Events are short-lived – they have a beginning and an ending, they are impermanent, finite: a moment in time. Events are also unique; each event has characteristics that apply only to it, and to no other event. Each (individual) event will have specific requirements and present with differing problems. Even events that are recurring will differ each time they are held; they will often have different management teams or staff, or differing venues, budgets and expectations or undergo changes due to what was learnt from the previous event. Successful event management takes careful planning, flexibility and the ability to control and steer a project to meet the requirements of each unique event.
Organising an event involves making a lot of different decisions and choices. It requires understanding of the basic fundamentals and variables associated with an event. This includes practical considerations such as:
Managing Traffic Flow at the Event
Attendees to most events usually arrive by car therefore parking needs to be appropriate and adequate, and provide a sense of orientation and expectation. Entrances to both the car-park and the site should be well signed, easily accessed and have minimum impact on neighbouring properties.
Toilets and catering should be adequate – providing for the amount of visitors expected during mid-season times. At peaks times extra, temporary, facilities may be required; to prevent the introduction of elements that may obscure the surrounding landscape, these should be sited to have minimal visual impact on the site.
Very large events usually require permission from state authorities (for example government roads authority, police, local council etc.). These types of events will also require a formal traffic management plan (submitted well in advance of the event – usually around 2-3 months prior). Public liability insurance is also mandatory for many public events.
Here are some points to consider:
- If public transport is easily accessed then the event organisers should encourage its use. They may offer special deals, such as the cost of the ticket and a rail fare at a reduced price.
- Advise the local transport companies, i.e. bus lines and taxi services, well in advance of the event
- Use shuttle buses to ferry people, from local rail stations and bus stops, to and from the event.
- Have clear directions on all your promotion material and on invitations, tickets, etc. – include a map reference.
- Make sure that the traffic has as little impact as possible on local residents and local businesses.
To manage traffic a public event must provide:
- Adequate parking facilities for both buses and cars.
- Adequate and clear signage to indicate parking areas
- All weather access.
- A traffic management system (larger events may outsource this to a traffic management company). Smaller events often use local community groups such as the volunteer fire brigade or State Emergency Services unit to assist in traffic and parking controls onsite. (A donation is usually required).
- Disability parking.
- Well signed pick-up and drop-off points.
- Clear access for emergency services and security.
‘People flow’ within the confines of the event must also be considered to avoid confusion and to direct people towards areas, or away from restricted areas (e.g. those that may be slippery or wet or in some other way a risk).
Ensure that you:
- Provide adequate signage to indicate entrances and exits.
- Have adequate and clear signage to indicate toilet facilities.
- Consider where barricades, fencing or guard rails are required.
- Have clearly signed exit and entrance points
- Have clearly signed emergency services points
- Consider if guards are needed for this event. Most events will require some sort of guard or security, just in case.
In large events, traffic flow can help manage services: moving people past catering, toilets or other facilities as they enter, will educate them as to where these things are located. When people queue for other facilities alongside or nearby catering venues, they may buy food while waiting.