Environmental impacts of sport tourism activities

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Literature review

Relatively little research has been done on special and large scale event traffic analysis, planning and management. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 309, Transportation Planning and Management for Special Events, was one of the first to focus on the state-of-the-practice for transportation planning and management for special events. The report noted the lack of special event related literature (Carson & Bylsma, 2003). The most comprehensive and covering document on special event transportation is the Managing Travel for Planned Special Events Handbook by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Another comprehensive approach was the first National Conference on Managing Travel for planned special Events held in New Orleans in December 2004. The aim was to raise public agency awareness about the importance and need to improve travel management for planned special events which significantly impact mobility and reliability of all surface transportation modes (Goodwill & Joslin, 2006).
Most existing researches are about mega events in large cities like Olympic Games which are different in nature from events hold in rural areas. Availability of traffic data in large cities make it possible to simulate the area affected by the event and try different ITS and demand management solutions to decrease the effect of the event in the area and provide safe and on time transportation. Situation is different in rural areas; collecting traffic data is challenging since there are no loop detectors or CCTVs. Installing ITS equipments and permanent infrastructure for monitoring and managing traffic is not a cost effective way. There are not enough alternate routes to accommodate event and background traffic and here is also the problem of lack of transit service near the venue.

Definition of special event

ITS may be defined as integrated application of advanced sensors, electronics, communication technologies and computers and management strategies to increase safety and efficiency of the surface transportation system. ITS is applied for event traffic management in a variety of environments through the use of CCTV traffic surveillance cameras, vehicle detection systems, coordinated signal control systems, area-wide traveler information service, dynamic message signs, traveler’s advisory radio system and other technologies and systems. Most large cities in the US that host plenty of events each year enjoy the advantage of ITS system and technologies during special events to provide safe and convenient access to and from events while providing an acceptable level of service for other transportation system users (Intelligent Transportation Systems for Planned Special Events: A Cross-Cutting Study, 2008).

Modeling and Simulation

London is the host to 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has the responsibility to prepare and keep under review an Olympic transport plan for addressing transport matters relating to the Olympic. Forecasting the geographical distribution of spectators is done by a gravity model. The basic concept of the model is that the larger the population centre, the greater the demand from that specific location, and also the farther the location from London, the lower the demand. They have also forecasted the places that ticket holders will travel from on the day of the event. Survey data collected from different large events in UK and data from previous events was also used. A micro-simulation model supported by analytical and gravity models is used to forecast Games Family travel demand (Olympic Delivery Authority, 2008).
In 2008 Singapore was the host to Grand prix. The circuit passed through Central Business District including several congested arterials. PTV developed a VISUM network including all major land uses and junctions within the area affected by the event. Important public transport services that thousands of travelers use each day to travel to the city was also included in VISUM modeling. For simulation modeling, transport simulation was then imported from VISUM to VISSIM for more accurate results for signal timing, pedestrian behavior at crossings and traffic route choice. Connections between macroscopic modeling and micro-simulation made accurate scenario testing and evaluation of schemes possible. Trip generation and attraction surveys, a series of origin-destination surveys undertaken during the study and cordon traffic counts were the basis in developing models (Laufer, Fellows, Gopalakrishnan & Saifollah, 2010).
Olympic venues and their surrounding area were simulated by VISSIM for Beijing Olympic Games. Travel demand forecasting for each venue was made considering competition schedule, number of parking lots for the Olympic family members, and arrival and departure time distribution of Olympic family members. Experiences from previous Olympic Games and other large sports activities were also used in case of need for data. Different traffic operation plans were tested for each venue and corresponding recommendations were proposed which were proved by traffic operation during the Olympic Games to be correct and effective (Yu, Zhang, Wang, Huang, & Zhou, 2008).
Delphi project at the German Aerospace Center aims at developing a traffic prognosis at event situations for major Germany cities. It is shown that a traditional travel demand forecast combined with a simulation based approach can serve as a short-term forecast for the traffic situation. Soccer World cup 2006 in the city of Cologne provided the opportunity to develop and test the approach as a service for the action forces to react as fast as possible to developing aberrations. In the German cities Berlin, Cologne and Stuttgart, different systems had been set up to provide organizers and police with up-to-date traffic information and predictions. Data from loop detectors as well as data from airship have been used to correct the simulation results to be in line with measurements. Data were sent any one minute from 781 detectors from 430 sites in Cologne. An open source traffic flow micro-simulation program SUMO was used. In addition to its normal car-following logic, SUMO has been extended with a so called mesoscopic traffic flow model formulated as a queuing model. It has been demonstrated that the combination of a transport system planning with a traffic simulation is helpful in providing information and is able to predict a future traffic state 30 minutes into the future. The average error was 330 veh/h (Behrisch, Krajzewicz, & Wagner, 2008).

