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 gathered around a laptop computer

Managing Travel for Planned Special Events

Chapter Thirteen. Street Use Event

photo of a group of bicyclists racing on a street closed to traffic by barricades on both sides and spectators crowding into the barricades

Figure 13-1. Street Use Event: New York City Cycling Championship

Purpose  handbook section pertains to transportation engineer, law enforcement officer, and event planning user groups

In order to assist the user in planning for a particular planned special event, this chapter describes an advance planning and travel management process and considerations specific to a street use event. It summarizes recommended policies, guidelines, procedures, and resource applications that were previously discussed in the first ten chapters of this technical reference. This chapter presents these guidelines and procedures in tables, flowcharts, and checklists that can be followed to help guide the user through all the stages of a planned special event of this category for a particular locale. Although Chapter 3 presents all the steps necessary to manage travel for a planned special event, this chapter provides 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 street use events. To further guide readers, this chapter specifies references to special considerations and best practices relating to this event category.

Introduction  handbook section pertains to transportation engineer, law enforcement officer, and event planning user groups

In order to guide the user, this chapter addresses four key topics, corresponding to five phases of managing travel for planned special events, including: (1) event operations planning, (2) implementation and day-of-event activities, (3) post-event activities, and (4) program planning. In planning for all planned special events in a region, the final section on program planning highlights issues to consider that evolve from and/or pertain to street use events. By following each one of the steps and procedures, the user will have identified and covered all the significant aspects that are necessary to result in successful management of travel for a planned special event with characteristics specific to a street use event.

A street use event occurs on a street requiring temporary closure. Table 13-1 indicates different types of planned special events classified as a street use event. This category includes events that occur in rural, urban, and metropolitan areas. Street use events generally occur in a city or downtown central business district; however, race events, motorcycle rallies, and dignitary motorcades may necessitate temporary closure of arterial streets or, to accommodate a motorcade, limited-access highways. Planned special event permitting guidelines and restrictions typically (1) influence event operations characteristics (e.g., location, street use event route, time of occurrence, etc.) and (2) govern whether a traffic management plan can mitigate the transportation impact of a particular street use event. Table 13-2 lists key characteristics of a street use event.

Table 13-1. Types of Street Use Events
Event Type
  • Parades
  • Marathons
  • Bicycle races
  • Grand Prix auto races
  • Motorcycle rallies
  • Dignitary motorcades

Table 13-2. Distinguishing Operating Characteristics of a Street Use Event
  • Occurrence on a roadway requiring temporary closure
  • Specific starting and predictable ending times
  • Capacity of spectator viewing area not known
  • Spectators not charged or ticketed
  • Dedicated parking facilities not available

Special Considerations

In light of the characteristics of a street use event, special considerations when planning such an event include:

  • Daily attendance, a key input in the travel forecast analysis process, is often difficult to estimate, and day-of-event weather conditions significantly affect it.
  • The entire parade or race route represents the event venue.
  • Parking areas and traffic flow routes serve an expanded site area.
  • Race events or motorcycle rallies often require the temporary closure of roadways over a significant distance.
  • Spectator viewing areas may have limited access to transit stations and adjacent high-capacity arterial roadways and freeways.
  • High attendance events in downtown areas require extensive planning for parking and travel demand management.
  • Major street use events typically generate trips from a multi-county region.
  • These events impact parking and access required by nearby neighborhood residents and businesses.
  • Temporary road closures, required to stage the event, impact background traffic and transit flow in addition to emergency vehicle access and other local services.

Event Operations Planning  handbook section pertains to transportation engineer, law enforcement officer, and event planning user groups

Since street use events take place on the roadway system and different event types have contrasting characteristics (e.g., parades versus road races), the event planning team should develop: (1) a feasibility study, (2) a traffic management plan, and (3) travel demand management initiatives (as necessary) in the event operations planning phase. The stakeholder composition of an event planning team varies by event, as most parades represent community events while road races and motorcycle rallies may involve commercial dealings. In regard to a community-sponsored special event, transportation and/or law enforcement agencies usually bear the responsibility of developing all of the necessary event planning phase products. These stakeholders guide the planning process for commercial street use events as well. Jurisdictions may mandate that private event organizers use a standard route and adhere to numerous guidelines and regulations (e.g., see the street use event checklist contained in Appendix A) developed by public agencies, in the program planning phase, as part of a greater permit program for all planned special events.

