Public Transport Planning for the Greatest Event - the 2004 Olympic Games

Public Transport Planning for the Greatest Event - the 2004 Olympic Games


F Coutroubas, G Karabalasis, Y Voukas, Organising Committee for the Olympic Games ATHENS 2004, GR



The aim of this report is to illustrate, briefly, the Olympic Games Transport Task, to describe the Olympic Transport System?s basic elements and specifically the Public Transport project to be developed for the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Transport Plan, which has been developed by the Transport Division of the ATHENS 2004 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (ATHENS 2004) encompasses three planning phases, namely the Strategic Plan, the Integrated Operational Plan for Traffic and Transit Management and the Event Management Plans of the Public Sectors Transport Operators. The Olympic Transport Strategic Plan has set up the objectives, the basic strategic directions that will support the delivery of satisfactory transport services during the Games. The Integrated Operational Plan has determined the necessary actions for the efficient management of the Traffic and Transit Transportation system, their total acceptance and their timing by all involved and /or responsible Key Public Sector Agencies. The Event Management Plans of the Public Sector Transport Operators will finally designate in detail all the key tasks in Games-time operation.

The Olympic Games of 2004 will be held at 36 competition venues in the Attica region and 4 cities outside Attica. It is expected that a total of 5.4 million tickets will be issued and that some 200,000 accredited members of the wider Olympic Family will participate in the Games (athletes, VIPs, media, sponsors, staff, volunteers). The result will be the greatest continuous demand for transport services in the history of Athens. ATHENS 2004 Transport Division has undertaken the responsibility to deliver all required transport-related services to the Olympic Family, to coordinate the public operators that will provide transport services to the spectators and the workforce, to achieve an efficient management of the Olympic Transport road network, to influence transport demand and develop successful transport-related communications. Since this role will be performed in close collaboration with key Public Sector Agencies, the Transport Division is called upon to provide the required coordination and ensure integration in planning and operations.

Public Transport will be the primary transport mode during the Olympics for ticketed spectators, tourists and the Games time workforce. Operation of public transport services is particularly challenging since Olympic market (12.000.000 passenger trips) needed to be catered for and in addition a great deal of visitor and sightseer travel is expected. The additional demand placed on the public transport system of the Athens metropolitan area is estimated to be 1.000.000 trips over the demand during a regular weekday. This is especially challenging, since rail will serve less than 50% of the spectator load, with the remainder to be served by other modes, such as buses, in a city with an already congested road network. The main strategy deployed for spectator service provision is the use of an Olympic Bus Transport Network, established by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA) and the use of high capacity travel modes such as fixed rail modes (the Metro, the Suburban Rail, and the Light Rail) and together they form the Olympic Spectator Transport System.

A high level of cooperation between OASA and the transport agencies will be required to achieve the coordination and integration of service delivery.

Olympic Bus Network

In order to achieve the most efficient transit management, a detailed re-planning mainly of the flexible bus lines is being carried out, based on data and proposals provided by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA). Such a re-planning includes:

* Olympic express bus lines,
* Enhancement of frequencies of existing bus lines serving Olympic venues,
* 24h operation of specific Olympic express and existing bus lines,

The special Olympic bus network comprises 21 express routes throughout Attica, using the Olympic priority routes/lanes. Services have been designed between:

* Olympic venues and Athens central points or/and areas not directly connected to the metro system
* Olympic venues and rail/metro stations
* Olympic venues and designated car park and ride sites which were remote from these venues

A range of temporary measures will assist the operation of these routes, including clearways and Olympic lanes to help traffic flow smoothly. Olympic lanes will carry Olympic vehicles, emergency vehicles and Olympic spectators buses.

Park and ride services will be provided as part of the public transport network. These services will encourage the use of public transport and reduce private vehicle usage around venues. They will :
* Increase transport coverage to Olympic venues and serve areas not currently well served by public transport
* Enhance public transport services by providing easy access, reduce complexity
* Provide designated areas for workforce parking.