Traffic Planning and Management

For London Olympic Games in 2012 two different strategies is planned for Games Family clients (athletes, team officials, broadcast and other officials) and spectators. The strategy for Games Family clients includes dedicated lanes, alternations to traffic signal timings and free public transport. The other strategy is about spectators transport. This strategy is based on transporting all sports event ticket holders by free public transport, walking or cycling on the day of the event. No private car parking will be provided for spectators at any venue. The aim is achieve almost 100 percent of spectators travelling by public transport, walking or cycling to the competition venue. Managing the non-Games demand is another strategy that will be implemented to reduce travel on key routes during the game. The transport strategy for infrastructure is to make best use of existing infrastructure and services. Building a new infrastructure will be an alternative when it is essential and will have a strong benefit after the games (Olympic Delivery Authority, 2009).
City of Santa Monica which is host for several large events during a year has developed its own event traffic management and control plan. The critical component in this plan is estimate of attendance and traffic generation. The plan addresses issues like event area, traffic control, parking, shuttles and transit, traffic operations, pedestrians, bicycles, emergency access, city vehicle access, pre-event check list and event-day protocols. The level of details addressed in the transportation management plan varies depending on the size of the event. Their experience in the city of Santa Monica shows that by making parking rates more expensive near the event site and less expensive at more remote locations, they could reach better traffic and congestion management. Parking policy in this city also decreased car traffic near event venue while bicycle usage increased (Morrissey & Monica, 2010).
A report presented by Florida department of transportation and university of south Florida includes information and best practices that will be useful in the provision of any type of special event service. A survey was done in this project to define the degree of participations of private transit providers in special events. The result showed that while about one third of them indicated that they do not provide transit services in special events due to limited resources the prevailing factor was the perceived burden placed on agencies by Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) charter regulations. Following the report suggests a step by step procedure for transit operators regarding planning policy, planning and operation of transit for special events (Goodwill & Joslin, 2006).
There are several handbooks and toolkits regarding planning and management of special events. A national Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) synthesis report, Transportation Planning and Management for Special Events, addresses special event types, involved stakeholders, tools and techniques for managing travel demand and controlling traffic, operation guides, qualitative and quantitative assessment efforts, and funding source. A handbook by FHWA, Managing Travel for Planned Special Events, present and recommends policies, regulations, planning and operation processes, impact mitigation strategies, equipment and personnel resources, and technology applications used in the advanced planning, management, and monitoring of travel for planned special event (Latoski et al., 2003). An executive summery an updated version of the handbook is written to assist responsible agencies in managing the planned special events impacting transportation system operations in rural, urban, and metropolitan areas. It provides a step-by-step guidance through all phases of managing travel for planned special events. The handbook discusses aspects of planned special events including (1) characteristics and categories of planned special events, (2) regional and local coordination, (3) event operations planning, (5) day-of-event activities , and (60 post-event activities. It explains reasons to manage travel for planned special events and suggests 5 phases for special event travel management which are: (1) Regional planning and coordination, (2) Event operations planning, (3) Implementation activities, (4) Day-of-event activities, and (5) Post-event activities. A schedule for event operation planning can also be found in this handbook which provides a generic timeline. Successful event management ideas, resource applications, and best practices in US can be found through the handbook (Carson & Bylsma, 2003).
Most literature in the field of large event transportation planning and management emphasizes on the role of public transport for successful special event traffic management. Experience shows that for a significant change in modal split patterns and public behavior, public transport policies should be supported by reduction of automobile accessibility, mainly by well-enforced parking restrictions. The role of good cooperation between various stakeholders in organizing the event is also emphasized in literature (Guide to Traffic and Transport Management for Special Events, 2006)


