Mobility Management for Events
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Dear reader,

The summer season is typically a period filled with festivals and musical events. Managing thousands of people going to the same location within the same time period, is a real challenge for event organisers, public transport operators and local authorities. However, improving accessibility by sustainable transport modes is worth the effort: it allows more people to visit the event, avoids large traffic jams, offers more comfort for all visitors and contributes to a greener image of the event (e.g. Velo-city 2013 is a Green Event).

This e-update focuses on mobility management for large and small events, like festivals, sport events, concerts or exhibitions. We take a look at the STADIUM project, which has developed an ITS planning tool for large events, and highlight some good examples of MM measures applied at all kinds of events throughout Europe.


Transport to the STADIUM

Source: STADIUM project

The FP7 project STADIUM (Smart Transport Applications Designed for large events with Impacts on Urban Mobility) recently finished. It aimed to improve the performance of transport services and systems for large events in big cities. Three large events: the South African World Cup (2010), the India Commonwealth Games (2010) and the London Olympics (2012) were used as demonstration events for Intelligent Transport System (ITS) applications. In South Africa, a demand responsive transport service was installed in 19 minibus taxis. This was combined with a call and booking centre allowing a smoother transport of people arriving at the airport to the world cup venues (read more). In India ITS applications allowed real-time monitoring of public transport services as well as multimodal passenger information before and during trips (read more). Transport during the London Olympics went very smoothly partly thanks to the additional smart STADIUM cameras and smart video analytics automatically notifying about congestion. If you have not seen the video Keeping London Moving 24/7 yet, take a quick look.

The main output of the STADIUM project was an Interactive ITS Handbook for Planning Large Events. The STADIUM handbook consists of two parts. The first part offers information on large events and ITS applications dealing with collective and alternative transport, demand management, integrated payment, integrated platforms, traffic management and traveller information services. The second part is an ITS Decision Support Tool helping you to select and implement the most efficient ITS solutions, from more than 30 ITS applications, for your large event.


Information measures

Last mile regulator, source: Wikimedia Commons, by Dave Catchpole

Information measures are driven by demand from the visitor, providing him/her with the necessary information needed to travel to the event in a sustainable manner. This MM measure can be very basic, like providing basic multi-modal travel information on the backside of the ticket or on the event website (e.g. ECOMM 2013), or it can be more extensive.

  • The travel information website of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games for instance offered a spectator journey planner that allowed more that 2.5 million people to plan their travel, get real time travel information and check their travel options. The website also provided information and tips for group travel, accessible travel and even offered the opportunity to book free guided walks to the Games. The journey planner was also available on mobile and as part of the London 2012 App. Recently, it received the Forward Thinking Award for excellence in Intelligent Transport Systems. Read more on the Travel Demand Management Programme of London 2012, not only targeting visitors but also regular travellers and businesses (see also this Bursary Paper for the UK Transport Planning Society).

  • Ancienne Belgique, a concert venue in the centre of Brussels provides multi-modal travel information on its website, including journey planner widgets and information on the bike sharing system Villo!, and it displays real-time public transport information on a big screen in their lobby. To allow as many people as possible to travel by public transport, most concerts end at 10.30 PM.

  • Social media were used to inform visitors of Ghent Light Festival. The mobility department cooperated with the police department to provide traffic information by Twitter and Facebook. This allowed car drivers to choose the best Park & Ride facility depending upon local traffic conditions (read more).


Public transport as a logical choice

Source: Wikimedia commons, by Editor5807

Enhancing the service

Transport in group is a logical choice when many people have to go to the same place at the same time. That is why many event organisers cooperate with local public transport companies to enhance the public transport services or to provide special shuttle busses to their event location. Some examples:

  • The 13th World Gymnaestrada took place in the Austrian city Dornbirn in July 2007. This event was a car-free event, providing absolutely no car parking. In order to be able to transport 50.000 till 250.000 passengers a day, trains and busses ran with extended service hours, double-decker trains were used and all city buses in the area were called in to provide shuttle services to the train stations. The enhanced transport system capacity allowed transporting all passengers within two hours. Bus drivers even attended English courses in order to be able to assist foreign visitors (read more on page 12 and 13).

  • During the Euro 2012 UEFA in Poland, a fully electric-powered bus brought football fans to one of the venues of the finals. A new right of way bus line smoothened access from the airport to the city of Warsaw and to the stadium by public transport.

  • Since providing extra public transport is an expensive MM measure, the organisers of the Musiques en stock festival in Cluses (F), first held a survey to find out where the visitors of their festival originated from and how they came to the festival. Half of the visitors came from Cluses or its neighbouring cities and 78% of them came by car. To stimulate these people to come in a more sustainable way, six shuttle buses from the neighbouring cities were installed one year later and, indeed, heavily used (read more).

