LONDON — July 16, 2012 — The M4 Games Lane came into effect this morning to assist the arrival of the Games Family -the athletes, officials and the world’s media -into Heathrow this week. While rumours of 32 miles of queues circulated, INRIX the leading international provider of traffic information and driver services confirmed delays of just eight minutes.
“There were delays between 7:30 and 8am on the M4 where the old bus lane used to be, but they were short-lived,” says INRIX traffic analyst Andrea Day. “It’s likely there was a minor incident, maybe a break down or just traffic going from three lanes to two that caused the queue. There was a separate accident on the M4 around J13, some 40 miles away, before 7:30am which caused about 15 minutes of delays, but the incidents were completely unrelated.”
There were however delays over the Chiswick Bridge into town this morning as traffic lights at Kew Bridge were out from shortly before 8am until before 1pm. INRIX confirmed delays at 10am along the South Circular between East Sheen/Upper Richmond Road and the Chiswick Roundabout were approximately 45 minutes.
“Again, these queues were not related to the Games Lane being put in,” said Day. “There’s bound to be some confusion and uncertainty as drivers get used to the Games Lane restrictions, however, morning traffic is coping well.”
Last week the M4 was closed for seven days just three weeks to go before the 2012 Games. According to INRIX, the early introduction of Olympic red-light phasing at a time when traffic was diverting from the M4 closure last week may have contributed to the delays in West London. TFL are currently working to adjust the 1,300 traffic signals along the Olympic Route Network ahead of the Games and INRIX has noticed an increase in traffic congestion.
“We’ve definitely seen busier rush hours, with traffic queuing further for longer,” added Day. “Last week delays on the A2 past Blackheath and Greenwich Park, and the A3 through Roehampton increased by up to 45 minutes. Traffic on the A13 into London was especially slow on Friday morning, and there were abnormal queues on the North Circular Road on Saturday for eastbound traffic near the Wembley IKEA.”
London is already the eighth most congested city in Europe according to INRIX and with up to one million additional visitors expected in the capital every day during the Games, traffic congestion will be greater. More than 6.2 million passengers passed through Heathrow Airport last month and with the Games Family starting to arrive into the Capital, the London Transport network will see more pressure as an additional three million journeys, over and above the regular 12 million journeys, are expected to be made every day. Since the beginning of June, there have been 73 Underground and Docklands Light Railway temporary station closures.
“With overcrowding already one of the reasons for some of these closures, there is risk of further closures as we head closer to the Games,” said Day.
Other reasons for station closures include fire alerts, signal failure and even flooding to some above ground stations.
The wet weather conditions are an area of concern for some events. The biggest event that will take place out of the capital will be the Sailing events in Portland and Weymouth.
Poor weather has flooded areas around the park and ride site. The A35 remains restricted by temporary traffic lights after being closed by the Monkeys Jump Roundabout for six days until the weekend. If it rains again, there is high risk the already saturated ground will flood.
From 20th – 24th July there will be further restrictions on London’s roads with banned turns and removed pedestrian crossings and parking spaces. The full Games Lanes restrictions come into force on 25th July. The Olympic Torch will also visit all 33 of London boroughs from Saturday 21st July until the Opening Ceremony on the 27th July, which will attract large crowds of nearly 100,000 ticket holders. Tens of thousands of visitors are also anticipated at the live sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park.
About INRIX Media
INRIX® is the largest global traffic intelligence platform in the world, delivering smart data and analytics to solve transportation issues worldwide. In addition to providing information and insight that powers applications in the car, online and on mobile devices, INRIX provides real time traffic and travel news to Local, Regional and National TV and Radio broadcasters as well as government transportation agencies worldwide. In the U.K., INRIX delivers more than 15,000 traffic and travel reports on radio and TV every week from six Traffic Intelligence Centres across the UK (Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London).
Media can learn more about INRIX and how the company’s traffic information can support their daily traffic reports with unique insight into traffic conditions, patterns and trends at www.inrixmedia.com.