Olympics to create London ‘traffic hell’ - report

08:00 18 January 2012

The opening of the Olympic Games and the summer holiday getaway could create “the perfect traffic storm”, a roads’ information company said today.

Londoners will face increased traffic congestion of 33% during the Games, predicted the Inrix company.

Traffic on main routes will slow to just 12mph in late July and early August.

It said the first three days of the Olympics posed the greatest risk of traffic troubles.

But Transport for London (TfL) dismissed Inrix’s findings as “without foundation” and said they were based on “false assumptions” and “incorrect, out of date information”.

Inrix said the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday July 27 clashes with one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the summer when traffic levels are already around 30% above average.

This event is followed in quick succession by the men’s road cycling event, which will “close thousands of roads throughout south-west London and Surrey”.

Inrix said a trial event for the race in August 2011 “resulted in traffic chaos, when journeys of just a few miles took several hours and some drivers were forced to abandon their cars”.

Inrix traffic analyst Greg Hallsworth said: “Traditionally, the weekend of July 27-29 is one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the year.

“Combine this with the Olympic opening ceremony and the road cycling race and we could have the perfect traffic storm.”

He went on: “Nearly 100,000 ticket-holders are expected at the opening ceremony, with tens of thousands of visitors anticipated at the live sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park. Couple this with the thousands of roads closed for the cycling event and the result is huge stress on the UK’s road networks.”

Inrix said journeys with an average travel time of one hour were predicted to take at least 12 additional minutes throughout Greater London for the duration of he Games.

Journeys through routes identified as Games hotspots such as Vauxhall Bridge and the Blackwall Tunnel would take at least 15 minutes longer.

The company also reckoned that in early August the start time for daily congested periods would move forward by as much as 90 minutes, with the morning rush-hour beginning as early as 5.30am and the evening peak as early as 3.30pm.

However, the evening peak could ease by 6pm rather than by 7.30pm as people headed to meeting places to watch events on TV.

Inrix also said that combined with rush-hour traffic, Londoners should also anticipate increased traffic around lunchtime as venues clear and refill between Olympic sessions - adding an anticipated nine minutes to standard lunchtime travel times.

Mr Hallsworth added: “UK holiday routes are busier in July and August but in holiday periods, commuting routes are naturally quieter.

“This will assist the London travel network and planners are also hoping for some additional capacity as commuters change their travel routines.”

Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for surface transport at TfL, said: “TfL has spent the last six years planning for the Games. The traffic flow, vehicle trips, congestion hotspots and journey times data we’ve collected has helped us build an accurate picture of what the impact will be on London’s streets during Games time, which we have already published on our website.

“As a result, we know that 70% of journeys on London’s roads will be unaffected by the Games, and we have been working closely with businesses and the freight industry for the last year to help reduce the number of non-essential journeys made on the remaining 30% of the road network.”

Latest Stories

15:01
The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled

Secret Cinema have cancelled their Back to the Future events until July 31.

Read more
The two parts of the chair were inspired by the curves of an anonymous male model [Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker][Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker]

A London designer has created a unique chair designed to look, feel and smell like human skin.

Read more
Planned engineering works could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Read more

TOP Stories

15:01
The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled

Secret Cinema have cancelled their Back to the Future events until July 31.

The two parts of the chair were inspired by the curves of an anonymous male model [Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker][Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker]

A London designer has created a unique chair designed to look, feel and smell like human skin.

Planned engineering works could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Promotions

Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

The Week subscription offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

London Bloggers

Yesterday, 17:04
London comedians are preparing for Edinburgh (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

During these sultry July afternoons and endless balmy evenings the nervous musings of young comedians in London drift to dreams of triumph on the Edinburgh stage.

Yesterday, 14:31
Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man poduction came to an end on Sunday, July 6

If you’ve been wandering around bereft of purpose, a wet-eyed stare fixed on your blank face, then no doubt you too are as gutted as I am that The Drowned Man has finally come to an end.

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more