Recurring street use events, such as an annual holiday parade, allow stakeholders to reference a past feasibility study and traffic management plan, coupled with operations successes and lessons learned, when conducting advance planning activities for a future event. However, due to the significant time between recurring street use events, the event planning team must anticipate (1) changes in the operations characteristics of a future event, (2) modifications to the transportation system serving the event, and (3) changes in the community (e.g., land use, socioeconomic, regulations, etc.).

Figure 13-2 presents 31 steps in the event operations planning process for all planned special events. The flowchart covers development and integration of the phase's aforementioned three products. Table 13-3 complements the flowchart by providing step-by-step guidance on issues and recommended analyses for a street use event. The table also presents reference information contained in this handbook that is specific to street use events. While all of the major handbook topics under event operations planning apply to a street use event, Table 13-3 indicates planning considerations and agency example applications (e.g., via narratives or photos) within the context of this event category. In turn, practitioners can use example applications presented for a street use event to manage travel for other categories of planned special events.

flowchart illustrating 31 steps in the event operations planning process for all planned special events

Figure 13-2. Event Operations Planning Process Flowchart D

Table 13-3. Event Operations Planning Steps: Street Use Event
Step No. Page Event-Specific Issues Event-Specific Reference Information: Topic Event-Specific Reference Information: Page
1 5-20 empty cell empty cell empty cell
2 7-9 empty cell empty cell empty cell
3 5-21
  • Impact of weather on attendance.
  • Difficult to estimate attendance.
  • Lack of historical traffic generaton data.
  • Special consideration: Estimating attendance.
4 5-22
  • Impact of weather on time of arrival and/or departure.
  • Special consideration: Using historical data to estimate traffic arrival rate.
5 5-25
  • Use of travel time or distance analysis.
  • Market area includes the community or region the event is staged for.
  • Special consideration: Recommended market area analysis methodology.
  • Special consideration: Market area analysis.
6 5-27
  • Low turnover during event.
  • Exclusive use of off-site parking areas.
  • Self-parking.
  • Special consideration: Parking demand analysis.
7 5-29
  • Requirement of road closures to stage the event.
  • Utility (e.g., attractiveness) of individual parking areas vary.
empty cell empty cell
8 5-30
  • Use of computer traffic simulation model to measure the full impact of road closures on operations across a network of streets.
empty cell empty cell
9 6-32
  • Design of service to expand and contract (e.g., number of buses operating) based on event patron arrival/departure rates throughout the day-of-event.
empty cell empty cell
10 6-13 empty cell empty cell empty cell
11 6-38 empty cell empty cell empty cell
12 6-38 empty cell
  • Special consideration: Road closure impact checklist; Table 6-22
  • Special consideration: Parade staging area; Figure 6-29
13 6-40
  • Consideration for road closures required to stage the event.
  • Special consideration: Personnel resources for alternate route plan deployment; Figure 6-33.
14 6-41
  • Ambulances or first-aid stations staged at various locations for a street race.
  • Special consideration: Emergency access lanes.
15 6-43
  • Key consideration for this event category.
  • Special consideration: Pre-trip traveler information; Table 6-27.
16 6-45 empty cell empty cell empty cell
17 6-49 empty cell
  • Example: Appendix K – Street control plan and equipment location plan.
18 6-51 empty cell
  • Example: Appendix K – Street control plan and equipment location plan.
19 6-57 empty cell
  • Special consideration: Intersection traffic control along the event route.
19 6-57 empty cell
  • Example: Appendix K – Street control plan and equipment location plan.
20 6-16
  • Circulation problems due to lack of dedicated parking facilities.
empty cell empty cell
21 6-20
  • Consideration only for privately operated parking areas.
empty cell empty cell
22 6-23
  • Coordination with private parking area operators.
empty cell empty cell
23 6-28
  • High volume of pedestrian traffic and continuous circulation around the venue perimeter.
  • Special consideration: Pedestrian traffic.
24 6-32
  • Strong consideration for this event category.
  • Special consideration: Disabled parking spaces.
25 6-9
  • Consideration of detailed analysis (e.g., tabletop exercises) and modeling.
empty cell empty cell
26 7-2 to 7-14
  • High applicability of bicyclist accommodation, public transit incentives, and event/charter bus service to this event category.
  • Applicability of local travel demand management to downtown events.
empty cell empty cell
27 7-6
  • Particularly applicable to managing event departure rate.
empty cell empty cell
28 6-72 empty cell empty cell empty cell
29 6-61
  • Emphasis on portable closed-circuit television, field observation, and/or aerial observation.
empty cell empty cell
30 6-70 empty cell empty cell empty cell
31 7-14
  • Key step for infrequent events.
empty cell empty cell

