Press Conference – Government Briefing: Security and Transport, 24 July 2012
Press conference discussing transport and security during the Games. Panelists: Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt – Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and the Olympics James Brokenshire MP – Minister for Crime & Security, Home Office Chris Allison – Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Peter Hendy – Commissioner, Transport for London.
Transport upgrades and improvements
There has been around £6.5 billion worth of public investment in transport infrastructure in the run up to London 2012, with more than £475 million invested by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on projects specifically related to the Games.
Key upgrades include:
- Docklands Light Railway: A 50 per cent increase in capacity, with 2.6km extension under the river to Woolwich Arsenal, a new branch to Stratford International and 3 brand new stations at Abbey Road, Star Lane and Stratford High Street. Platform extensions to run longer trains, new rolling stock and a new junction at Tower Gateway – one of the busiest parts of the network – will increase capacity and improve reliability on the UK’s first fully accessible railway.
- Tube: A 33 per cent capacity increase on the Jubilee Line, with signalling upgrade now complete and additional trains at peak times. There will also be extra capacity on the Central Line, and new trains on the Victoria Line.
- Rail: The £125 million upgrade of Stratford Regional Station – the key gateway to the Olympic Park – has trebled capacity, with new lifts, bigger platforms and a new mezzanine entrance. Stratford International, which opened in 2009, now has a new entrance and exit, with a bridge connecting to Westfield Shopping Centre. There have been refurbishments and extensions to London Overground services, upgrades to national rail services on Lea Valley and Great Eastern lines, and a major upgrade of Kings Cross St Pancras station. During the Games, the high-speed Javelin service will shuttle people between Stratford and St Pancras in just seven minutes.
- Accessibility: As part of a wide-ranging legacy for disabled people, the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme is improving accessibility at 60 Olympic-related national rail network stations. By the start of the Games, 65 London Underground stations will provide step-free access between the street and the platform. This includes major projects to install lifts at Southfields and Green Park – both of which are key stations for travelling to Games venues.
- Other: £10 million has been invested in better walking and cycling routes serving the Olympic Park and other venues, along with improvements to river piers and upgraded traffic signals and junctions on the Olympic Route Network.
The Olympic and Paralympic Route Network
Since the transport problems experienced at Atlanta in 1996, the Olympic and Paralympic Route Network (ORN / PRN) has quickly become a standard feature supporting the Games. It provides a network of roads providing the best routes between venues, ensuring athletes, officials and other Games Family members can get to events on time.
Key facts about the ORN / PRN for London 2012:
- Size: The ORN covers 109 miles of London roads, with a further 170 miles outside the capital – the PRN will be smaller. Measures in place will include banned turns, suspended parking and intelligent traffic light controls. The vast majority of the network will remain open to the general public.
- Games Lanes: About 35 miles of the ORN in London will include temporary Games Lanes specially designated for athletes and Games Family vehicles. These Games Lanes represent only a small proportion of the ORN / PRN – normally where there is more than one lane so other lanes can remain open to the public. Only 0.3 per cent of London’s roads have Games-specific lanes.
- Access for cyclists: Cyclists can use the ORN, but may not be able to use Games Lanes as they are offside (away from kerb). Arrangements will be made to allow cyclists to travel in most nearside Games Lanes.
- Temporary sections: Some stretches of the ORN will be removed when no longer needed – e.g. the section serving Wimbledon will be removed after tennis finishes on 5 August.
Travel Demand Management
As part of the preparations for London 2012, Transport for London is seeking to reduce ‘background’ (everyday) demand on transport services to help the networks cope with the additional demand.
This includes a major drive to get businesses to adapt working practices to avoid hot spots and busy times, as well as a public information campaign to encourage people to reduce, re-route, re-mode or re-time their journeys.
Public information includes:
- A poster campaign running across the capital;
- A dedicated website, www.getaheadofthegames.com, giving detail on the times and locations of anticipated transport hotspots; and
- A London 2012 journey planner for spectators.
During the Games, there will also be live travel information for spectators and Londoners to help them avoid congestion.
Arrivals and Departures
The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) is ready to cope with busy periods during the Olympic period, and is working closely with airport operator BAA and other port operators to model arrival processing times during the Games. Plans will be updated as airlines begin to confirm passenger numbers and arrival times.
Key measures include:
- The Border Force will ensure that all immigration desks at Heathrow and key ports and airports in the south east are staffed appropriately during peak arrival periods;
- Dedicated arrival lanes are planned for the athletes and Games Family arriving at Heathrow;
- Additional trained staff will be available to provide extra help where necessary, and there will be additional customer service training for Border Force staff ahead the Games;