a collage of eight photos showing a stakeholder meeting, people boarding a bus, a changeable message sign displaying the message race traffic, cars traversing a roadway where barricades delineate travel lanes, a closed-circuit television camera, a crowd of people standing near a train and traversing a pedestrian overpass, two implementation plans, and three traffic management team personnel surrounded around a laptop computer

Managing Travel for Planned Special Events


Slide 1: Title Slide

Managing Travel for Planned Special Events

Speaker Notes:

This project was sponsored by the Transportation Management Center Pooled-Fund Study.

Slide 2: Presentation Overview

  • Definition, What Is It & Why Is It Important?
  • Benefits
  • Event Characteristics & Challenges
  • Regional Planning & Coordination for All Events
  • Event Specific Planning, Coordination & Activities
  • Resources & Tools

Speaker Notes:

This slide indicates the major sections of this presentation.

Slide 3: Definition

A Planned Special Event is a public activity
with a scheduled time, location & duration
that may impact the normal operation of the
surface transportation system due to
increased travel demand &/or reduced capacity
attributed to event staging.

Slide 4: Planned Special Events Examples


  • Sporting events & concerts
  • Fairs & festivals
  • Parades & street races

What Is Not Included:

  • Work zones
  • Severe weather
  • Natural disasters
  • Other emergencies

Speaker Notes:

Planned special events include:

  • Sporting events, concerts, festivals, and conventions occurring at permanent multi-use venues (e.g., arenas, stadiums, race tracks, fair grounds, amphitheaters, convention centers, etc.).
  • Less frequent public events such as parades, fireworks displays, bicycle races, sporting games, motorcycle rallies, seasonal festivals, and milestone celebrations at temporary venues.

Other events outside of the definition of a planned special event include:

  • Roadway construction and maintenance
  • Emergency roadwork
  • Traffic incident
  • Adverse weather
  • Emergency (e.g., severe weather, natural disaster, incident)

Roadway construction activities constrain travel within one corridor only and do not generate trips like planned special events. The other events occur at random and with little or no advance warning, thus contrasting characteristics of planned special events.

Slide 5: Managing Travel for PSEs Involves:

  • Advanced operations planning, stakeholder coordination & partnerships
  • Multi-agency traffic management team:
    • Develops traffic management plan
    • Prepares procedures & protocol
    • Day-of-event traffic control & coordination
  • Raise awareness of general public & event patrons of potential travel impacts
  • Coordinate agency services & resource sharing

Speaker Notes:

Key activities involved in managing travel for planned special events include (see slide).

The advance planning and management of travel for planned special events requires the consistent involvement and coordination of stakeholders within and across every event management phase. Stakeholders may have the opportunity to partner with new stakeholders across travel modes, disciplines, and jurisdictions.

Transportation stakeholders place a priority on minimizing impacts to event patron and non-attendee road users and to transit users as well. Event patrons accept a certain level of delay as part of the overall experience of attending an event, but place a high priority on getting to their destination prior to the event start.

A traffic management plan includes operations strategies for managing event-generated and background traffic within the local and regional area impacted. The plan also specifies techniques to facilitate site access, parking, and pedestrian access. A successful traffic management plan satisfies both the: (1) customer requirements of all transportation system users and (2) allotted budget for personnel and equipment resources assigned to the day-of-event operation.

Slide 6: Goals of Managing Travel for Planned Special Events

Achieving predictability

Ensuring safety

Maximizing efficiency

Meeting public & event patrons expectations

Speaker Notes:

Achieving predictability: 

  • The potential impact a planned special event has on transportation system operations is often difficult to predict and measure.
  • The characteristics of a planned special event may yield unpredictable impacts on travel without proper planning and analysis.
  • Techniques to consider include:
    • Perform a multi-modal travel forecast.
    • Define the area and transportation system components impacted.
    • Conduct analyses of parking demand and traffic demand.
    • Identify and correct roadway capacity deficiencies.

Ensuring safety:

  • Techniques to consider include:
    • Accommodate pedestrians accessing an event via a network of safe walking routes.
    • Minimize pedestrian/vehicular conflicts.
    • Provide unimpeded access routes for emergency services.
    • Prevent congestion-induced secondary incidents.

Maximizing efficiency:

  • With the foreknowledge of a planned special event and the early initiation of planning efforts, practitioners can achieve efficient transportation system operations even with the additional traffic generated at and adjacent to the event venue.
  • Techniques to consider include:
    • Use all available resources and excess transportation system capacity, including road and transit capacity.
    • Enhance transportation system operations.
    • Deploy incident management strategies to respond and clear traffic incidents.