The flowchart in Figure 13-2 represents a suggested order of event operations planning activities. However, as noted below, the event planning team can modify activities to create a dynamic and more effective planning process tailored to the scope of a specific planned special event:

  • A jurisdiction planned special event permit process and requirements will scope, schedule, and direct event operations planning activities for street use events.
  • The event planning team should plan an event route, spectator traffic flow routes, and background traffic accommodation strategies early in the event operations planning phase, referencing guidelines and tactics for developing a traffic flow plan (Steps 11 through 16).
  • Links between process steps are two-way as stakeholders evaluate alternative strategies and/or integrate traffic management plan components.
  • The event planning team can develop different traffic management plan components concurrently.

The event operations planning process references information and concepts contained in the advance planning section of this handbook, and it directs the user to recommended guidelines, procedures, strategies, and resource applications for managing travel for a specific planned special event. When following the process, practitioners should review:

  • Important advance planning considerations and external factors, summarized in Chapter 5, that influence planning activities. For instance, effective and rapid stakeholder review of event operations planning products requires: (1) an annotated planning timeline, (2) a review process, and (3) performance standards. Under risk assessment, scenarios relating to unplanned demonstrations or event patron violence may warrant consideration for a particular special event if law enforcement intelligence reports indicate such potential.
  • Section on "Special Considerations" in Chapter 6 with regard to controlling traffic during a dignitary motorcade.
  • Traffic management plan components in Chapter 6 that provide an overview of various principles driving plan development in addition to a contingency plan checklist.

Implementation and Day-of-Event Activities  handbook section pertains to transportation engineer, law enforcement officer, and event planning user groups

Implementation activities represent an essential phase in advance planning for street use events. The traffic management team may involve new interagency relationships, and it requires an event-specific implementation plan to communicate specifics of the new traffic management plan prepared by the event planning team. Because particular street use event types occur infrequently, stakeholder simulation exercises prove valuable in assisting traffic management team personnel understand the roles and responsibilities of participating stakeholders in addition to the actions taken on the day-of-event. Equipment testing marks another key consideration as day-of-event operations at and in the vicinity of the event site usually depend on portable equipment for traffic control, surveillance, and dissemination of en-route traveler information. These intensive stakeholder activities reflect the typical unfamiliarity with managing travel for a street use event coupled with the fact that transportation management activities, on the order required for a planned special event, may not regularly take place in the vicinity of the event site.

Table 13-4 presents a checklist of implementation and day-of-event activities for stakeholders to consider regarding any street use event. As indicated in the table, the event planning team must determine, based on various event operations characteristics (e.g., event type, event location, event time of occurrence, attendance, market area, etc.) and other external factors, what unique set of activities apply in handling a specific special event. The table facilitates fast access to handbook sections providing detailed guidance, including recommended strategies, protocol, and resource applications, required by users to plan and execute these activities.