Olympic Rail Services

The Olympic transportation planning procedure takes into consideration the characteristics and the capacity of the developing rail projects; namely of the train services of Metro Line 1, the extensions of Metro Lines 2 and 3, as well as the Suburban Rail and Light Rail (Athens Tram).

Metro Line 1 is the most important mean of mass transportation for the Olympic Games. It connects the two most important Olympic Games poles (Athens Olympic Sports Complex-OAKA, Faliron Coastal Zone Olympic Complex) and during the Games it will carry the largest number of passengers than any other means of mass transportation. Currently the Metro Line 1, carrying more than 350,000 passengers daily, plays an important role in Athens' public transportation system. Its integration into the new Athens Metro system requires improvements both in terms of capacity and level of service.

The following major improvements are planned to increase the line capacity:
* Modernisation of the signalling system aiming to reduce interval between trains from 3.5 to 2.5 minutes. (Increase by 50% in line capacity from 17.000 to 26.000 passengers/hour).
* Lengthening of platforms at all stations to allow accommodation of trains with six coaches instead of the current five.
* Full replacement of the rolling stock by ordering 20 6-coach trains (a total of 120 coaches).

It must be ensured that all the Metro Line 1 improvements are implemented on time. It is particularly important to implement the upgrading of the existing stations and to proceed with the construction of Nerantziotissa Station (2nd metro station to serve OAKA), on the intersection with Attiki Odos motorway and the Suburban Railway.

The new underground Metro system consists of two lines radiating in four directions and serves daily approximately 300.000 passengers. Since November 2000, Line 2 has been extended with an additional 5 kilometres of track and 5 stations and with this extension 100.000 additional passengers are daily served.

By summer 2004 the Athens Metro will be even larger, extending beyond the 'boundaries' of Athens and servicing the broader Attica region. Extensions of Line 2 to the south and Line 3 to the west are currently underway and will be operational in 2004. These extensions, in combination with bus services, will provide a combined alternative access route to the Helliniko Olympic Complex and other venues. The Extension of Line 3 to the northeast connects the Metro network with the Suburban Railway and the Attiki Odos motorway which leads to the new Athens airport. This extension is expected to accommodate 110,000 passengers on a daily basis and to increase significantly the ridership of the Metro system.

The new Athens Light Rail system consists of two lines. The coastal line will connect the two main Olympic Sport Complexes (Faliro Coastal Zone and Helliniko Olympic Complex) and the other line will connect these two Olympic Sport Complexes with Athens city centre. The Light Rail system will complement the Athens Metro network and will substantially extend the fixed rail network. It will also be connected with Metro Lines 1 and 2.

The Suburban Railway will constitute a new system of fixed guideway public transport consisting of a new line along the Attiki Odos motorway. The Suburban Railway will provide an important connection to the "Eleftherios Venizelos" international airport and a reliable connection to those areas outside the city of Athens where a significant number of visitors is expected to be accommodated. It will also be an alternative means of access to a number of important Olympic venues either directly or in combination with special shuttle services.

A high level of cooperation and sharing of systems will be required of all agencies involved in transport and in seeking to communicate information about Olympic transport. Communication mechanisms have been established and will be further developed to ensure regular interaction and improve interagency understanding. Communications can achieve a level of Olympic transport arrangements and it can also encourage the community to be actively involved in the delivery of successful transport. Travel demand management strategies have been developed to encourage targeted groups to modify their travel behaviour and to make appropriate transport decisions that support the delivery of successful transport for the Olympic games.

Transportation is critical to the success of the Olympic Games. The daily transfer of thousands of athletes, journalists, spectators and members of the Olympic Family is a complex challenge and it will in large determine the success of the Games. ATHENS 2004 is facing this challenge carefully and methodically by working closely with the Greek Government to develop and implement a transportation strategy able to meet the challenge of the Olympic Games and leave lasting legacy to the people of Greece and the world.


Association for European Transport