the 2014 Commonwealth Games to leave a legacy of increased physical activity - including active travel.The lessons learned from London and Glasgow will be an important beacon for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. The Gold Coast has much potential for walking and cycling with its flat topography, great weather and network of existing facilities. With some directed investments to address the gaps for walking and cycling, the Gold Coast could shine as an active city.

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