Table 13-4. Checklist of Implementation and Day-of-Event Activities for Street Use Events
Handboook Page Action
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  • Develop an implementation plan.
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  • Conduct a stakeholder simulation exercise(s).
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  • Test equipment resources slated for use on the day-of-event.
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  • Recruit and train volunteers to fulfill personnel resource needs.
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  • Implement a traffic management team management process.
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  • Designate a multi-agency command post.
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  • Conduct traffic management plan evaluation(s) during the day-of-event.
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  • Establish protocol for traffic management team officials to consider and implement changes to the traffic management plan to accommodate real-time traffic conditions.
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  • Establish interagency communication protocol.
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  • Review communication equipment compatibility.
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  • Use the media to communicate with event patrons and other transportation users.
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  • Perform traffic monitoring on the day-of-event.
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Some distinguishing considerations of this event category during the day-of-event activities phase include:

  • Street use events demand the use of experienced personnel in the field on the day-of-event. Law enforcement officers or other personnel properly trained in traffic control should (1) direct traffic at intersections adjacent to closed streets and (2) control pedestrian crossing locations.
  • Supplementing traffic management team personnel with temporary staff and volunteers may represent a necessary action to meet staffing requirements. Competent adult volunteers can monitor barricade placement and minor intersection/driveway approaches. Many volunteers have no past experience in tasks associated with traffic and pedestrian control and parking operations. As a result, volunteer training becomes paramount to the success of day-of-event operations. Chapter 8 contains checklists and relevant considerations for assessing personnel resource needs and using volunteers on the day-of-event. The chapter also specifies volunteer training activities and summarizes basic functions required of all volunteers.
  • The traffic management team likely includes stakeholder representatives involved in managing travel for a particular street use event type for the first time. To ensure successful traffic management plan deployment, the traffic management team must adopt a formal management process and establish an interagency communication structure and protocol to support day-of-event operations.
  • Other essential team management considerations involve (1) the designation of an Incident Commander for the planned special event and (2) the set up of a temporary, multi-agency command post at or near the event site.
  • Traffic management team officials should anticipate enacting modifications to the traffic management plan during the street use event.
  • Surveillance information and performance evaluation data define transportation operation conditions and, thus, influence decision-making at a day-of-event briefing.
  • Due to the challenge of estimating event-generated traffic in the event feasibility study, day-of-event briefings should occur at frequent intervals during event ingress operations. Moreover, traffic management team officials should conduct an expanded briefing prior to the end of the event in order to reassess the traffic management and implementation plan for egress operations, taking into consideration traffic and pedestrian demand observed during ingress in addition to traffic and transit operations on alternate routes.
  • The collection and evaluation of transportation system performance data proves valuable in guiding decision-making not only on the day-of-event but also for recurring street use events (e.g., annual parades or street races). Stakeholders can archive raw data for use in future feasibility studies, and various evaluation measures can identify specific areas that require improvement for future, similar events using the same route.
  • The traffic management team must exercise great care in collecting performance evaluation data in order to ensure data quality and consistency.

Post-Event Activities  handbook section pertains to transportation engineer, law enforcement officer, and event planning user groups

All of the primary products of this phase, particularly participant evaluations and post-event debriefings, apply to evaluating transportation operations for street use events. Given the infrequent occurrence of street use events coupled with the scarcity of travel forecast data, post-event activity results represent a key resource in planning for future street use events in a region.

Table 13-5 presents a checklist of post-event activities for street use events. The post-event activities section of this handbook provides detailed information on common techniques, special considerations, and recommended protocol that facilitate the activities listed in the table.

Table 13-5. Checklist of Post-Event Activities for Street Use Events
Handbook Page Action
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  • Review measures of effectiveness identified in event operations planning phase.
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  • Compile agency measures of effectiveness.
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  • Compile performance evaluation data.
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  • Conduct stakeholder participant debriefing.
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  • Conduct event patron survey.
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  • Conduct public survey.
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  • Conduct a post-event debriefing meeting.
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  • Prepare a post-event report.
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Some distinguishing considerations of this event category during the post-event activities phase include:

