So many logistical factors go into running the Olympic games that when it comes to choosing a host city every little bit counts. Including traffic.
In a recent Vanity Fair article, it was revealed those responsible for making sure the International Olympic Committee saw the city in a favorable light went as far as to hack into the traffic light system to ensure there was no gridlock during the time the judges would be rolling through:
Near the end of the application process, an I.O.C. evaluation committee was permitted to visit London. Bid-committee officials knew that London’s transportation system was a weak spot on the city’s application. “Our nightmare was it would take forever to get to the venues,” Mills recalled. A bid-committee team planned the routes that I.O.C. members would travel around the city, and G.P.S. transmitters were planted in all of the I.O.C. members’ vehicles so they could be tracked. From the London Traffic Control Center, near Victoria Station, where hundreds of monitors display live feeds from London’s comprehensive CCTV surveillance system, each vehicle was followed, from camera to camera, “and when they came up to traffic lights,” Mills said, “we turned them green.”
In addition to rigging traffic lights to make sure everything moved smoothly, the London Olympic crew is required during the games to ensure 250 miles of traffic lanes only to be used by Olympic athletes and "the Olympic family." Riding on those lanes will be 500 air-conditioned limos, complete with well-outfitted drivers.
Here are some other interesting nuggets from the Vanity Fair article that go along with the honor of being the host city:
- The games require 40,000 hotel rooms of which 1,800 will be four- and five-star quality for members of the International Olympic Committee.
- Before the host city is announced, it must sign a contract that comes with 33 "technical manuals" that can fill more than four feet of shelf space.
- Many were against even putting London in the running for host city for fear of humiliation should it not be chosen and lose to the favored Paris, which had lost its bid twice before.
- $1.6 billion, 12,000 police officers and thousands of military members are allocated for the safety of the ceremonies and games. The Blaze recently reported armed soldiers would be stationed on residential roofs.
- $11.7 billion has been spent to upgrade neighborhoods around the 500-acre Olympic Park in Stratford.
Read more about what went into putting London in for the bid for the 2012 summer Olympics and the logistical events that have transpired since it was honored with the distinction of host city here.
Featuerd image via Flickr/bomvu