Slide 7: Benefits:

  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Improve mobility
  • Improve travel safety
  • Form partnerships & build trust
  • Promote interagency coordination, resource utilization & sharing
  • Incorporate new procedures, plans & practices into day-to-day operation of agencies

Speaker Notes:

Public agencies can enhance the image of their area by adopting a planned, coordinated, and integrated approach toward managing travel for planned special events that minimizes traffic congestion, sustains transportation system reliability, and exceeds the customer service expectations of all road users. These users include event patrons, commuters, truckers, and emergency service providers.

The proactive and coordinated management of travel for planned special events also yields numerous benefits to transportation stakeholders and transportation system operations.

Slide 8: Benefit Measures:

Transportation system:

  • Travel time & delay (traffic & transit)
  • Arrival & departure service rate
  • Number & location of traffic incidents


  • Economic
  • Emergency vehicle access
  • Public agency costs
  • Travel demand

Speaker Notes:

The identified transportation system measures represent day-of-event performance evaluation data, useful for: (1) making real-time adjustments to the traffic management plan on the day-of-event, (2) conducting a post-event evaluation of transportation system performance, and (3) planning for future event occurrences.

Communities and regions have promoted and supported planned special events to boost tourism and fuel local and state economies. For example, planned special events in Wisconsin are an $11 billion annual industry statewide, creating: (1) over $1 billion generated in state tax revenues and (2) over $70 million generated in Federal and state transportation revenues.

Public agencies recover costs incurred in providing services during the event operations planning phase and resources on the day-of-event through event organizer fees and other funding mechanisms.

Travel demand correlates to parking and access for local residents and businesses. Travel demand can be measured in terms of number of vehicles per attendees.

Slide 9: Event Characteristics & Challenges

Speaker Notes:

This is a transition slide.

Slide 10: Event Impact Factors:

a diagram indicating five planned special event impact factors: travel demand, road/site capacity, event operation, available resources, and external factors

Speaker Notes:

Stakeholders responsible for planning and managing travel for planned special events must gauge the potential severity of a planned special event. Agencies must determine with certainty:

  • If a planned special event will affect or impede the normal flow of traffic and if yes,
  • How much impact will the event have.

Answers to these questions determine the scope of the transportation management plan required to mitigate event-generated impacts on travel in addition to the number of stakeholders that become involved in advance planning and day-of-event travel management activities.

Travel demand refers to the expected number of event patrons and their arrival and departure rates. Modal split has a significant influence on the level of event impact, particularly on traffic operations.

Road/site capacity concerns the available venue access and parking background capacity in addition to the capacity of roadways and transit serving the event venue.

Event operation essentially defines the scope of travel demand, including market area, and may reduce available background capacity because of event staging requirements.

Available resources refer to the quantity of personnel and equipment available to plan for and conduct day-of-event travel management operations.

External factors include concurrent roadway construction activities on roadway corridors serving a venue and prevailing weather conditions on the day-of-event.

Slide 11: Issues & Characteristics:

  • Travel demand magnitude, rate & modal split
  • Background traffic, transit & parking capacity
  • Event market area & staging requirements
  • Available personnel & equipment resources for planning & day-of-event operations
  • Weather, security & other contingencies
  • Other concurrent events

Speaker Notes:

The issues and event characteristics listed on this slide collectively define the level of impact that a planned special event has on travel. These considerations tie into the five factors presented in the previous slide.

When determining the level of impact each of the five stated planned special event factors has on travel, consider each of the following components: (1) duration – temporal impact, (2) extent – spatial impact or scope of area affected, and (3) intensity – volume of impact.

Slide 12: Number of Events Within a Region

  • Los Angeles County, CA
    • 2,000 planned special events each year
  • Milwaukee, WI
    • 450 planned special events each year that influence travel along one downtown segment of I-94

Speaker Notes:

This slide quantifies the number of planned special events occurring within a metropolitan area, thus providing a better understanding of the number of yearly events within a region.

The occurrence of planned events, including road construction and other planned special events, create a range of impacts affecting different traffic management plan components. On a regional level, the characteristics (e.g., increased traffic demand, road/lane closures) of concurrent planned events reduce available capacity in roadway corridors serving a particular planned special event, thus affecting traffic flow patterns. Local impacts include reduced parking supply, in the event of other area planned special events, and restricted traffic circulation.

Highway corridors traversing one jurisdiction can realize a significant increase in background traffic during typical off-peak periods as a result of traffic generated by major events occurring in other jurisdictions.

