TravelSmart Special Events Planning Resource Kit
03 - Auditing the Facilities at Your Event/Venue
At a Glance
A successful special event access plan will rely on four key factors:
- understanding your situation
- a series of achievable targets
- a tailored package of measures
- excellent promotion
This section will help you to answer the first question - how to understand your situation. This will include completing an audit of your event and the transport infrastructure in the area. You can the use this information to build on your strengths and tailor an effective event access plan for your event.
The remaining three key factors will be covered in Sections 04, 05 and 06.
- Selecting a Venue
- Special Event Types
- Event Characteristics
- Pedestrian Facilities
- Cyclist Facilities
- Public Transport Facilities
- Access for People with Mobility or Visual Impairments
- Car Parking
Selecting a Venue
If you have not already selected a venue for your event, you should think carefully about the transport facilities that are available at potential venues.
- Are there safe and accessible pedestrian routes to the venue?
- Are there bicycle facilities close by?
- Is the venue near to public transport hubs, such as railway stations?
- Is the venue well served by bus services? Are there taxi ranks nearby?
It is also important to consider the location of any related events. For example, if your event is a conference or seminar and you are organising dinners or evening entertainment, how will people travel to these locations? Can they get there by walking, train, bus or taxi? Could you run a shuttle bus, or provide free public transport tickets as part of the registration? (eg: Sydney 2000 Olympics entry included a rail ticket).
Special Event Types
There are many different types and scales of special events, from local street fairs to the myriad of events associated with the Olympics. These can be summarised into four main classifications:
1. large scale on-street events, such as a street festival, cycle race or triathlon
2. large scale off-street events, such as a sports events at a stadium
3. small scale on-street event, such as a local street party in a residential area
4. small scale off-street events, such as a conference, or seminar
Each of these events would have an impact on the local area and would involve people travelling to and from the venue. All events offer an opportunity to encourage people to travel by walking, cycling or public transport. Remember… every little bit counts!
What type of event are you organising?
Before you start to develop a package of measures to encourage people to travel by sustainable modes of transport to your special event, it is essential that you understand the nature of the event that you are organising, how many people will come to it and how they are likely to travel. Using this information you can define an optimistic but achievable set of targets.
As a checklist, here are some questions you should answer about the event you are organising:
- What type of event are you organising? Is it a sports event, a music festival, a conference or a different type of event?
- What day of the week will the event be held?
- What time will the event start and finish?
- How many people will come to the event?
- Where do these people live?
- What age group are they?
- How do they normally travel?
This information will help you estimate the number of people who will travel to the event by different modes of transport.
How will people travel to your event and where will they come from?
The type of event you are organising will attract people with different travel characteristics. For example, the Philip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix in Melbourne attracts a significant number of motorcyclists. Therefore, an event access plan based around bus services is likely to be ineffective because these people will still prefer to travel by motorcycle. Similarly, if you are organising a cycling event, it is likely that the people who attend will like bicycles and may prefer to ride to the event.
Estimating the likely travel characteristics of the people coming to your event will help you to define the basic travel demands on the network and the types of measures to implement.
If you are organising a recurring event such as a sports match you may be able to identify this information through surveys and establish an event access plan gradually.
If you are organising the event for the first time, you can gather this type of information from a wide range of sources through a literature review and consultation process. However, during this process it is important that you gather data relevant to your region or area. While international literature may appear to be applicable to your event, people in different countries have very different travel habits and it is not possible to directly adapt this information from another country to Australia.
Some excellent sources of information include public transport operators who often collect data about certain travel conditions. By speaking to these operators you can gain an understanding of conditions that happen around other similar venues during their special events. For example, if you are organising a music concert, you can contact the public transport operators in the area around other similar venues.
Other sources of information include:
- Local taxi companies, who can provide a wide range of information about traffic conditions and demand for taxi services during special events
- Coach operators can also provide a wealth of information about traffic conditions and demand for services for various special events
- State Agencies, such as VicRoads, Main Roads, or NSW RTA
- Your local council may also be able to provide some advice from their experiences in planning for other special events
- Private road operators, such as toll road companies, may be able to provide some basic information about traffic changes during events in their area
Remember that service levels for public transport can vary throughout the day and on different days of the week. You may be organising an event that will be held over a weekend or on a public holiday with reduced public transport services.
