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Engines primed for Olympic transport
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08:51, October 12, 2007

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Nearly 16,000 drivers and service personnel will keep more than 10,000 official Olympics vehicles running smoothly, a transportation official with the city's Olympics organizing committee said.

This is not to mention cars of VIPs from around the world and the number of operations and technical support vehicles that will be used during the Games, Zhang Xiaodong, director of the committee's transportation department, told a session yesterday of the 14th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the nation's capital.

Nearly half of the 10,000 vehicles, all equipped with wireless communication devices, will exclusively serve Games events, while 2,200 shuttles and sponsors' buses, as well as almost 2,000 rental vehicles, will be available for the Olympic community at large, he said.

Zhang said transport services for the Summer Games and Paralympics, expected to operate July 20 until September 20 next year, would cover all of Beijing's 31 competition venues, more than 40 independent training venues, seven of the 17 non-competition venues, six designated parking depots, 26 International Federation (IF) hotels, and nearly 80 contracted hotels for the Olympic community and media.

"An integrated traffic control center with a transport operation center, seven sub-centers, and car teams set up by the Olympics transit stops and venues is to be formed," he said.

A similar three-layered, real-time command-and-control system will be adopted to monitor all Olympic venues, lanes and locations on a 24/7 basis, to ensure a safe, secure and reliable transport infrastructure during the Games.

Considerable challenges, however, remain. Nearly 5,000 members of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and VIPs, over 12,000 athletes and team officials, 3,000 technical officials, more than 21,600 accredited media professionals, nearly 400,000 sponsors and guests, and over 100,000 staff are expected to attend the Games, placing immense pressure on Beijing's already-stretched transportation network.

According to Liu Xiaoming, deputy director-general of the city's Committee of Communication, there will be 7.5 million spectators for the Summer Games and another 2.5 million during the Paralympics.

Beijing has initiated a series of drastic moves to encourage transit usage.

The mandatory and voluntary measures implemented proved successful during the six-day China-Africa Summit last November, which removed about a third of the city's cars from the roads, and in the four-day traffic restriction period this August.

Most recently, its participation in the first-ever national "Car-Free Day" last month and the opening of a new subway line in addition to a concurrent price reduction on all subway fares was also met with positive public response.

Source: China Daily

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