Special events and ITS

ITS include equipments to sense current traffic conditions, to control traffic flow and to inform travelers about the situation that they should expect, as well as centers that brings all these functions together. ITS can help meeting challenges related to special events and their effect on every day traffic by increasing the safety and efficiency of the surface transportation system.
The use of ITS technologies will bring some challenges for transport agencies. Many ITS systems need advanced communication or networking applications and thus trained operators. On the other hand some of these technologies are very costly for small communities and rural areas with more limited budget and not frequent yearly events.
A cross-cutting study by FHWA has studied how ITS is used in six locations in five states in USA to reduce planned special event related congestion while reducing accidents, increasing travel time reliability , and reducing driver frustration. By interviewing transportation officials it was found that using ITS helps to ease the congestion and frustrations related to special events and transportation officials have recognized the importance and benefits of ITS in the success of planned special events. Locations were selected to represent wide range of size and scope of planned special events. Each site represents at least one of following characteristics:
Large urban or suburban areas with thousands of planned events each year
Small urban or suburban areas with hundreds of planned events each year
Non-urban areas with up to a hundred planned events each year with less developed infrastructure
Rural areas with limited numbers of planned special events each year with less developed infrastructure
An example selected for the case study is Montgomery County with a population of about 1 million. The county is home to a variety of traffic generating events annually in different areas of the county. Monitoring and controlling the traffic in and around the event location is centralized in TMC with representatives from various parties which play a role in event management like police and emergency operation centers. ITS technologies which are used at the TMC include:
Portable dynamic message signs
Traffic surveillance cameras
Computerized traffic signal system
Vehicle detection systems
Regional Integrated Transportation System (RITIS).
The RITIS collects, consolidate, and disseminate TMC data from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Colombia. Public agencies and travelling public have access to this information letting them to know about incidents or other transportation issues in the area of planned special events.
A comprehensive set of traveler information tools is used by the county to assist motorists with information about their trips to and from the host venues. These tools include cable TV that provides audio from the traveler’s advisory radio system, traveler’s advisory radio system, up-to-minute travel conditions are regularly updated on the Internet, the TMC media sharing concept which provide the media regularly with information. Aerial surveillance during special event is a unique opportunity to provide the planners and traffic management team with valuable real time input and accident information as soon as it happens. Another benefit of the surveillance plane is to assist parking management on the day of the event. Flying over the parking areas a visual estimate of the available parking capacity is provided which allows TMC staff to anticipate the time the main parking areas will become full and to begin redirecting traffic to satellite parking areas.
Another example is a Dutchess County with about 300,000 residents. The county is famous for hosting an annual agricultural fair that generates more than 500,000 visitors over a period of six days. Duutchess County is a rural county in nature with limited infrastructure and rural characterized roads and few heavily traveled two-lane state routes. The main road feeding the fair is a tow-lane road with two signalized intersections north and south of the fairground which already operated near to capacity on most non-event days which was congested during the event days. It was decided to demonstrate the benefits of ITS technology to solve the problem in this area. The primary approach was to use portable ITS equipment together with a proactive traffic plan to remove the bottlenecks using traffic signal control and traveler information updates. The approach proved to be effective in traffic management with emphasis on communication and coordination between different stakeholders as keys to success for the Rural ITS demonstration project. In 2000 in order to manage traffic congestion at the exit points and reduce or omit the delay, computerized magnetic traffic counters were installed at the exit points. Traffic count data were downloaded each night to help planners to determine traffic volume. The project which started 1n 1999 concluded in 2003 due to the cost of deploying full range of ITS equipments which the county was not able to fund (Intelligent Transportation Systems for Planned Special Events: A Cross-Cutting Study, 2008).