  • If providing a special bus service is too expensive, you can always try to motivate organisations or local authorities to organise a bus service themselves. The Mano Mundo festival (in Dutch) in Belgium rewards such initiatives by allowing these busses to stop right in front of the entrance, by offering a special DVD that already brings visitors in the mood during their bus trip and by providing some small prices to raffle among the passengers.


Promotion of public transport


Integrated ticketing is an ideal way to promote public transport to visitors. If the event ticket includes public transport, visitors will at least consider the option of travelling by this mode. There are numerous examples of this MM measure (e.g. Rock Werchter, FIFA Women's World Cup 2011). If free public transport is not an option, it might be a good idea to arrange discount prices. For instance, the visitors of the Sziget Music Festival, which takes place on an island near Budapest (H), are stimulated to buy the Sziget-Budapest citypass. This citypass allows free access to the tram, bus, metro, shuttle bus and Sziget boat and offers at the same time other benefits (e.g. free access to spa and beach, discounts on museum tickets, ...) for a reasonable price (9 euro for 2 days, 29 euro for 13 days).

A very innovative way of promoting public transport to events was realised in Madrid (S). There, the artists of Cirque du Soleil, having a performance in the city, recorded an advertising campaign to encourage everybody to use public transport. Cirque du Soleil also acquired PT tickets for all of their 160 artists so that they could use the metro and bus network in the city as well (read the press release).


Let's go together

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Some visitors will come by car; it is impossible to avoid that. To facilitate carpooling to your event, it is possible to add a carpool widget on your event website (e.g., applied it to the Rototom Sunsplash event in Spain). You also might offer some incentives to people that carpool. For instance,, a website organising carpooling to big events throughout Belgium, offers the 10 first drivers, registered to carpool with at least 2 passengers to a concert in Forest National, free parking space and a ride with a shuttle to the concert venue (read more). Smartphones and the many carpooling apps also make it easier for visitors to find the perfect ride, sometimes even on a last-minute basis (see E-update on IT and gamification).


Need for an integrated approach


Implementing individual MM measures to cope with the traffic flow generated by events is useful but these measures are ideally part of a more holistic approach. A travel or mobility plan tailored to the needs of the event and comprising a whole package of MM measures offers the best results. Governments can play an important role in pushing event organisers to create such a mobility plan.

  • In the Brussels Capital Region (B), event organisers are obliged by law to create a travel plan for events with more than 3000 visitors. Soon the requirement will be mandatory for events from 1000 visitors also. Leefmilieu Brussel (in French and Dutch), the Brussels Administration on Environment and Energy, assists event organisers with advice on this matter and offers on its website plenty of information on how to improve the sustainable accessibility of events.

  • Klima:aktiv Mobil, the Austrian Action Programme for Mobility Management, has a tailor-made consulting programme to support all kinds of leisure mobility, including mobility within the context of events. Recently, they supported the Global 2000 Tomorrow Festival (30/05-2/06/2013). This Green Festival offers a lot of attractive alternative mobility options such as a carpool tool on the homepage, festival tickets that can be used for public transport and Bike to festival. The latter is a group cycle tour of 50 km to the festival site with a free picnic, opportunity to swim, luggage transport by load bikes and music accompaniment. Cyclists arriving on the first day, also received discounted festival tickets.

  • The city of Ghent (B) has developed the website (see also Eltis case study to assist event organisers setting up a sustainable event. The major part of the information pertains to sustainable mobility, helping event organisers creating a mobility plan.


Choose your location well

KA Sunset Dock Ideally, the decision on where to host an event or built a stadium or any other event location, is guided by considerations on how easy the event can be reached by sustainable modes. In practice often other interests are more important. Starting at a new location should be seized as a good opportunity to promote sustainable transport to the location. This is for instance done by football club KAA Gent (B). At their new website they promote cycling, public transport/shuttle busses and carpooling, in that order (take a look at the pictograms on their website), with innovative measures:
  • There are free guarded and covered parking places for 800 bicycles within 100 metres from the entrance of the stadium and 2000 extra parking spots will be created within 500 metres from the entrance soon.

  • Public transport is free when you arrive 2h30 before the start of the game and leave 1 hour or more after the game. The website offers a journey planner widget of the public transport company with the destination already filled in.

  • Thanks to a collaboration with local businesses in the neighbourhood, there are 1000 car parking spots for people with season tickets, provided they come in a company of 4.

Need more inspiration?

KA Sunset Dock

Source: Wikimedia Commons



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