London – July 23, 2012 — The Games Lanes will take 30 miles of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and are designed to prevent the confusion that led to athletes arriving late to events during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. While the installation of the Games Lanes along the M4 and A30 Egham Bypass haven’t caused notable delays, leading providers of traffic information and driver services INRIX has noticed less congestion in Central London but more on routes outside the ORN.
“We’ve definitely seen busier rush hours, with traffic queuing further for longer, especially on the A13 through Poplar and the A11 between Mile End and Bow,” said INRIX Traffic Analyst Cat Kobylinski. “We believe TFL have been readjusting traffic lights within the ORN resulting in congestion on the roads outside the Games route.”
Since the adjustments to the traffic lights have started, INRIX observed a broken down lorry on the southbound Blackwall Tunnel during an afternoon rush hour stating that this incident would usually cause long delays on the A12. In this instance, there were just 6 minutes.
“From our real-time data, we could see how traffic was being held back on the A11 in Mile End and the A13 around Barking, to keep the Games Lanes route clear,” said Kobylinski.
The full restrictions of the Games Lanes will be enforced on Wednesday 25th July and INRIX believe that congestion is less likely alongside the Games Lanes.
“We predict TFL will continue to manage traffic congestion to avoid Central London so disruption should be expected further out. That said, around the core areas in Central London such as Bloomsbury, Euston Road, Hyde Park Corner and Westminster, the Games Lanes are reducing traffic capacity by one third or a half in some cases. This might be good news for Games traffic en route to venues but it’s bad news for ordinary traffic and commuters.”
Beyond general congestion, there is risk of further disruption and delays to traffic in the event of a crash or road incident. Last year, INRIX noted nine incidents on the roads over July and August that blocked lanes for long periods on the route between Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the Limehouse Link Tunnel. There were similar figures for the Blackwall Tunnel and Victoria Embankment. These routes are all within the ORN and suggestive that just one incident will potentially cause big problems.
TFL will be making further physical changes to the roads through until Wednesday 25th. INRIX believe this could cause confusion for some drivers as some roads will operate differently, with banned turns and suspended pedestrian crossings and parking bays. Many of these works will be on major routes, including the A4 from the Chiswick Roundabout, the North Circular to Wembley and several routes in East London including the Blackwall Tunnel.