Table of Contents

5.2.1 Special Events

A special event (in traffic management terms) is any planned activity that is wholly or partly conducted on a road, requires multiple agency involvement, requires special traffic management arrangements, and may involve large numbers of participants and/or spectators. Examples are marathons, fun runs, cycling events, parades, marches and street market days.

The definition also applies to events conducted in their own venue if the event requires special traffic management arrangements and multiple-agency support.

Special event planning

Special events may range in scale and impact from the large, e.g. a marathon run impacting on principal transport routes in a city, to the small, e.g. a neighbourhood street party. How they are managed from a traffic perspective clearly will depend on the scale of the event, as will the number of agencies that need to be involved in its planning and subsequent management. The scale also determines the extent and degree of planning required to address the traffic aspects.

Figure 5.4 shows a typical process for dealing with a special event application. The objective at this point is to determine the scale of the event and the planning processes that will therefore need to be followed. Note that it involves relevant agencies at an early stage. Note also that different jurisdictions may have different agency roles and requirements, particularly regarding the initial point of contact by event organisers.

Figure 5.4: Special events – process overview

SpecEventProcess

Notes:
Event classification in this example follows the model in Table 5.4.
Different jurisdictions may have different agency roles regarding the initial point of contact by event organisers.

Source: Adapted from Roads and Traffic Authority NSW (2006).

Table 5.4 offers one model for categorising special events, and shows a planning matrix for each class of event. Note that this is only one of a number of possible models. Different jurisdictions may have different agency roles and requirements, but the matrix in Table 5.4 is indicative of the planning issues that must be addressed.

Other issues that may be included for each event class in the matrix are:

  • lead times required for agency approval (road agency, police, local government)
  • requirements for fees for each agency (where applicable)
  • the need for liability insurance.

Table 5.4: Special event planning matrix

Event classDescriptionFeaturesExamplesTransport management planRisk management plans (traffic control) under OH&SAdvertise transport management arrangementsSpecial event clearway
heavy vehicle detours
Public transportEmergency vehicle and local accessParkingContingency planning
1

A Class 1 event:

  • impacts major traffic and transport systems
  • disrupts the non‑event community over a wide area
  • requires the involvement of the road agency, police and one or more local government authorities
  • requires a detailed transport management plan
  • requires advertising the event’s traffic aspects to a wide audience.

A Class 1 event may:

  • be conducted on‑road or in its own venue
  • involve trusts or authorities when using facilities managed by them
  • involve public transport authorities and/or providers
  • impact on the road transport industry
  • require the road agency to provide special event clearways
  • require the road agency to provide heavy vehicle detours
  • require the road agency to adjust traffic signals
  • require the road agency to manage variable message signs.

For example:

  • an event that affects a principal transport route in a capital or regional city
  • an event that reduces the capacity of the main highway through a country town.

Transport management plan required.

Model transport management plan recommended

Traffic control layouts drawn up by a qualified person and installed under the guidance of a qualified person.

Need to consider access for disabled persons.

28 days for all events that require regulation of traffic or where special event clearways in operation.

Not required where there is no regulation of traffic.

Road agency arranges if required.

Conditions may apply.

Promoted where practicable.Required –
refer to transport management plan.

May be required.

Refer to transport management plan.

Need to consider parking for disabled persons.

Recommended
2

A Class 2 event:

  • impacts local traffic and transport systems but not major traffic and transport systems
  • disrupts the non‑event community in the area around the event but not over a wide area
  • requires the involvement of the police and the local government authority
  • requires a detailed transport management plan
  • requires advertising the event’s traffic aspects to the local community.

A Class 2 event may:

  • be conducted on‑road or in its own venue
  • involve trusts or authorities when using facilities managed by them
  • involve public transport authorities and/or providers.

For example:

  • an event that blocks the main street of a town or shopping centre but does not impact a principal transport route or highway
  • a motor rally on local country roads.

Transport management plan required.

Model transport management plan recommended.

Traffic control layouts drawn up by a qualified person and installed under the guidance of a qualified person.

Need to consider access for disabled persons.

28 days for all events that require regulation of traffic or where special event clearways in operation.

Not required where there is no regulation of traffic.

Promoted where practicableRequired – refer to transport management plan.

May be required Refer to transport management plan.

Need to consider parking for disabled persons.

Recommended
3

A Class 3 event:

  • does not impact local or major traffic and transport systems
  • disrupts the non‑event community in the immediate area only
  • requires local government authority and police consent
  • is conducted on‑street in a very low traffic area such as a dead-end or cul‑de-sac
  • requires police agreement that the event qualifies as
    Class 3
  • is never used for vehicle races.

A Class 3 event, depending on local government authority policy, may:

  • require a simplified transport management plan
  • not be available in all local government areas
  • require advertising the event’s traffic aspects to the community.

For example:

  • an on-street neighbourhood Christmas party.
Local government authority may require a transport management plan.

Traffic control layouts drawn up by a qualified person and installed under the guidance of a qualified person.

Need to consider access for disabled persons.

28 days for all events that require regulation of traffic.

Not required where there is no regulation of traffic.

Required – refer to transport management plan.
4

A Class 4 event:

  • is intended for small on-street events
  • requires police consent only
  • is within the capacity of the police to manage on their own
  • is not a protest or demonstration
  • is always an on‑street event
  • does not require local government or road agency approval
  • does not require advertising the event’s traffic aspects to the community
  • does not require a transport management plan
  • does not require the involvement of other government agencies.

A Class 4 event may:

  • be conducted on classified or unclassified roads
  • cause zero to considerable disruption to the non-event community
  • cross local police and local government boundaries
  • require local government and/or the road agency to assist when requested by police.

For example:

  • a small ANZAC Day march in a country town
  • a small parade conducted under police escort.

Source: Adapted from Roads and Traffic Authority NSW (2006).

Appendix A shows an example of a transport management plan template (Roads and Traffic Authority NSW 2006). It illustrates the planning requirements for the top three classes of special event, using the event classifications described in Table 5.4. Appendix A functions as a high level planning checklist, ensuring that the following traffic and transport issues are addressed:

  • location and routes
  • parking
  • impact of and on construction, traffic calming and traffic generating developments
  • public transport
  • re-opening of roads after the event
  • traffic management requirements unique to the event
  • heavy vehicle impacts
  • special event clearways
  • contingency plans.

Note that all events, other than very minor ones which, in the example classification require only police approval, require a traffic control plan (TCP) which details the use of traffic control devices (e.g. signs, barriers) to ensure the safety of road users during the event. This would normally be required to be of the same standard expected of a TCP for roadworks. Australian Standard AS 1742.3 and CoPTTM1 provide details of traffic control devices and layouts which can form the basis of a special event TCP. It may also be a requirement that the TCP is prepared by a qualified person where the jurisdiction operates such qualification schemes.

The TCP can be seen as a risk management plan, demonstrating by its standard and its preparation by qualified personnel that the event organiser is discharging the duty of care (in this case to road users) required under common law or legislation.

There are a number of resources that can assist the preparation of transport management plans and TCPs. In particular the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has a comprehensive series of checklists in its manual Managing Travel for Planned Special Events (Latoski et al. 2003) which is available from the FHWA web site. Appendix B shows some of the checklists. Another checklist, shown in Appendix C, draws on the example of the Hamilton, New Zealand, V8 street race to show the range of issues requiring consideration.

Event management

During the execution phases of a special event each agency provides appropriate support as negotiated during the planning phase. It is important to note that the operational conduct of an event largely remains the responsibility of the event organiser though the overall command of an event is vested in a command group.


  1. Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (NZ Transport Agency 2004).