Your best transportation plan paves the way for attendees to experience all the excitement and diversity a city wide event has to offer in stress-free style and comfort.
While planning stress-free transportation is far from the most glamorous aspect of managing your city wide event, it is one of the most critical. Nothing derails a city wide event faster than transportation breakdown. Our event experts rely on these ten strategic moves for foolproof city wide event transportation planning.
1. Gather and map location details
Event transportation planning begins with identifying and mapping all the locations the event shuttles will need to service. Collect relevant data about each location including vehicle arrival and departure options, drop off and pick up spots, as well as pedestrian routes to and from building access points. Use Google Maps to quickly build and share a map pinpointing all locations.
2. Plan route options
Next you’ll want to outline the most efficient bus route between locations. Consider variations in traffic flow for each day and time routes will be used. Research any planned construction or other events that may be taking place and consider delays they may cause. A real time traffic monitoring app such as Waze can help evaluate regular traffic patterns, estimate time between destinations and compare route alternatives. Finally, conduct a dry run for each route to ensure it flows as anticipated.
3. Keep it safe
Choose a safe and accessible drop off / pick up point for each location. Consider where pedestrian traffic can safely flow between destination entry/exit points and shuttle. Safety may require closing off a street lane for busses to drop off and pick up in. Remember to secure any city permits needed and flag any safety concerns for your transportation company and staff to help mitigate.
4. Predict transportation usage patterns
Routes between locations typically experience rider peaks and ebbs. Understanding these usage patterns allows you to meet capacity needs without wasting budget on empty vehicles. Estimate your event’s transportation usage by mapping attendees into breakout sessions by time slot. Predict where attendees will start and how their numbers will flow between locations at session breaks. Use this to calculate how many vehicles need to be at each location and when, then schedule your fleet accordingly.
5. Arrange a designated fleet for the physically challenged
Attendees with disabilities have a variety of unique transportation needs. Designating a separate fleet will help you show consideration to these attendees and accommodate their needs which may include special vehicle features, separate drop off and pick up points, extra time to travel between sessions and early departure or later arrival times. Be sure to secure drivers and staff who are experienced in serving this audience.
6. Have an emergency plan
Even a solid transportation plan can encounter unexpected difficulties. Shuttles have breakdowns. Vehicles and routes can be impacted by unforeseen problems. Have a backup plan in place for every element of transportation in case a breakdown, accident or other emergency arises.
7. Hire experienced drivers
Contract with your transportation provider to staff vehicles with experienced and professional drivers who will treat your attendees with respect. Define expected behavior and work with the transportation company to implement protocols that will mitigate risks of inappropriate drivers. Have drivers trained upfront in event protocols and equip them with route instructions, emergency plans and contingency options. Finally, be sure they know who to contact if they encounter a problem on the job.
8. Offer solutions to late comers
Schedule a staff member at each location to help with attendee flow and assist the inevitable late comers with transportation to the next location. Staff should know the transportation alternatives they can offer to any who miss the bus. Some options to offer include walking routes, a call to your ADA fleet, or help securing taxi, Uber or Lyft services.
9. Equip each location and vehicle with transportation signage
Place prominent signage at each location to mark shuttle stops and guide the way to and from sessions. Shuttle stop signage should display routes to each location as well as expected travel times. Post a transportation solution map in each vehicle as well. Finally, staff at each location should have visual aides to show attendees the path from one location to the next and allow them to snap a photo if desired.
10. Communicate the plan to attendees
Your city wide event transportation only works if attendees understand how to use it. A simple and easy to use transportation system depends on flawless communication upfront and onsite. Send transportation information out through email prior to the event including bus routes, times, and alternatives. Complete information should be accessible through the event app at any time during event, and printed versions can be included on the backs of name badges or as a separate insert.
What is your favorite tip for managing city wide event transportation?
Share with our community in the comments below.