UTS Library

Traffic and Transport Communication Program


Department of Victorian Communities

PR Company: 

Sean Mc Manus, Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2006 C 6 - 11



Executive Summary: 

In March 2006, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games presented Victoria with its biggest ever traffic and transport challenge. Millions of spectators were expected to attend Games events and Melburnians would still need to go about their normal business.

In an environment where pre-Games media coverage predicted traffic and transport chaos during Games time, the Victorian Government’s Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination (OCGC) worked with private and public sector stakeholders to roll out a multifaceted community relations campaign aimed at ensuring that for two weeks in March 2006:

  • the city’s regular commuters changed their travel behaviours
  • people living and working in Games ‘precincts’ significantly adapted travel routines
  • people attending Games events caught public transport and adopted particular travel behaviours.

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Traffic and Transport Communication Campaign achieved all of its objectives and proved to be a major contributing factor to the overall success of the biggest event ever staged in Victoria.

Situation Analysis: 

During the Commonwealth Games, Melbourne’s road and public transport networks would be put the ultimate test, with:

  •  no parking at venues, a significant cultural change to sports fans and 15,000 less parking spaces
  •  more than 1.5 million spectators and 20,000 Games workforce members requiring public transport to 16 venues
  • more than two million attending Festival Melbourne2006 activities and ‘live sites’
  • significant changes to traffic and transport management across the entire city, including road closures, dedicated lanes for Games vehicles, parking restrictions and suburban streets used for five Road Events.

Transport networks also needed to continue to service hundreds of thousands of regular commuters going about their normal business.

To meet this demand some two years of planning had been undertaken between OCGC, the Department of Infrastructure, public transport operators, VicRoads, Victoria Police, local government and other authorities. There would be 30,000 additional public transport services in place for the Games, and traffic management plans had been carefully planned to minimise local impact while still meeting stringent security and international event standards.

The early engagement of stakeholders and detailed planning had positioned Melbourne with the capability to deliver Games traffic and transport operations. However, communication would play a significant support role in making this enormous logistical exercise a success.

Public transport would still be crowded. It would take longer to get round. People would need to leave the car at home and take public transport, and they would need to allow more time for their journey. Spectators needed to arrive at venues two hours before the start of play due to venue screening processes. Changed traffic conditions would cause significant impact to local communities.

A community relations campaign was vital to harness cooperation and understanding of local communities, regular commuters and Games spectators to ensure public transport and roads functioned effectively.


The communications campaign was underpinned by the following research activities:

  •  Consultation with former staff from the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and Sydney 2000 Olympics. Post Games reports and resources from these events also helped inform preliminary scoping.
  • Two stakeholder communications reference groups were established to draw on specialist expertise of primary stakeholders.
  • Regular workshops with stakeholders and key Games personnel to identify issues and workshop strategy considerations.
  • Regular quantitative and qualitative consumer research studies informed planning.
  • Focus groups informed campaign messaging, travel intentions and preferred methods of communication. 
  • Games time surveys tested travel behaviours and satisfaction
  • A Post Games survey helped evaluate the campaign.

Target Policies: 

Target Publics 

Primary target publics

Those significantly impacted by changes to traffic and transport conditions in the lead up to and during Games time and those required to adopt new travel behaviours in order to ensure the success of traffic and transport operations.


  •  Games spectators

o ticket holders

o Festival Melbourne2006 and Live Site attendees

o Road Event spectators (non-ticketed events)


  •  Regular CBD commuters (road and public transport users) - whose daily travel routines would be affected by the special arrangements in place for the Games

o city workers

o CBD businesses

o inner city road users


  • Affected local residents and business owners – those impacted by changed traffic conditions and service arrangements

o City of Melbourne

o City of Port Phillip

o residents and businesses along road event courses and in vicinity of venues

o freight and courier companies, road user groups

o taxi, hire car and charter bus drivers and operators


  •  Regular regional commuters (road and public transport users) – workers and business people, road users and public transport users in and around the four regional Games venues, and V/Line passengers

Communication Strategy: 

Early research indicated an overall sense of community pride in Victoria hosting the Games.

While the majority of information centred upon changed behaviour and impacts, ultimately the Games had the potential to create a level of excitement and anticipation.

Communications therefore, focussed on messages and activities that conveyed a sense of fun, confidence, safety and pride in welcoming the world to Melbourne as the city hosted the biggest event in its history.

A core imperative was to ensure affected businesses and households received early notification of the changes affecting them in order to help them to plan ahead and minimise impacts on their daily routines. Consultation was undertaken with local councils to ensure communication was aligned with established processes.

Likewise, spectators and regular commuters needed to have  onfidence in the public transport and traffic networks’ ability to cope and be encouraged to travel in a particular way.