Slide 13: Stakeholders:

special event stakeholders diagram D

Speaker Notes:

  • Transportation agencies own and operate the transportation system serving a planned special event. Participating agencies may include state DOT, county/local DPW, planning department, and transit agencies.
  • Law enforcement agencies facilitate the safe and efficient flow of traffic during a planned special event through traffic control and enforcement. Participating agencies may include state police, county police/sheriff, and local police.
  • Event organizers initiate the event operations planning phase by notifying stakeholders, either through a written request to public agencies or the submission of an event permit application, and assembling an event planning team. The event organizer continually works to maintain interagency coordination in order to meet milestones in the advance planning process and ultimately gain stakeholder approval of the proposed transportation management plan.
  • Elected officials serve the overall community interest and can establish laws and regulations toward effecting improvements in planning and managing future planned special events.
  • Public safety agencies, including a fire department and emergency medical service, represent event operations stakeholders that advise the event planning team on the provision of emergency access routes to and from the event venue.
  • The media functions to disseminate event pre-trip travel information, in addition to real-time traffic and transit information during the day-of-event.
  • Private industry includes transportation consultants, traffic control contractors, and ITS vendors.
  • Regional organizations interact with both the oversight team and an event planning team regarding major planned special events affecting a regional area. Participating agencies may include a Metropolitan Planning Organization and a Regional Operating Organization.
  • Government agencies, such as a government office on special events or emergency management agencies, are non-transportation agencies that generally serve in an oversight capacity.
  • The public represents individual residents, businesses, and associated community groups that may interact with stakeholders if potentially impacted by a planned special event.

Slide 14: Stakeholder Challenges:

  • Mitigate impacts of event-generated traffic
  • Potential for heavy volume of transit vehicles & pedestrian flows
  • Coordinate travel management activities with event operator & overall planning team
  • Available staff resources & support services
  • Infrastructure lacking at event site to:
    • Accommodate generated traffic
    • Manage traffic
    • Provide support service

Speaker Notes:

Planned special events generate trips, thus impacting overall transportation system operations. This includes freeway operations, arterial and other street operations, transit operations, and pedestrian flow.

Slide 15: Possible Travel Choices:

Transit, Express / Charter Bus

(route selection / parking)

Consideration for Pedestrians & Other Modes

Speaker Notes:

Planned special event travel demand often involves multiple modes. Event patrons traveling by automobile have additional choices regarding route of travel and parking.

Stakeholders have the opportunity to influence event patron travel choices in advance of planned special events.

Slide 16: Planned Special Event Categories:

  • Discrete/recurring event at a permanent venue
  • Continuous event
  • Street use event
  • Regional/multi-venue event
  • Rural event

Speaker Notes:

The characteristics of a discrete/recurring event at a permanent venue include:

Specific starting and predictable ending times, known venue capacity, advance ticket sales, weekday event occurrences

The characteristics of a continuous event include:

  • Occurrence often over multiple days, arrival and departure of event patrons during the event day, capacity of venue not always known, occurrence at temporary venues

The characteristics of a street use event include:

  • Occurrence on a roadway requiring temporary closure, capacity of spectator viewing area not known, spectators not charged or ticketed

The characteristics of a regional/multi-venue event include:

  • Occurrence of events at multiple venues at or near the same time, events having a time specific duration, a continuous duration, or both

The characteristics of a rural event include:

  • Rural or rural/tourist area, limited roadway capacity serving an event venue, area lacking regular transit service

Slide 17: Regional Planning & Coordination

Speaker Notes:

This is a transition slide.

Slide 18: Regional Planning & Coordination:

  • Mechanism for agencies to coordinate activities & work together
  • Focus on continuously improving travel management for all PSEs in region
  • Formal multi-agency program or initiative
  • Champion & provide resources to pursue activities to improve on current practices
  • Multi-year program plan prioritizing initiatives to improve current practices

Speaker Notes:

Regional planning and coordination for planned special events involves activities unrelated to a specific event.

Stakeholders utilize regional planning initiatives to more efficiently and effectively complete event operations planning, implementation activities, day-of-event activities, and post-event activities for individual, future planned special events. In turn, post-event activities (e.g., participant evaluation, stakeholder debriefing meeting, evaluation report) performed for specific special events provide valuable input for on-going regional planning and coordination activities.

A regional planned special events program is an ongoing process designed to address a region’s needs for managing special events. It is not a program put in place to address a specific special event, although a specific event may trigger the formation of such a program.

Slide 19: Regional Planning & Coordination: (con't.)

  • Potential Focus of Regional Initiatives & Activities:
  • Interagency agreements
  • Regional or consistent agency permit process
  • Recommended travel management practices for specific categories of PSEs
  • Technical teams formed to champion & carryout specific initiatives
  • Assess & report on benefits of regional & event-specific activities

Speaker Notes:

Regional planning and coordination activities strive to improve travel management for all planned special events in a region. This slide identifies some key considerations.

Slide 20: Managing Travel for Specific Events

Speaker Notes:

This is a transition slide.

Slide 21: Phases of Managing Travel for Planned Specific Events:

Regional planning & coordination for all planned special events

Event specific:

  • Event-specific operations planning
  • Implementation activities
  • Day-of-event activities
  • Post-event activities
flow chart showing the phases of managing travel for planned special events D

Speaker Notes:

The practice of managing travel for planned special events incorporates advance planning, management, and evaluation activities encompassing five distinct, chronological phases: (see slide).

