Athens 2004 Olympic Games: Transportation Planning, Simulation and Traffic Management

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - travel demand management, planning - travel demand management, land use - planning, ridership - demand, policy - congestion, organisation - management, mode - mass transit


Trip reduction, Travel demand management, Transportation planning, Transportation demand management, Transit, Traffic simulation, Traffic control, Traffic congestion, TDM measures, Strategies, Strategic planning, Roads, Public transit, Priorities, Olympic games, Objectives, Mass transit, Local transit, Infrastructure, Improvements, Gridlock (Traffic), Goals, Case studies, Athens (Greece), 2004 Summer Olympics


Even before the 2004 Olympic Games, Athens was a badly congested metropolitan area. This article describes how Athens planned and managed the transportation infrastructure to ensure that Olympic participants, spectators and workers could arrive and depart from their destinations with minimal delays. A systematic effort was needed to manage the addition of large and concentrated (in terms of both space and time) traffic generated by the Olympics. A strategic plan and operations plan were prepared to facilitate transportation management. Simulation models and prediction tools were used to estimate Olympic traffic movements. A large number of road and public transportation projects were completed to expand and improve the transportation infrastructure. Transportation was also facilitated through the use of dedicated lanes and restrictions in the use of private vehicles. The improved infrastructure and the systematic effort to manage traffic admirably served their purpose during the Olympics, and now provide Athens with the benefits of a non-congested road network and demand management experience. Athens can also serve as a model for future Olympic host cities.