  • In regard to participant evaluation, street use event patron travel surveys yield important information and statistics that can assist practitioners in (1) improving the accuracy of future street use event travel forecasts and (2) developing travel demand management incentives (e.g., public transit incentives and express/charter bus services) for similar events.
  • Periodic public surveys warrant consideration for special events under this category as event performance evaluation data fails to assess all community impacts. Survey results alert special event stakeholders of impacts to affected residents and businesses, in addition to non-attendee transportation system users, that may continue to occur with each successive special event on a particular route. As a result, stakeholders can develop and implement appropriate strategies (e.g., create/revise a standard street use event route, revise alternate route plans, etc.) and regulations to mitigate the identified impact(s) for future planned special events.
  • Post-event debriefings represent a common and recommended stakeholder activity for street use events.
    • On a regional level, such meetings may coincide with a regular traffic incident management team meeting.
    • A key aspect of a post-event debriefing for street use events involves preparing detailed meeting minutes that include the identification of key successes and lessons learned. In turn, findings may refine special event permit program provisions for future street use events.
    • Considering the potential significant time between similar event types, stakeholders must chronicle participant survey results and debriefing meetings so that those stakeholders charged with managing travel for future street use events can tap the wisdom of past participants.
  • The occurrence of a major, recurring street use event warrants development or update of a post-event report. In turn, the report can serve as a working document to assist in advance planning for the next (year's) event.
  • A post-event report for a recurring street use event should include an operational cost analysis to assist stakeholders in identifying potential cost-saving resource deployment strategies for the next event occurrence.

Program Planning  handbook section pertains to transportation engineer, law enforcement officer, and event planning user groups

Program planning activities involve the development of policies, programs, and initiatives that facilitate improved planning and management of travel for future planned special events.

Program planning for street use events include activities, as summarized in Table 13-6, on both a regional and local level.

Table 13-6. Program Planning Activities for Street Use Events
Product Topic Page No.
Institutional frameworks
  • Creation of a regional transportation committee on planned special events (e.g., oversight team).
Institutional frameworks
  • Development of a formal planned special event permit program.
Institutional frameworks
  • Creation of a transportation operations task force for a recurring street use event.
Institutional frameworks
  • Development of a joint operations policy.
Policies and regulations
  • Traffic and parking restrictions.
Policies and regulations
  • Standard street use event routes .
Policies and regulations
  • Public-private towing agreements.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Advanced parking management system.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Electronic fee collection system.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Planned alternate route for diverting background traffic around a venue.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Portable traffic management system.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Express, charter or shuttle bus service.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Telephone information systems.
Infrastructure deployment
  • Public information campaign.

Some distinguishing considerations of this event category during the program planning phase include:

  • A regional transportation committee on planned special events considers the planning and resource requirements of street use events in connection with managing all planned special events in a region. A primary committee focus concerns facilitating interagency coordination and collaboration. For instance, a task force may exist for a specific large-scale, recurring street use event that works throughout the year to integrate past event successes and lessons learned into future event planning.
  • Two or more stakeholders, representing multiple jurisdictions and/or disciplines, may establish a joint operations policy for managing travel for all planned special events in a region.
  • Stakeholders may develop a standard route for all street use events of a certain type (e.g., parades, street races, etc.) that occur within a region or jurisdiction in order to create a more efficient event operations planning process for future street use events.
  • Because street use events occur infrequently and on the roadway system, an infrastructure needs assessment on the program planning level should focus on equipment and technology applications transferable to managing all planned special events in a region and/or day-to-day transportation system operations.
  • A planned special event permit program proves particularly effective for street use events that, because of such characteristics as event attendance, event time of occurrence, and event location (e.g., route), may (1) conflict with municipal or state guidelines and regulations and (2) impact transportation operations and the community. The program specifies a permit process, coupled with supporting restrictions and requirements, that allows stakeholders to plan and assess all types of street use events within a common framework. For instance, stakeholder review of a proposed event route represents one step in the permit process in addition to a key decision criteria for rendering permit application approval. A section on program planning for local planned special events in Chapter 4 provides complete and in-depth coverage on developing a permit program applicable to street use events.
  • Funding represents a key public agency consideration for street use events in the program planning phase.
    • Commercial events may involve event organizers and participants from outside the community hosting the event.
    • Prior to initiating event operations planning activities for a specific street use event, stakeholders should establish a funding mechanism for recovering costs incurred in providing services during the event operations planning phase and resources (e.g., namely personnel for traffic control) on the day-of-event.
    • Funding often represents a requirement of a comprehensive planned special event permit program.