- Traffic analysts INRIX explain what events will cause the biggest congestion during the first weekend of the Games.
LONDON, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- London's roads and rail network will face its biggest test from Friday with three days of high profile events. According to leading providers of traffic news and driver services INRIX, the combination of high attendance figures expected at the Opening Ceremony and Live Sites, extensive road closures to accommodate the road cycle races and getaway traffic creates a real challenge for motorists.
"While road changes have been implemented over the last week, road users and commuters are still in the early stages of learning how to cope with increased congestion," said INRIX Traffic Analyst Cat Kobylinski. "Despite the advice to stagger journeys, we believe many will adopt a wait and see approach before adjusting their journey plans."
Late last year, London Transport officials advised some hotspots would require more than a 30% reduction in normal road traffic to avoid severe congestion during the Games. So far, TFL have confirmed a reduction in Central and inner London of less than 14%.
Up to 80,000 people are expected to attend the Opening Ceremony this Friday 27th July at the Olympic Park and tens of thousands more at the Live Sites across the City.
"The majority of people will use public transport between 5pm and 7pm as they make their way to watch the event," said Kobylinski. "At this time of day, with the additional strain of commuters and spectators relying on services, there is high probability of temporary station closures to prevent overcrowding."
While most spectators will use public transport, some heading from further afield may take to the roads for at least part of their journey and be directed to a Park and Ride site. Lakeside Shopping Centre has dedicated almost 14% of its parking spaces for those heading to the Games and there are around 6,000 parking spaces at Ebbsfleet. While there are still spaces available at both sites, tickets need to be pre-purchased.
"These Park and Ride sites are located close to the M25 on either side of the Dartford Crossing," said Kobylinski. "This is already a major pinch point, with Friday traffic regularly traveling at just 10mph on the clockwise carriageway. Tail backs of up to 10 miles and one hour delays are typical and while anticlockwise traffic is lighter with up to 30 minute delays, these could be severe as Olympic-bound will integrate with the usual weekend getaway."
The men's and women's road cycling events on Saturday and Sunday will require vast amounts of major and residential road closures across six London boroughs throughout Central and South West London, and parts of Surrey. Many arterial routes will be among those closed or restricted, some enforced as early as 3am.
The trial race held in August 2011 caused traffic bedlam in South West London, with Kingston and Putney among the most severely congested areas.
According to INRIX, Saturday will attract the biggest crowds particularly areas like Hyde Park, Richmond Park and Fulham Road.
INRIX predict the event outside London likely to attract the most visitors will be the sailing at Weymouth and Portland, in Dorset. Spectators have been confused by conflicting advice for how to get there, with some advising the use of public transport whilst rail bosses suggested visitors should drive instead, due to power supply limitations.
"Despite recent investment in road infrastructure in the area, the main routes into Weymouth, the A354 from Dorchester and the A353 from the East, are expected to be heavily congested." said Kobylinski.
Aside from these events, there are a further 35 taking place across London during the first weekend from 8am to midnight. INRIX expect Canning Town, Custom House, Royal Victoria, Stratford International, West Ham, West Silvertown and St Pancras International to experience the biggest crowds across each day.
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