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TravelSmart Special Events Planning Resource Kit

08 - Case Studies - Part 1

Floriade Festival, Canberra

The Situation

Floriade, Australia's premier flower festival, is set in approximately 1.5 hectares of Commonwealth Park in Canberra. The event is now in it's 15th year and attracts over 330,000 visitors during September and October each year.

Commonwealth Park is about a five minute walk from the centre of Canberra, providing the opportunity for a high level of service for walking, cycling and public transport.

The Solution

To encourage people to leave their cars at home, the organisers have negotiated with the local government owned Action Buses to provide a high frequency service to Floriade from each of the four main town centres in Canberra. Information about public transport services is available by phoning the Action Buses information line on 13 17 10, or via the web site at The buses are also branded with the Floriade event advertising to increase awareness of public transport options.

A drop off point is provided close to the main entrance for families with children and less mobile visitors.

Pedal Power ACT, a non-government cycle organisation, provides temporary cycle racks for the event. The racks are installed at most entry gates for the duration of the free event, with cyclists being advised to bring their own locks.

Formula One Grand Prix, Melbourne

The Situation

The Melbourne Grand Prix is the first race of the Formula One Grand Prix season. The race is a highlight on the sporting calendar in Australia and is attended by nearly 360,000 spectators each year over a 4-day period, with Saturday and Sunday being the busiest.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation work closely with three working committees: Police and Emergency Services; Traffic and Transport; and Race Organisers. The Traffic and Transport Committee works closely with a range of stakeholders including the Department of Infrastructure, Local Authorities, public transport operators, Victoria Police and consultants.

The Solution

Positive messages about non-car modes of transport are repeated throughout the marketing and general information provided in support of the Grand Prix. A sample statement from the Motorcycle and Bicycle Parking Information Sheet reads "With access limited and parking heavily restricted in the local area, taking a bicycle to the Event will be hassle free". These messages help to reinforce the message that it is easiest to leave the car at home.

Grand Prix Map - Click to Enlarge
Grand Prix Map - Click to Enlarge
Source: Australian Grand Prix Corporation

Public transport

Public transport is a primary travel option for the majority of people travelling to the Grand Prix.

Information for a variety of transport modes is provided on the Grand Prix web site, including train, tram, bus or coach, bicycle/motorcycle and taxis. Information about catching public transport to the racetrack is also provided on the Victoria public transport information line and website at

Express tram services are provided from the CBD to the racetrack, at peak times running every 2-5 minutes, with free travel for spectators showing their Grand Prix ticket. Buses replace local tram services along the same route, maintaining travel options for local business and residents.

The level of service provided by train services is raised during the Grand Prix by increasing the size of the trains from three to six carriages, and operation of Saturday service levels on Sunday morning.

Access route maps are provided to charter coaches to ensure that they do not drop off or pick up in restricted areas to reduce risk of traffic congestion and safety issues. The route maps highlight which roads are to be used, they also indicate the location of bridges (with height restrictions), speed limits and daily restrictions on direction.


Taxi ranks are provided at five Gates and drivers are provided with access maps highlighting preferred routes for taxis. Rank supervisors are used to control the ranks between 7am and 1pm for arriving spectators and between 1pm and 7pm for departing spectators on all four days.

Bicycle and Motorcycle Parking

The Australia Grand Prix Corporation has, with the Motorcycle Riders Association, developed two secure, supervised parking compounds to encourage people to ride bicycles or motorbikes to the racecourse. The compounds are supervised between 7am and 7pm, and people using these facilities are offered the choice of leaving their bags and cycle gear with their bike or securing those articles in the cloakroom.

Costs for cycle parking have been set at $3 per day for bicycles ($5 per day for motorcycles) and $2 per day per item for bags and cycle gear.

Unsupervised bicycle racks are also provided at a third gate, to increase capacity for bicycle parking, although the racks are unsupervised.

Car Parking

Parking is an important issue around the venue each year and temporary parking controls are established in the grand prix area to encourage people not to drive. Permitted parking durations are set at 2 hours or less. The local community is exempt from the parking restrictions by displaying their current Council Parking Permit.

Information on the web site stresses that there is no parking close to the circuit and that illegal parking will be subject to heavy fines or tow-aways. Spectators are advised to leave the car at home and travel by public transport, or to park at a suburban station and catch a train to the city.

The Results

Surveys indicate that a public transport mode split of 54% was achieved for the 2003 Grand Prix, an increase of 6% over the 2002 survey results.

There was an overall increase in patronage for Yarra Trams of 5% between 2002 and 2003, with nearly 200,000 patrons over the four days, bringing the percentage of people using Yarra Trams to 51%.

An increase in demand for M>Trams was also identified, with patronage increasing by nearly 2% on 2002 figures (over 16,000 patrons over the four days).