Integration of the identified phases, from the post-event activities phase to the program planning phase (i.e., regional planning and coordination) creates a seamless process allowing for continuous improvement of transportation system performance from one event to the next, especially in regard to recurring events or events occurring at permanent venues. This iterative process, where stakeholders apply successes and lessons learned from a particular special event to future events, supports activities pertaining to managing travel for all planned special events in a region.

Slide 22: Event-Specific Operations Planning:

  • Advance planning & resource coordination activities conducted for a specific planned special event.
  • Establish a planning framework & team
  • Predict transportation system operations deficiencies & develop strategies to mitigate
  • Assess & plan for unexpected, high-impact scenarios
  • Increase traffic management team preparedness & productivity

Speaker Notes:

This slide provides a definition (first bullet) and purpose of the event operations planning phase.

Initial planning activities include:

  • Establishing an event planning team.
  • Assess any risks associated with the special event (e.g., demonstration/protest, spectator overcrowding, excessive celebration, violence).
  • Determine performance goals and objectives.
  • Establish a planning schedule and deliverables.
  • Conduct public outreach.
  • Establish a mechanism for reviewing planning products.
  • Develop interagency policies and agreements.

A number of secondary factors warrant consideration in the event operations phase, including:

  • Available resources
  • Weather
  • Concurrent roadway construction
  • Concurrent planned special events

These factors can greatly influence the level of impact a planned special event has on transportation system operations. By gaining an understanding of the special challenges that these external factors present, the event planning team can develop appropriate contingency response plans to mitigate infrequent but high-impact scenarios.

Slide 23: Event-Specific Operations Planning: (con't.)

Key Activities & Products:

  • Agency permitting of planned special events
  • Interagency agreements
  • Traffic management team
  • Event travel management feasibility study
  • Traffic management plan, transit management plan, emergency management plan, etc.
  • Travel demand management initiatives

Speaker Notes:

The two main steps of the event operations planning process involves: (1) completing a feasibility study to forecast event-generated traffic and parking demand and to determine the associated impact on transportation operations during the event and (2) developing a traffic management plan to service event-generated automobile, transit, and pedestrian traffic and to mitigate predicted impacts to the transportation system serving the event venue and surrounding area. Travel demand management represents a key component of the overall advance planning process when forecasted traffic demand levels approach or exceed available roadway capacity.

Slide 24: Planned Special Event Permitting:

  • Permit application
  • Permit process
    • Decision criteria
    • Special requirements
  • Permitting requirements
    • Event restrictions
    • Impact mitigation
    • Legal
    • Funding
flow chart summarizing key event organizer and public agency actions throughout the special event permit process, from submitting a permit application to conducting the proposed event D

Speaker Notes:

Planned special event permitting involves a defined planning framework and schedule for event organizers and participating review agencies to follow. It represents an agreement between participating public agencies (e.g., transportation, law enforcement, public safety, etc.) to ensure, through planning activities or review, that all planned special events meet a set of mutually agreed upon requirements for day-of-event travel management.

A municipal permit represents approval, or agreement between a jurisdiction and event organizer, to operate a planned special event, and it includes provisions outside of travel management.

This slide shows a flowchart summarizing key event organizer and public agency actions throughout the special event permit process. This process serves to scope, schedule, and direct event operations planning activities for proposed events. This reduces unnecessary delay in facilitating stakeholder coordination, developing planning deliverables (e.g., traffic management plan, etc.), reviewing mitigation strategies, and mobilizing personnel and equipment resources required to stage a particular planned special event.

Slide 25: Traffic Management Team:

  • Traffic management plan development & resource planning
  • Stakeholder coordination & team management
  • Traffic management & control
  • Event Site Command Post
  • Day-of-event traffic management
  • Post-event evaluation activities

Speaker Notes:

Traffic management team organization includes agency representatives stationed at a central command post, at secondary command posts, at a permanent TMC, and at strategic locations in the field for traffic control and observation.

The command post will probably be at or near the venue where the planned special event takes place. Depending upon the size of the event, secondary command posts may exist. Advantages of a single command post include: (1) key agencies are represented in a single location and (2) communications among agencies are simplified.

Resource planning involves the following two parts: (1) determining the scope and amount of resources that will be used on the day-of-event and (2) identifying resources in advance in case the traffic management team needs more resources than planned to implement the traffic management plan.

The actual management of traffic on the day-of-event may differ from what the traffic management plan calls for. Traffic incidents, changing weather conditions, and other unexpected events can all cause the plan to be modestly modified or completely changed. Having different scenarios and response plans specified in the traffic management plan will help managers more quickly respond to changes.

The traffic management plan should remain flexible with the ability to modify and enhance it with necessary changes based on real-time traffic conditions. Evaluation of the plan is an ongoing activity during the event.

