Olympic Delivery Authority Case Study

Olympic Delivery Authority Case Study

Contract  London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority, UK
Date August 2012
Service Pedestrian tracking using Bluetooth detection
Scale 89 locations over a 6 week period
Project Location: A total of 94 locations across London including the Olympic Park, 9 other Olympic Venues and major transport hubs in the Capital.
Urban Rail Network

The London 2012 Olympic Games took place from 27 July to 12 August and the London 2012 Paralympic Games opened 29 August and closed 9 September. With 10.8million tickets sold over the two Games and the normal high volumes of public transport users in London and across the UK, the transport infrastructure was always going to be a key factor in the success of London 2012.

Transport for London (TfL) and the Olympic Delivery Authority not only had to ensure that the upgrades to the public network were completed in time for London 2012 but also that live data was available as to the performance of the network. The performance of trains buses and other public transport is monitored as part of their normal systems but the challenge was to understand the movement of people through key locations and in particular the live and historical monitoring of crowds inside the Olympic Park and between the various sporting venues and their transport hubs. This was critical to ensure the health and safety of visitors but also to continually improve the experience of people as they moved between venues. Neither TfL nor the ODA had the technology or experience to undertake live tracking of crowds of the magnitude envisaged.

The Traffic and Data Services Division of Tracsis (as Sky High Technology at the time of the project), provided the Olympic Park crowd management team, central Transport Analytics team and Last Mile teams for other venues, live and historic data on spectator movement patterns into and within the Olympic Park and between feeder rail and Underground stations and the majority of London 2012 venues. To deliver this, a network of 94 Bluetooth sensors was supplied, installed and maintained for the duration of the Games by Traffic and Data Services together with a web-based database to provide data processing, analysis and reporting capabilities to client teams.

The fieldwork was backed by a team of experts from the Traffic and Data Services Division of Tracsis (as Sky High Technology at the time of the project) in the areas of survey design, planning, authorisation, software design, data processing and reporting. Raw data from the Bluetooth sensors was sense checked twice daily during the survey in terms of the volumes of devices detected by time of day and day of week. Post-survey Bluetooth data was cleaned and validated using a variety of techniques to remove duplicate detections, for example, algorithms were used to correct for bias due to multiple devices in a vehicle. Over 32 million raw items of data were recorded resulting in 13 million valid site-to-site journey observations and 1.8 million unique routes observed; an incredible volume of data. A facility to import control count data was created and options to Furness the sample origin-destination matrices to these were made available.

For the four weeks of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, data was uploaded from the 94 Bluetooth monitoring sites every five minutes and processed to produce near real-time analysis. Millions of detections were recorded and processed over the duration of the project. For example, 20,000 unique devices were detected at the Olympic Park alone each day. This near real time data allowed planning and tactical decisions to be made by the event and transport management teams with a greater degree of confidence than was previously possible. Data was used to validate the predictions of crowd movement that the analysis teams had produced. We worked closely with the end users to ensure outputs met their requirements including providing mechanisms for exporting historic datasets and amalgamating sites and time periods.

Traffic and Data Services have undertaken over 700 site installations for over 80 projects throughout the UK and Australia since 2011. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was the largest test of our technology to date and the client was impressed by the improvement in quality information it provided for them. We are now continuing to roll out our major survey capability and refining the methodologies and technologies to improve the quality of data even further and have undertaken similar monitoring projects at other major sporting and cultural events with excellent results.

This is just one project from case studies in transport surveys and data capture sector carried out by leading international provider, Traffic and Data Services Division of Tracsis.