Founded in February 2012, the London Legacy Development Corporation was created to manage the Olympics and its large “footprint” after the Games take place. This newly formed corporation’s purpose is to:
“To promote and deliver physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in the Olympic Park and surrounding area…by securing high-quality sustainable development and investment, ensuring the long-term success of the facilities and assets within its direct control and supporting and promoting the aim of convergence”
Accountable to the citizens of London through the Mayor, the corporation seeks to leverage public funds through private partnerships. The organization will do so in collaboration with the Olympic boroughs and local communities, among other stakeholders.
London is not the first Olympic host to create a longstanding entity with the intention of positively “managing” the impact of the Games. The LA 84 Foundation promotes youth sports participation and also maintains a sports library.
In Barcelona, a company called “Barcelona Promocio” was established to manage four Olympics venues and sustain the benefits of Olympic sporting structures built for the 1992 Summer Games. In 1994 alone, the company held 346 events for 1,514,328 people and created over 450 jobs.
These organizations were created to ensure that hosting the Olympics will be of long-term benefit to the residents. Cities considering a bid to host the Games should look to strategies as such before starting the bid process.
BID focuses on the bid process and thinks that cities participating in the bid process should be strongly encouraged keep their “eye on the prize” of the potential Games. But, city planners MUST bear in mind the most important aspect…the legacy.
Even before the 2012 Games, London was seen as a city with a premier mass transit system. The Tube and double-decker buses are universally well-known. But even with that reputation, how did the city stand the Olympic test?
According to the BBC’s Richard Westcott, the transportation system preparation process “actually worked” to ultimately move the many athletes, IOC commissioners, and fans to and from Olympics activities and competitions.
Some 6.5 billion pounds ($10,277,150,000) was spent patching up wounds on Tube and train lines and people just went another way. The Tube kept smashing its own record for carrying passengers, with four and a half million journeys on the busiest days. There were also record numbers using the Docklands Light Railway, which was 70% busier than usual.
The Tube may have served the commuters well during the Games. However, one must consider other components of a city’s transportation infrastructure. As for the roads, it was assessed that:
There were some problems, of course. The main roads coming into London were bad because of all the changes to the way the traffic lights were phased.
All in all, though, the Olympics reserved lanes and flow of traffic was quite smooth. We can say that the London Olympics transportation game plan was a victory of sorts. Next up…the Paralympics. Will London’s infrastructure be conducive to those with special needs? We are positive that it will!
Olympic lane signage near the Tower of London
The group was very pleased and proud to present the final report at Royal Holloway University of London’s “Olympics and the isms” conference.
At Royal Holloway’s campus, after a successful presentation.
A full debrief is available at the Heinz College site:
The group’s work builds upon CMU’s recognition as a national center for transportation-related study and explores one of the most high stakes Olympic competitions of all—cities’ bids to host the Olympic Games. The research examined how participation in the Olympic bid process can accelerate transportation infrastructure development, regardless of bid outcome. What did they find? Yes—if plans are strategically aligned with existing transportation needs and supported by strong public and private leadership, the bid process can have a positive impact on transportation development in “failed bid” cities.
We owe a big thank you the Heinz DC program and Carnegie Mellon University’s graduate student programming for helping to fund the trip. Our presentation would not have been possible without the support of the university’s administration.