Slide 26: Event Travel Management Feasibility Study:

  • Travel forecast
  • Market area analysis
  • Parking demand analysis
  • Traffic demand analysis
  • Roadway capacity analysis
  • Mitigation of impacts

Speaker Notes:

Travel forecast analysis involves estimating: (1) modal split, (2) event traffic generation, and (3) traffic arrival rate. To highlight the importance of predicting traffic arrival and departure rate, this slide shows traffic operations, during event egress, at: (1) a freeway entrance ramp, (2) a venue access road upstream of a freeway, and (3) an on-site venue parking area.

A market area analysis identifies the origin and destination of trips to and from a planned special event. The analysis focuses on developing a regional directional distribution of event patron trips to/from an event site via personal automobile. A regional directional distribution specifies: (1) the freeway and arterial corridors serving the venue site and (2) the percent split and volume of event-generated automobile trips traversing each corridor.

A parking demand analysis functions to determine the amount of required parking for event patrons in the vicinity of the event venue. A parking occupancy study drives the overall analysis and determination of event parking areas. This study indicates the level of parking spaces occupied, relative to lot capacity, at intermittent time intervals. It also specifies an estimate of peak parking demand.

A traffic demand analysis determines: (1) a local area directional distribution and (2) the overall assignment of event-generated traffic. The local area directional distribution indicates freeway ramps and intersections, including turning movements, traversed by event-generated traffic arriving to or departing from a planned special event.

A roadway capacity analysis uses traffic demand analysis results to measure the impact of a proposed planned special event on roadway system operations. At the feasibility study level, a roadway capacity analysis references existing roadway facility operations and capacity (e.g., no reverse flow operation or other capacity enhancements).

Slide 27: Traffic Management Plan Components:

  • Site access & parking plan
    • Access leads to Process leads to Park
  • Pedestrian access plan
    • Pedestrian access routes
    • Shuttle bus service
  • Traffic flow plan
    • Traffic flow routes
    • Emergency access
  • Procedures & protocols

Speaker Notes:

A site access and parking plan contains operations strategies for managing automobile, bus, taxi, and limousine traffic destined to and from the following areas in the vicinity of a planned special event venue: (1) public parking area, (2) reserved (permit) parking area, (3) overflow parking area, and (4) pick-up/drop-off area. Site access and parking plan development involves a three step process: (1) access - getting event traffic from the adjacent street system to their destination, such as a parking area or pick-up/drop-off area, during ingress and vice versa during egress, (2) process - activities necessary to “approve” (e.g., fee collection) vehicles for entry into a parking area, and (3) park - handling vehicles from a process point to a parking space.

A pedestrian access plan provides for the safe and efficient movement of pedestrians within the immediate area of the venue. This includes accommodating pedestrian trips to/from several mode transfer points, such as site parking areas, transit stations, express/charter bus stations, shuttle bus stations, and pick-up/drop-off areas. A successfully implemented pedestrian access plan for planned special events permits rapid dispersion of pedestrian flow through a radial network of pedestrian routes. It also includes time-sensitive strategies to minimize overcrowding conditions at venue gates and mode transfer points. The plan also considers a continuous shuttle bus service operations detail to handle event patrons destined to/from satellite parking areas and transit stations not easily accessible by foot.

In developing a traffic flow plan, the event planning team modifies predicted flow routes to maximize transportation system operating efficiency on the day-of-event while meeting public safety agency needs. The advantage of developing a traffic flow plan is two-fold: (1) allows the event planning team to influence and control event patron patterns of ingress and egress and (2) provides important advance information for event patrons and participants regarding best access routes to the event. A traffic flow plan should accommodate background traffic flow in addition to transit service which will be promoted as an event patron travel alternative. Also, traffic flow routes should not traverse or intersect emergency access routes, if possible.

Slide 28: Traffic Management Plan Components: (con't.)

  • Traffic control plan
    • Freeway / Street / Intersection
  • En-route traveler information plan
  • Traffic surveillance plan
  • Traffic incident management & safety plan
    • Crash prevention
    • Traffic incident clearance

Speaker Notes:

The main objective of freeway management during planned special events involves minimizing freeway mainline congestion. Freeway traffic control and management strategies for planned special events include traveler information dissemination and interchange operations. The central traffic control strategy for local flow routes serving a planned special event involves emphasizing throughput. Tactics that increase street capacity include a combination of: (1) on-street parking restrictions, (2) vehicle travel on road shoulders, and (3) alternative lane operations. A proactive approach toward developing strategies for controlling intersection traffic during a planned special event aims to: (1) increase intersection traffic handling capacity, (2) improve the orderly movement of traffic, and (3) prevent crash occurrences.

