The Government wants to deliver a great 2012 Games and keep London and the UK moving at the same time. The capital will be busy but very much ‘open for business’.
We are well prepared. Around £6.5bn has been invested in upgrading and extending transport links to increase capacity and improve services. All the transport infrastructure is complete, in operation and delivering an early legacy well ahead of the Games.
However, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are the largest sporting events in the world, equivalent to hosting 26 simultaneous world championships. Each day will be like having the FA Cup Final, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and the London Marathon all on the same day.
And, alongside the Games, cultural events and celebrations will be taking place across London, offering opportunities for business and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase London and the UK to the world.
This presents a huge logistical challenge – many events will be staged in central London itself in addition to events at the Olympic Park in Stratford – and, at certain times and in certain locations, transport in London and around venues will be affected. On the busiest days, there will be an additional 3 million journeys on London’s transport network
Consequently, people need to plan ahead and consider their travel options. Whether that’s walking and cycling to the office or working in different ways during the Games. Businesses will also need to plan for how and when they and their suppliers make and receive deliveries during the summer of 2012.
Transport for London is already working with organisations across London to provide them with the tools and information they need.
Transport for London has also launched the Get Ahead of the Games campaign to help those who live and work in affected areas, in London and across the UK to plan their travel.
It’s vital for Government to lead by example
As a large organisation with staff in central London, the Government has a key role to play in changing travel during Games time – ensuring that the business of Government can get done while supporting a successful Olympics and reducing the impact on our transport network.
So, across Whitehall, Government departments are making plans to positively change half of their commuting, business travel, deliveries and collections during the Games.
The Department for Transport is leading the way
We’re looking to positively change our travel by 50 per cent at Games time. This is about encouraging staff to reduce the impact of their travel by either: working from home – or offices closer to where they live; re-routing their travel to and from work: changing mode – in other words walking or cycling; and re-timing their working day to avoid the busiest periods.
To make sure our plans are fit for purpose and to maximise our resilience, we ran a test week – Operation StepChange in early February. Departments across Whitehal took part.
Yet we’re also looking beyond the Games.
Like the investment in the transport network, this work will leave a powerful legacy. It will transform the way business and government works so that we make the most of the resources and technologies available to us, become more efficient and effective as a workforce and help to reduce our carbon footprint.
Alongside this, it will help us manage the demand on our transport networks for the longer-term
Ultimately, this means we have to change the way people think about work. And that’s why the Department for Transport is also supporting the business-led Anywhere Working campaign which advocates the benefits of different ways of working to companies and individuals.