Olympics traffic jams not as bad as feared, INRIX finds

An INRIX traffic map of East London shows mostly clear roads.

Gearing up for the Summer Olympics in London, one of the concerns in London was about the traffic. But it turns out the situation isn’t as bad some feared.

That’s the word from INRIX, the Kirkland, Wash.-based traffic information startup. The company ramped up its services for the Olympics to help athletes, fans, journalists, British citizens and others in London for the games navigate the streets.

“Honestly, it’s not as bad as we initially anticipated,” says Jonathan Maron, an INRIX vice president. ”It appears that our normal summer tourist volume is not as big as usual because there were so many warnings in the lead-up to the games about how congested it would get.  We’ve also seen that many Brits who work in London have taken this opportunity to get out of town and are on leave with their families.  We’re seeing some additional load on roads outside central London as people try to avoid possible congestion, and routes around Olympic Park are of course busy at times, but the Game Lanes appear to be doing their job.”

That’s a reference to the special lanes created for the Olympics, which reportedly befuddled Londoners when the games began.

But Maron cautions that the city isn’t out of the woods just yet.

He explains, “What I think will be interesting to monitor is traffic around the upcoming Paralympic Games—so much emphasis was placed on the main Games that the Paralympics were something of an afterthought for many drivers.  But, ticket sales for the Paraylympics have been very strong, and some of the road restrictions will stay in place, so drivers who return to their normal routines may see heavier than normal traffic, especially after the school holidays end halfway through those events.  We’ll be continuing to monitor throughout.”

INRIX has been delivering twice-daily traffic reports and forecasts to journalists and news agencies via email during the games. The company also delivers information via its INRIX Travel Radio online station and its free INRIX Traffic app.