En-route traveler information can provide event patrons and other transportation system users with current roadway and transit information while traveling en-route. Resources commonly used to disseminate en-route traveler information include, CMS, HAR, telephone information systems (e.g., 511), and the media.

A traffic surveillance plan can include: (1) closed-circuit television systems, (2) field observation, (3) aerial observation, and (4) media reports

A traffic incident and safety plan specifies crash prevention tactics and traffic incident quick clearance initiatives, some of which denote special provisions enacted just for the day-of-event. These traffic incident management techniques preserve two goals of managing travel for planned special events: (1) ensuring safety and (2) maximizing efficiency. Crash prevention tactics focus on improving driver awareness of surroundings and driver behavior. Service patrol operators can, for example, assist in establishing day-of-event traffic control, performing traffic surveillance, providing timely traffic condition reports from various remote locations, and rapidly clearing traffic incidents.

Slide 29: Travel Demand Management:

  • Transit service
    • Public transit service expansion / marketing
    • Express / charter service
  • Local travel demand management
  • Event patron incentives
  • Pedestrian & bicycle accommodation
  • High occupancy vehicle incentives
  • Business & neighborhood accommodations

Speaker Notes:

Travel demand management represents a key component of the overall advance planning process when forecasted traffic demand levels approach or exceed available road capacity. The goal is to optimize event patron and non-attendee travel through incentives aimed at consolidating person trips and altering user travel patterns and habits, while minimizing any penalties to the user.

Successful TDM strategies, developed to reduce the amount of event patron traffic, encourage carpooling and the use of alternate travel modes. TDM strategies may also influence the travel patterns of non-attendee road users by encouraging a trip time shift or a change in travel mode. The resulting reduction in traffic demand reduces travel times for both event patrons and non-attendee road users.

The goal of transit operators involve designing a special event service and related incentives to not only improve the travel choice utility associated with using transit, but also to exceed the utility (e.g., travel time, parking fees, comfort, etc.) associated with traveling via personal automobile. Successful transit services collectively may result in a significant change in event patron modal split without impacting service to non-attendee users.

Slide 30: Implementation Activities:

  • Improve efficiency of traffic management plan deployment
  • Identify unknown & potential problems before the event
  • Increase traffic management team preparedness
  • Products:
    • Implementation plan
    • Review & testing
    • Personnel recruitment & training

Speaker Notes:

This slide provides the purpose and products of the implementation activities phase.

Implementation activities mark a transition phase between event operations planning and day-of-event activities. Therefore, the phase involves both the event planning team and traffic management team.

Key objectives of this phase include: (1) improving the efficiency of traffic management plan deployment and (2) increasing traffic management team preparedness.

Implementation activities create a more responsive traffic management team and fluid team operation, thus translating to better transportation system performance on the day-of-event.

Review and (equipment) testing includes stakeholder simulation exercises designed to: (1) test the written assumptions in the traffic management plan and (2) see what must be changed and how the plan can be improved.

Personnel training focuses on temporary staff and volunteers. Training ensures that these personnel: (1) understand the traffic management plan component governing their assignment, (2) disseminate accurate information to event patrons and supervisors, and (3) understand traffic management team operations protocol.

Slide 31: Implementation Plan:

  • Defines personnel assignments, roles & responsibilities of traffic management team personnel on the day-of-event.
  • Training & preparation
  • Describes a scenario-based, operations game plan at the management-level
  • Communicates instructions & protocol for media & public
  • Organizes traffic management personnel & resources at field-level

Speaker Notes:

An implementation plan details the actions required to put a traffic management plan into effect on the day-of-event.

This slide summarizes the purpose of an implementation plan. The handbook includes a detailed implementation plan checklist for practitioners.

While the traffic management plan indicates how traffic, parking, and pedestrian operations will be managed, the implementation plan describes the what, when, and where in terms of personnel and equipment resource deployment needed to execute traffic management plan provisions.

The implementation plan communicates traffic management plan specifics using a quick reference format. The plan ranges from a memorandum to a detailed manual depending on event size and scope of plan coverage. Individual stakeholders may develop a plan for the freeway/arterial corridor(s) or street networks under their jurisdiction. A large-scale implementation plan, such as an event manual, is organized by: (1) traffic management plan component (e.g., signing plan, intersection control plan, etc.), (2) zones correlating to supervisor assignments, or (3) agency jurisdiction.

The overall implementation plan organization creates numerous action plans for specific traffic management personnel or small personnel groups. Location-specific details typically specify traffic and/or pedestrian control duties and responsibilities. With regard to equipment deployment, the implementation plan contains protocol for delivery, installation, monitoring, and takedown. Stakeholders design the implementation plan to match specific personnel experienced in operating certain equipment and infrastructure.

