Planning for the 2012 Olympics: Transport and deliveries

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Olympic games, Summer olympic games

Delivery and collection services that you rely on will need to change during the Olympics
Delivery and collection services that you rely on will need to change during the Olympics
Hospitality businesses will be amongst the most affected by the transport and logistics changes during the Olympics next year. This article includes a simple break-down of what you should be thinking about to ensure business continuity, together with links to key information to keep your business running.

On any given day in London, there are 12 million trips made on public transport. Add in those made by road, foot and bicycles, and you’re looking at 24 million trips across the city’s network. On the busiest days of the Olympics – days seven and eight – an additional three million trips are anticipated across the UK.

This means that despite efforts to plan for more visitors, the demand on the country's transport networks will exceed capacity.

So what should hospitality businesses – which are so reliant on the smooth movement of supplies and customers – be planning in order to ensure their operations don’t grind to a halt in the midst of an overstrained transport network?

Business continuity

“The biggest issue that restaurants, pubs and hotels could face is the missed opportunity,” says Lyndon Bird, technical development director at the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), a membership group for consultants working to ensure continuity in business operations.

“The sheer volume of people who will be around during the Olympics will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for hospitality businesses, but if you fail to deliver on your services then the impact will also be greater at this time than at any other time.”

As well as the movement of supplies, staff and customers, operators must also think about all potential outcomes that might interrupt their business continuity – ranging from a break-down in technology systems to a broken window.

“Contact your service and technology providers in advance and make sure you include them in contingency plans. Review your service level agreements, talk to those suppliers and make sure you keep communication open with them. If you need to pay a premium to guarantee priority service – for example a three-hour call-out rather than a 24-hour call out – then make sure you do it,” says Bird.

More information is available from the Business Continuity Institute here.

Transport restrictions

Around £6.5bn has been invested in upgrading and extending transport links so the 2012 Games can run successfully alongside the day-to-day running of London.

However, TFL still estimates that a reduction of 30 per cent in the number of regular journeys made across the transport network will be necessary during the Games in order to cope with the extra demand.

In addition, the road networks will be severely affected by a large number of traffic restrictions, such as side road closures to general traffic, the suspension of parking and waiting bays or restricted turns – all of which will have a knock-on effect on deliveries to businesses.

Deliveries need to be “reduced significantly”, says TFL. “Deliveries, collections and servicing activity that businesses, customers and residents rely upon will need to change. This includes anything from a lorry through to a white van, courier bike or even the daily post. It also includes any waste collections.”

Deliveries and freight

When setting your strategy for deliveries during the Games, think about how you can:


• Order early and stockpile goods

• Relocate delivery to non-affected space/road

• Delay delivery until after Games

• Do preventative maintenance and servicing of property and equipment ahead of summer 2012


• To a different day or time

• Arrange overnight or out-of-hours deliveries


• Reschedule delivery route to avoid Games areas

Revise delivery mode for the last mile of the journey:

• Can goods be collected on foot from a nearby location instead of van delivery?

A crucial tool for your business to help you plan your transport and logistical needs is the London 2012 Travel Advice for Business website​,​ which will be updated with the latest travel information as it becomes available.

TFL and London 2012 are also providing free tools and workshops​ to help businesses minimise transport disruptions to their operations during the Games.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels interested in using the online tool can visit the Travel Advice for Business​ site and select ‘Make your Plan’.

Businesses interested in signing up for free workshops and one-to-one sessions can e-mail keeponrunning’at’


More information to keep your business running during the Olympics is available at the following links:

More BigHospitality articles on the impact of the Olympic Games for the hospitality sector are available here.

For tips on preparing your hospitality business for the 2012 Games, keep an eye on our Olympics feature​ , which will be updated throughout the month of July 2011.

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