Real-Time Communications For The London Olympic Games Park & Ride Hubs

About the Olympic Delivery Authority

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is the public body responsible for developing and building the new venues and existing infrastructure, including transport networks, for the London 2012 Games and thereafter. As part of the transport network to support the games 24 public ‘park and ride’ centres were created at all major venues across the UK from Hampden Park, Scotland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Stratford, London to Brands Hatch, Kent.

Identified as ‘hubs’ each centre provided:

  • Public car & cycle parking
  • Private charter and taxi parking
  • Shuttle buses or walk to venue routes
  • Special needs vehicle

History & Background

Visitors to the London 2012 Games were encouraged to use public transport wherever possible and as such the Olympic Delivery Authority provided park and ride facilities at 24 hub locations. Instant, reliable communications was the key to a smooth operation, remote management of hubs and the allocation of vehicular resources.

affini, were asked to provide, monitor and maintain the communication network in advance of the torch relay until the end of the Paralympics in September.

ODA’s Needs

Critical to the success and the customer experience of the games was efficiency of the park & ride facilities. This required instant and reliable communications across each hub, to other hubs aligned by event or geography and to enable senior supervisors and managers to talk no matter what the location in the UK.

These communications tools were deemed ‘mission critical’ which meant they had to be:

  • Resilient to natural or man-made disasters
  • Managed to provide 24/7 communications support
  • Capable of providing ‘over the air’ dynamic regrouping

Approach & Recommendations

affini reviewed several available technologies that individually could meet parts of the ODA’s requirements and after presentation to the ODA and a scientific evaluation of coverage strengths we recommended the combined use of two solutions:

  • Push-to-Talk (PTT) over cellular for UK wide coverage
  • Digital radio network for the 15 hubs within M25 (Greater London)

In the event of an emergency situation the radio network would remain operational and unaffected by the actions of blue-light services – police, fire, ambulance – and congestion likely to be caused by the public cellular network.

The Solution

affini enabled the ODA to ensure instant reliable communications across all UK locations using both cellular and radio devices.

Each hub was set up to enable operations staff to talk in multiple groups, as required, at their site in a consistent way.

Each hub was configured with the same channel profile e.g. 1 = common to all on that site, 2 = local back-to-back mode. So anyone visiting a new hub would know to communicate on channel 1 to hear all messages.

affini remotely managed user groups and these, at the request of the ODA, could be reprogrammed (changed) at any time over the air.

This was vital in the time between the Olympics and the Paralympics as resources were reassigned to different places so all devices needed updating.

The event was fantastic, there was a big screen, the park and ride was efficient and the toilets were excellent.
Jacques Snyman, Fleet in Hampshire

Benefits

  • The UK wide PTT provides an intuitive mobile device familiar to nearly everyone today ensuring its acceptance and ease of use as an operational tool and reducing the requirement of user training.
  • The device functionality included text messaging, missed call logs for clarification and / or audit trials
  • Commonly available devices made the addition of accessories, in-car chargers, hands free kits and blue-tooth headsets efficient and economical
  • All required telephone numbers for the individual hub were pre-set into the device, with all other calls barred, excluding supervisors & managers whose device was specified differently
  • With the digital radio platform, voice communications are converted to a data signal to ensure they have a higher and faster priority than other radio signals in the vicinity