Putting our game face on

Planning and managing the transport operation for any large sporting event provides unique insight on how to run an efficient team to deliver a functional and smooth operational solution across a wide range of projects. How do the skills needed to deliver the second biggest sporting event in the world apply to sorting out an airport drop-off?

With disruptive transport services becoming increasingly available, there is an opportunity to deliver more cost-effective, integrated and dynamic event services. With a sustained threat
level there needs to be much earlier consideration of safety and security requirements, to allow for adequate planning and design of overlay and operational requirements. This all needs
to be considered as an integral part of event planning, or in fact, any other operational planning.

In July 2017, Cardiff hosted the UEFA Champions League final for the first time. The event was a great success and Steer contributed to it on several fronts, showcasing our breadth of capabilities and experience with major events. Our involvement touched the entire journey of a travelling fan, via the bespoke event guide app we developed, all the way through to a temporary bridge installation, transport operation, and crowd safety support. A 360˚ event operation approach!

Our event guide app was conceived as a complete tool. Bringing together transport, accommodation, sponsor engagement and event information into one digital experience, created a more effective engagement channel through which we could influence people’s behaviour and transport choices. Behind the scenes the app was an event communication and situational
tool, using location intelligence to monitor aggregated movement patterns in real time, and using geo-fencing techniques to push relevant notifications concerning transport and spectator

Cardiff is used to hosting rugby matches, but with UEFA come quite unique overlay requirements, and solutions to manage the segregation of fans, VIPs and traffic were required. We worked with stakeholders to design concepts for introducing the elevated security cordons and segregating VIP and general admission fans. This included the design and delivery of a temporary bridge, and a host of barrier/cordon solutions to protect fans from heavy vehicle threats.

We were also called upon to support the delivery of the event operations plan, including crowd flow analysis, crowd management procedures, bus and rail service operations planning
and event support. Our team worked closely with the transport operators, police, UEFA, Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government to ensure that every possible risk was mitigated and that the operations plan was robust enough to accommodate any eventuality.

On Game Day we were in the event’s control room providing transport support, and on the ground managing the integration of Cardiff Bus operations and the delivery of Juventus and Real Madrid VIPs, as well as the operation of all the Broadcast and Media parking areas.

This operational experience – designing, implementing and operating an event plan with face-to-face interaction with spectators, can be applied to clients’ other everyday problems.

Last summer, we were called to improve the Express Set Down operation at Stansted Airport. This premium service was struggling to meet the demand from passengers for a dropoff
facility adjacent to the airport terminal. Queues on approach to the airport were considerable and disruptive to background operations, and customers were vocal and negative about the functional inefficiencies. We applied our experience of highvolume, high-turnover operations, gained while moving people to and from major sporting events, to redesign the layout of the drop-off facility.

We also put in place a team of experienced Traffic Marshals with a clearly defined Operations Plan. After a week of operations, which included developing a clear communications protocol and intervention plan for the Marshals, the operation was deemed a success, with a 20% improvement in throughput for passengers and a peak queue reduced from over 500 vehicles to fewer than 100. Regular users of the facility paid compliments to the operation and negative social media comments were reduced.

The Stansted team kept the operation in place through the entire summer busy period, and we are now working towards ensuring that these measures are refined for 2018 and the airport is ready to carry more passengers next summer.


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