London Olympics faces "perfect traffic storm", report warns

Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:14pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - The opening weekend of the London Olympics in July has all the ingredients to whip up a 'perfect traffic storm', a report analyzing expected summer congestion levels in the capital warned on Wednesday.

The report by real-time traffic information providers INRIX predicted that Londoners faced a 33 percent rise in congestion levels while traffic on core network routes would slow to speeds of around 12 miles per hour.

The opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on Friday July 27 coincides with the end of school terms and start of one of the busiest holiday periods of the British summer.

The men's cycling road race, with Briton Mark Cavendish an early favorite to take the first home gold, follows on the Saturday on public roads through southwest London and into surrounding counties.

"One of the busiest holiday getaway weekends, the Olympic opening ceremony and the men's road cycling race is the perfect traffic storm," said the report's author Greg Hallsworth.

"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.

"This, combined with thousands of closed roads for the men's road cycling event will undeniably create huge stress on the UK's road networks."

INRIX predicted that journeys with an average travel time of an hour would take at least 12 minutes longer throughout Greater London for the duration of the Games. There would be even longer delays through known traffic hotspots.

"People travelling on the Core Games Network should plan for at least 20 minutes more for their journey," it added.   Continued...