Environmental impacts of sport tourism activities

Green and Hounter (1995) have pointed to possible environmental impacts of tourism activities, which fit to sport events and specially the Vasaloppet ski event which is hold in heart of nature passing through forest and nature. Some of these impacts depending on the type of the event may be of high impact and some other may less important. Following is a list of possible types of impacts:
Floral and faunal impacts:
Disruption of breeding habits
Inward and outward migration of animals
Trampling and damage of vegetation by feet and vehicles Destruction of vegetation through gathering of wood and plants
Change in extend and/or nature of vegetation cover through clearance or planting to accommodate tourist facilities
Creation of wild life reserve/sanctuary or habit restoration
Water pollution through discharges of sewage, spillages of oil/petrol
Air pollution from vehicle emissions, combustion of fuel for heating and lightning Noise pollution from tourist transportation and activities
Compaction of soil causing increased surface run-off and erosion
Change in risk of occurrence and lad slips/slides
Change in risk of avalanches occurrence
Damage to geological features (e.g. tors, caves)
Damage to river banks
Natural resources:
Depletion of ground and surface water supplies
Depletion of fossil fuels to generate energy for tourists activities
Change in risk of occurrence of fire
Change in hydrological patterns
Change in land used for primary productions
One important impact of ski resorts is soil degradation. According to Ries (1996) the establishment of the ski runs, the activity of skiing and ski run maintenance cause the impact. Loss of vegetation cover and top soil are the main impacts. Moreover the erosion of the soil can create flood effects after strong rains.
Environmental sustainability in sport tourism management is drawing more and more attention. Jageman (2004) has gathered all the requirements of sustainable sport tourism:
Promote and further develop forms of sports which are compatible with nature and environment Make sport-related infrastructure more environmentally compatible Reduce damage to vulnerable areas
Secure and improve opportunities for sport and physical activities outside vulnerable areas Preserve and increase the recreational quality of countryside and its enjoyment value for those doing sport.
Some initiations are already taken in order to develop environmental plans for events to help event managers to plan for an environmentally sustainable event. As an example the department of Canadian Heritage and Sport has developed a specific guideline “Environmental Management and Monitoring for Sport Events and Facilities” in 1999 which can be used as a practical toolkit for managers. The environmental planning set up during the World ski championships of St Moritz in 2003 is another example for sustainable management of ski events. Ski event managers can be also referred to “Guidance document on the implementation of EMAS in sporting events” presented by the organization of the Winter Olympics in Torino in 2006 (Duclos, 2007).

Table of contents :

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 What Is a Planned Special Event?
1.2 Event characteristics
1.3 Event Impacts
1.4 Mode choices
1.5 Background and problem statement
1.5.1 What is Vasaloppet?
1.5.2 About the area
1.5.3 Vasaloppet´s official buses
1.5.4 Parking in Berga
1.5.5 Parking in Mora
1.5.6 What is the problem
1.6 Purpose of the Study
Chapter 2: Literature review
2-1 Definition of special event
2-2 Modeling and Simulation
2-3 Traffic Planning and Management
2-4 Special events and ITS
2.5 Environmental impacts of sport tourism activities
Chapter 3: Methods
3-1 Methodology
3-2 Survey
3-2.1 Survey Design
3-2-2 Survey Constraints
3-2-3 Survey Pilot
Chapter 4: Results
4-1 Socio-demographic characteristics of participants
4-2 Traffic and travel pattern data
4-2-1 Travel to the area
4-2-2 Travel to the start point
a) Modal Split
b) Departure from the Origin
c) Arrival to the Destination
4-2-3 During and after race trips
a) During the race
b) After race destinations
4-3 Time Analysis
4-3-1 Sälen
4-3-2 Sälenfjällen
4-3-3 Mora
4-4 Flows and Average Speed
Chapter 5: Suggestions
Chapter 6: Conclusion
Appendix I – Road profile between Berga and Mora
Appendix II – Accommodation places in Malung-sälen
Appendix III – Questionnaire


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