National Folk Festival 2003, Canberra

The Situation

The National Folk Festival is an annual event held for over 30 years. The venue is now permanently located in Canberra. Prior to 1990, the venue rotated around the capital cities. The festival runs for five days over the Easter Weekend, with day tickets and camping facilities for people who want to stay for the entire festival. The 2003 festival involved more than 1,200 performers in 17 venues for 16 hours a day - 100 concerts, 80 workshops and sessions. Attendance levels have increased by more than 300% over the last ten years, with attendance figures for 2002 reported to be in the region of 13,000 people.

The festival is held in a purpose designed 88 hectare festival site (EPIC) in North Canberra, about eight minutes drive north of the city centre. The site is accessible by public transport, although services are limited over Easter when the festival is being held. It is also accessible by bike path from the city centre. All venues have wheelchair access and there is parking for approximately 2,000 vehicles on site.

Festival Map - Click to Enlarge
Festival Map - Click to Enlarge
Source: National Folk Festival

The Solution

The organisers of the festival have developed a range of solutions to support the use of sustainable transport modes, including cycling and public transport. The locations of public transport and cyclist facilities are indicated on the festival plan.

To encourage people to cycle to the festival Pedal Power ACT, a non-Government cycle organisation, offers free bike minding from 10am to 10pm between Monday and Friday, although patrons are advised to bring their own bike locks for added security. The volunteers who run the service are rewarded with a free ticket to the festival.

The ACT public transport operator, Action Buses, provides public transport services to the site. Route 56 provides a direct service between the festival and the Civic Centre, while there are six other services that provide access.

Because the event is held over the Easter public holiday, some public transport services finish early. During these periods, the festival organisers provide a free charter bus between the festival and the city, running every hour from 8pm to 11pm. Public transport information is advertised on the festival web site and in the festival program.

The organisers also produce an information book for co-ordinators, shift managers and other personnel to explain festival information, policies and procedures. This includes information about access to the festival site, public transport information and cyclist facilities. The guide is a useful resource enabling these staff to answer questions about getting to or from the festival.

The Results

A survey of visitors to the festival in 2003 found that 81% of respondents travelled to Canberra for the festival by private vehicle, while around 8% travelled by air, 6% travelled by bus (up from 4% in 2002), 2% travelled by train and 4% unspecified.

Observations of the cycle parking facilities by Pedal Power ACT, noted that demand for bicycle parking exceeded capacity at the racks provided inside the main entrance to the festival, with up to 50 bicycles parked at peak times, including some parked adjacent to the racks.

While signs were provided outside the festival to highlight the availability of free undercover parking inside the festival, some patrons chose to park their bicycles outside in various locations.

The valet parking facility was provided to the rear of the festival site, with signage on posts and trees to highlight the route from the main entrance. Observations of demand for the valet parking facility found that Saturday was the busiest day, with up to 34 bicycles parked. Cyclists using this facility were given a numbered ticket, with the other half of the ticket being attached to their bicycle for identification at collection time.

Volunteers from the cycle parking facilities reported that they enjoyed the event and dispensed advice on touring and bicycle repairs, and that feedback from riders was very positive.

Transport Infoline, NSW

The Situation

Beginning in November 1999, Transport Infoline was set up by Transport NSW to play a significant role in providing transport information throughout the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympics. The two main mediums for receiving this information are the 131 500 transport infoline phone number and the website. Since the Olympics, the Transport Infoline has become the key transport information tool for people living in the Greater Sydney area, bounded by Port Stephens in the North, Dungog and Scone in the Hunter, Bathurst in the West, Goulburn in the South West, Nowra in the South and Sydney in the East.

The Solution

Transport Infoline offers a comprehensive information service through a modern call centre with an interactive voice response system (IVR) at 131 500. Call centre operators are available from 6am to 10pm, 7 days a week to answer transport queries. Information on service changes, trackwork and transport to events is available 24 hours a day.

The website provides a comprehensive guide to all major transport services in the metropolitan area and provides a trip planner, timetable information, service change information and links to all transport companies and popular tourist facilities.

Participating transport organisations include the Ministry for Transport, the State Rail Authority of NSW (comprising CityRail and CountryLink), State Transit (Sydney Buses, Sydney Ferries and Newcastle Buses and Ferries) and the Bus and Coach Association NSW (private bus operators).

The Results

Transport Infoline has made it much easier to receive reliable and accurate timetable, route, ticket and fare information for trains, buses and ferries in the Greater Sydney area. The public transport utilisation rates for special large events in the Sydney area have been greatly enhanced since the formation of the transport infoline service (2000 Sydney Olympics and Royal Easter Show in particular).

One of the recently enhanced features of the web site is a comprehensive guide on how to travel to special events and attractions in NSW. Relationships have been formed with sporting facilities, clubs and organisations to provide detailed transport information to match-day events.