Slide 32: Day-of-Event Activities:

  • Daily implementation of the traffic management plan & traffic monitoring
  • Facilitate rapid deployment of traffic management plan strategies & contingency plans
  • Provide traffic & incident management support
  • Respond to new scenarios & unexpected events

Speaker Notes:

This slide provides a definition (first bullet) and purpose of the day-of-event activities phase.

The traffic management team represents a distinct stakeholder group charged with executing the traffic management plan during this phase and modifying the plan as warranted by real-time conditions on the day-of-event.

Traffic monitoring provides traffic and incident management support in addition to performance evaluation data. Timely deployment of contingency plans developed during the event operations planning phase depends on the accurate collection and communication of real-time traffic data between traffic management team members.

Slide 33: Day-of-Event Activities: (con't.):

Key Activities & Products:

  • Traffic management team coordination & management
  • Traffic management plan evaluation & revision
  • Interagency communication structure & protocol
  • Media interaction
  • Traffic monitoring

Speaker Notes:

The traffic management team includes not only many of those stakeholders that have been involved in event operations planning, but those who may be involved for the first time on the day-of-event. The Incident Command System can be used to handle traffic management during planned special events.

The traffic management plan should remain flexible with the ability to modify and enhance it with necessary changes based on real-time traffic conditions.

To minimize confusion and extraneous information being shared among agencies, the question of who will use which frequencies should be decided during the planning process. Stakeholders should understand: (1) how they can reach other traffic management team members during the event, (2) which channels they will be found on, and (3) what information should be shared.

The media may find that the usual means they use to get traffic information are unavailable during the planned special event. Wherever the media are directed to call, it is important that the person handling those calls has the most up-to-date, accurate information available. For the media to trust this source, they must believe that this is the best place to get information.

The information collected through the monitoring effort is valuable for post-event activities. After the event, the information gathered and/or observed can be used as part of the program or event evaluation. The data collected provides: (1) input into estimating the benefits of the traffic management plan and operation and (2) input into planning for future planned special events.

Slide 34: Post-Event Activities:

  • Evaluation of transportation system operations based on:
    • Stakeholder debriefings
    • Analysis of day-of-event traffic data
  • Improve advance planning & operations for:
    • Future recurring events
    • Future events at the same venue
    • All future events in a region

Speaker Notes:

This slide provides a definition (first bullet) and purpose of the post-event activities phase.

Evaluation results, identifying needs and successes, represent valuable input toward planning for future planned special events and creates an iterative process.

Whether the event is a one-time only happening or an annual occurrence, what has been learned through the evaluation can contribute toward proactively improving travel management for all planned special events occurring in a region.
To be beneficial for future planned special events, the results of the evaluation should be documented and made accessible. In the case of a one-time only event, the evaluation may show both general and specific insights which can be used for other future planned special events. These could include areas such as traveler information, interagency communications, and the planning process itself. For recurring events, a file providing the cumulative benefit of lessons learned will help sharpen the traffic management plan developed for each new occurrence.

Slide 35: Post-Event Activities: (con't.)

Key Activities & Products:

  • Participant evaluation
    • Stakeholder debriefing
    • Patron survey
    • Public survey
  • Post-event debriefing
  • Post-event report
  • Identification of key successes & lessons learned

Speaker Notes:

Post-event activities range from informal debriefings between agencies comprising the traffic management team to the development of a detailed evaluation report.

The viewpoint of event patrons is needed if a credible evaluation of the plan is to be done. It is important is that a cross-section of patrons be surveyed in order to identify common threads. This slide shows an Internet-based event patron evaluation survey for those attending the 2003 Fair Saint Louis festival. Such a survey can also be used to query event patrons on their point of origin (e.g., zip code) and mode of travel for stakeholder reference in planning future similar events. The public survey takes in a wider audience than the patrons, including those who may have been impacted by the planned special event even though they did not attend.

A post-event debriefing should be held to review what took place. The purpose of the debriefing is to: (1) examine what took place, (2) compare it to what was expected to happen, (3) identify what worked well, and (4) determine areas of improvement for future planned special events. The successes and lessons learned must be chronicled so that those stakeholders who are responsible for planning the next planned special event will be able to tap the wisdom of those who have done this before.

A report which reviews the planned special event is necessary to document what was learned. The report should summarize both positive and negative aspects. Part of the evaluation process is to look at the operational costs of managing the planned special event. Expenses such as staffing, equipment and overtime should be noted by the agency incurring the expense. Operational costs can also be reviewed with areas of potential cost saving identified. In some cases, these expenses may be in areas where the reallocation of personnel would result in reduced expenses or improved operations. In other areas, the use of technology may result in savings. Figures such as costs, hours saved, incidents handled, and passengers carried provide a view which can be compared with similar events and provide a metric to judge how well the traffic management plan worked.

Slide 36: Resources & Tools

Speaker Notes:

This is a transition slide.