Given the complexity of the information, the main communication tools were:

  •  targeted community guides containing detailed information and local maps
  • a high profile advertising campaign
  • two key spectator publications
  • media campaign
  • website for secondary queries

    The following strategic approach was adopted:

    Long lead

  •  early release of information to impacted residents and businesses
  • give businesses tools and resources to plan
  • preposition Melbourne for change and ‘the biggest event ever hosted’

    Short lead

  • eight-week intensive lead up campaign, when public attention would be at its greatest.


  • Website the number one call to action, backed by Call centre support


The campaign was implemented at key stages. Messaging had a cascading affect from each stage, enabling the public and stakeholders to access high level general messaging at the start, pre-positioning target audiences for change, then flows into specific information.

The program was implemented as follows:

Launch of road event courses July 2005

  •  Road Event routes announced
  • Community booklets distributed to 150,000 homes and businesses
  • Early notification to communities to create awareness and opportunity to plan
  • Community engagement of impacted businesses begins

Launch of traffic and transport plans Nov 2005

  • Release of public transport service levels and Games transport arrangements
  • Preview of key traffic and travel considerations

    Release of Business Ready Kit Nov 2005

  • Key tool for businesses to plan for the Games
  • Detailed traffic plans inclusive of maps
  • 5000 hard copy kits, 5000 CD-ROMs, – available online
  • Forums conducted 
  • Supported by Business Victoria hotline and website
  • Advertising and direct mail promotion

    Official Spectator Guide and Pocket Guide Dec 2005

  • Distributed to all ticket holders
  • Available at points of sale and key public places
  • Positioned as the primary information source for ticket holders
  • Dedicated public transport section with recommended modes of travel for each venue

    Print and Radio Advertising campaign Feb 2006

  •  Commenced 19 February 2006
  • Highest profile aspect of campaign - $2 million spend
  • Targeted at spectators, regular commuters, and local communities
  • Complemented by Metlink advertising campaign, targeting regular public transport commuters.

Media relations strategy 1 Feb – 31 Mar 2006

  • Campaign supported operational imperatives
  • Lynne Haultain commenced as official Games traffic and transport spokesperson
  • Daily media coverage achieved during the Games.
  • Daily traffic updates during Games on Melbourne radio.

    Website strategy Dec 2005 – ongoing

  • Dedicated traffic and transport section on official website.
  • Comprehensive public transport guide, service, levels, how to get to venues, timetables, travel tips.
  • Comprehensive details on traffic arrangements, links to key documents and VicRoads website, which provided real time traffic information.

    Call centre strategy Dec 2005 – ongoing

  • Dedicated Games Hotline
  •  Metlink provided a dedicated Games public transport call centre, accessible through Games Hotline.

    Drive Guide March 2006

  •  Guide distributed to taxi, hire car, charter bus and tow truck drivers (and associations) to create awareness of Games time arrangements and provide a resource on how to get around.

    Local Communities Dec 2005 – March 2006

  • Staged distribution of community publications across 13 Games precincts.
  • local media and advertising support.
  • Information on changes to parking and traffic conditions as well as opportunities to participate in the Games.

    Stakeholder resources

Strategic links created with Metlink, VicRoads, local councils and other organisations to ensure integration with established communication tools.


Traffic was reduced during the Games

 Traffic volumes were on average 5% lower than normal and significantly reduced along Games routes, 30% in some instances, providing a high level of service for Games needs. (*a)No significant incidents or problems reported on the road network during the Games. (*a)

Commuters avoided travel during peak periods

  • Commuters altered travel behaviours and travelled outside morning and evening peak periods. (*a)
  • This made a significant contribution to assisting public transport and roads cope with unprecedented demand.

People used public transport

  • 1.8 million people travelled on public transport, equating to an additional four million trips over 12 days. (*a)

High campaign awareness

  • 92% of stakeholders and 90% of the general public rated the “using public transport” promotion as successful. (*b)

Note: For qualification of (*a) and (*b) results, refer to Appendix A13 – Research – page 33.


Objective 1: Influence travel behaviour of Games spectators: arrive early, leave the car at home, no parking.

  •  1.8 million people travelled to Games events on public transport, a 25% increase over normal levels. (*a)
  • Venue operations reported a majority of spectators arrived early.
  • No major traffic or parking problems were experienced around venues. (*a)

Objective 2: Influence travel behaviour of regular public transport users and inner city road users to balance and reduce demand, particularly during peak periods

  •  55% of stakeholders and 38% of general public were motivated to plan ahead for road closures and changed traffic conditions in their local area. (*b)
  • 55% of stakeholders and 39% of general public were motivated to allow extra time for travel around Melbourne. (*b)
  • 41% of stakeholders and 30% of general public were motivated to reduce or minimise travel by car or on public transport. (*b)
  • Public transport operators cited evidence of ‘peak shifting’ and extended peak periods. Commuters adjusted their routines to travel earlier or later to avoid the morning and afternoon peaks. (*a)

Objective 3: Promote public transport, with an aim of having 70% of all Games spectators using public transport during the Games

  • More than 75% of people attending Games events travelled on public transport, the highest ever achieved for a major event in Melbourne. (*a)