Managing Travel for Planned Special Events
FHWA Report No.: FHWA-OP-04-034
EDL No.: 13904
Planned Special Events
A planned special event is a public activity with a scheduled time, location and duration that may impact the normal operation of the surface transportation system due to increased travel demand and/or reduced capacity attributed to event staging.
Planned special events include sporting events, concerts, festivals, and conventions occurring at permanent multi-use venues (e.g., arenas, stadiums, racetracks, fairgrounds, amphitheaters, convention centers). They also include less frequent public events such as parades, fireworks displays, bicycle races, sporting games, motorcycle rallies, seasonal festivals, and milestone celebrations at temporary venues.
The operational characteristics of planned special events create the following five event categories:
What is Managing Travel for Planned Special Events?
Planned special events can significantly impact travel safety, mobility, and travel time reliability across all surface transportation modes and roadway facilities. Managing travel for planned special events involves advanced operations planning, stakeholder coordination and partnerships, developing a multi-agency transportation management plan, raising awareness of general public and event patrons of potential travel impacts, and coordinating agency services and resource sharing.
The practice of managing travel for planned special events targets the following objectives:
The goals of managing travel for planned special events are:
Issues and Challenges
Planned special events pose a unique and diverse set of challenges to stakeholders charged with maintaining transportation system safety, mobility, and reliability. These challenges include:
Meeting these challenges involve initiatives such as:
The proactive management of travel for planned special events yields numerous benefits to stakeholders and transportation system operations, including:
Regional Planning and Coordination
Regional planning and coordination concerns proactively improving travel management for all planned special events in a region. Key initiatives and activities include:
Regional planning and coordination initiatives facilitate more effective and efficient event-specific planning and operations for future planned special events.
Event-Specific Travel Management
The practice of managing travel for planned special events incorporates advance planning, management, and evaluation activities encompassing five distinct, chronological phases:
Integration of the identified phases, from the post-event activities phase to the program planning phase, 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 where, in most major U.S. metropolitan areas, hundreds of planned special events occur annually.
Additional Resources and Training
The Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook and associated outreach material are available on the ITS Electronic Document Library at http://ww.its.dot.gov and TMC Pooled-Fund Study website at http://tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov:
• Handbook, FHWA-OP-04-010, EDL# 13883
Other resources and tools include:
• NCHRP Synthesis 309: Transportation Planning and Management
for Special Events
For More Information
Visit the TMC Pooled-Fund Study website at: http://tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov
Call the FHWA Operations "Help Line" toll-free (866) 367-7487
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