This process can be very complex if you are organising a major event and you may need assistance from a specialist consultancy. You can find the contact details of suitable organisations through an internet search, your local library or through the telephone book.
How many people will come to your event?
You can estimate this information from the capacity of the event - some examples of this are the number of seats in the stadium, the capacity of the festival or the number of spaces at a conference. It is likely that this information will be fairly easy to estimate from your other planning processes.
Have a look around your venue and find out what facilities are available for pedestrians. The best way of finding out this information is to print out or photocopy a map (remember to check the copyright) and note which facilities are available and where they are - you can use this to create your Access Map later on. The following list will give you some idea of the things to look for.
- If your event is to be held outside, check that the access to the event is safe.
- If your event is being held on the street, check that enough space is provided for people to walk past
- Identify obstacles and safety hazards
- Identify potential bottlenecks where lots of people will have to fit into a small area (e.g. crossing a busy road)
- Identify any areas that have poor lighting or security issues for pedestrians
Now use a new map to note which facilities are available for cyclists. Here is a quick checklist that you can use for the audit:
- Count the number of parking spaces for cyclists
- Note the location of the racks (make a quick sketch diagram)
- Note whether each rack is covered from the sun and rain
- Note whether each rack will be supervised during the event
- Note whether lockers are provided for bags
- Note whether showers or changing facilities will be available
- Note the location of the nearest cycle routes - you may have to refer to cycling maps available from your local cycling group or Local Council for this information
Public Transport Facilities
Using a new map, have a look around your venue and take a note of the public transport facilities that are available, some of things that you should look for include:
- The location of the nearest public transport stops
- The routes that service each of the stops
- Note the start and finish times of services
- Note the usual time between services - you may need to contact your local public transport operator for this information. If their details are not on the bus stop you can use the Internet to look up their contact details, or try the Useful Contacts section at the end of this kit
- Note whether the public transport stop has a shelter and how much room is available around the stop - is it going to be very crowded with lots of people waiting?
- Work out how long it takes to get from the public transport stop nearest to your venue and the nearest interchanges or major destinations - you may need to refer to timetables to work this information out
- Safe walking routes from bus stops/railway stations
- Are bus stops (etc.) attractive and well lit?
- Can you negotiate for a temporary bus (or other public transport) stop at the venue entry point?
- Can the public transport operator provide timetable displays and/or set up a real-time display for the duration of the event.
Access for People with Mobility or Visual Impairments
It is important that your event caters for the needs of people with mobility or visual impairment.
A checklist of the key facilities you should identify is provided below. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and that you should consult relevant mobility groups to ensure that you meet the requirements of National and State legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act (sometimes referred to as the DDA).
- Are there any stairs without lifts, or other barriers to wheelchair users on the main routes between your venue and public transport stops?
- Does your venue have very slippery floors, such as marble?
- Are there any safety hazards or obstacles?
- Are there any steep ramps, or stairs at the entrance or within the venue?
- Are walkways wide enough for wheelchairs?
- Do you have staff to assist people with mobility or visual impairments?
- Where are the 'disabled' car parking spaces located, and how many are there?
- Can you negotiate a public transport stop directly out front of the venue?
The availability and location of car park facilities are a significant factor in the choice to drive to or from a special event. Therefore your parking strategy will, as much as any other factor, determine the success of your event access plan. Here are some of the things you should note down in your car park inventory:
- The type and location of car parking in the vicinity (usually within about 800m walking distance) of the event location
- Is parking on-street (kerbside) or off-street (i.e. in a multi-storey car park)?
- Is it paid parking, or free? If it is paid, how much does it cost?
- How many spaces are available in the vicinity of the site and how far from the venue is it?
- Do the parking areas close at certain times?
- Are there drop-off points out front of the venue and can they be removed or replaced with public transport stops or taxi facilities?