Slide 37: Resources & Tools:

  • Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook - Publication No. FHWA-OP-04-010
  • Outreach material:
    • Tri-fold brochure
    • Frequently asked questions
    • Technical presentation
    • Fact sheet
  • Resources available at:

Speaker Notes:

The Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook and associated outreach material are available on the TMC Pooled-Fund Study website and the ITS Electronic Document Library (URLs listed). The brochure identifies key aspects, benefits, and the importance of why agencies and organizations should be concerned with planning for how to manage travel in advance of planned special events. It highlights the same concepts identified in the handbook. The brochure is designed to communicate to community leaders, executive managers, and other key interests that have the potential to allocate resources, influence local practices, or dedicate their agency or staff in the necessary activities associated with managing travel for planned special events.

The FAQs provide answers on 20 key issues that would need to be communicated to a non-technical audience (e.g., public, media, community leaders, etc.) on the importance and issues to be considered with the advanced planning, stakeholder coordination, provision of services, and proactive management of travel related to planned special events.

The technical presentation will provide an overview of why agencies and organizations should be concerned with or planning for how to manage travel in advance of planned special events. This presentation will highlight the same concepts contained in the brochure and issues identified in the handbook. The intended audience would be individuals that should or may actually be involved in the advanced planning, coordination, responsible for, or involved with managing travel, controlling traffic, or providing services the day of the event.

The fact sheet summarizes the purpose of the Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook, provides an overview of planned special events, and describes issues and the approach to managing travel for planned special events. The fact sheet also indicates the intended audience of the handbook in addition to the benefits of successful planned special events. The fact sheet is intended for all potential users of the handbook.

Slide 38: Handbook Overview:

  • Purpose: provide guidance & recommendations on:
    • Managing travel for specific PSEs
    • Planning, coordination & regional activities for all PSEs within a region
  • Intended Audience: individuals responsible for or engaged in any aspect of managing travel for all PSEs within a region or for specific events
  • Available at TMC Pooled-Fund Study web site & ITS Electronic Document Library:

Speaker Notes:

The Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook presents recommended policies, guidelines, procedures, operations strategies, and resource applications in tables, flowcharts, and checklists so users can easily extract information and identify issues, analyses, and products applicable to a particular category of planned special event. This handbook recognizes a target audience consisting of three user groups, each of whom has an identifiable icon that appears in the heading of handbook sections relevant to the group: (1) transportation engineer, (2) law enforcement officer, and (3) event organizer.

Slide 39: Handbook Overview: (con't.)

  • Organization: consists of 15 chapters within the following sections:
    • Overview
    • Advance planning
    • Day-of-event activities
    • Post-event activities
    • Event profile
  • User Groups:
    • Transportation engineer
    • Law enforcement officer
    • Event organizer

Speaker Notes:

This handbook consists of 15 chapters organized through the following sections: (1) overview, (2) advance planning, (3) day-of-event activities, (4) post-event activities, and (5) event profile.  

Each of the handbook chapters describing a particular step in the sequential process of planning and managing a planned special event represents a stand-alone chapter. Yet, the handbook provides a smooth transition from chapter to chapter and integrates the chapters through numerous references. Chapters designated under “event profile” provide a roadmap to help guide the user through all five phases of managing travel for planned special events, identifying issues, analysis, and products applicable to a specific planned special event category. To further guide readers, the event profile chapters specify references to data, special considerations, and best practices for a particular event category.

Certain stakeholders may find the majority of handbook chapters pertain to their duties and responsibilities when handling a planned special event. Other stakeholders may only have interest in information disseminated via a few handbook sections. This handbook recognizes three user groups, each of whom has an identifiable icon featured in the handbook. These user groups include: (1) transportation engineers, (2) law enforcement officers, and (3) event organizers. If a major chapter section contains topics suited to a particular user group, then the icon representing that group will appear on the same line as the section heading.

Slide 40: Handbook Chapters:

  1. Introduction & Background
  2. Characteristics & Categories of PSEs
  3. Overview
  4. Regional & Local Coordination
  5. Event Operations Planning
  6. Traffic Management Plan
  7. Travel Demand Management & Traveler Information
  8. Implementation Activities
  9. Day-of-Event Activities
  10. Post-Event Activities
  11. Discrete/Recurring Event at a Permanent Venue
  12. Continuous Event
  13. Street Use Event
  14. Regional/Multi-Venue Event
  15. Rural Event

Speaker Notes:

This slide lists the Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook chapter titles.

Slide 41: Additional Resources & Tools:

Repository of case studies & reports: TMC Pooled-Fund Study Website http://tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov

Training Course & Workshop – Available 2005

Special Events Case Studies Report – PTI / FHWA

NCHRP Synthesis 309: Transportation Planning & Management for Special Events

ITS Peer-to-Peer Program: http://www.its.dot.gov

Speaker Notes:

This slide lists additional resources and tools on managing travel for planned special events.