Highway Safety Initiatives: Pan/Parapan Am Games Traffic Planning and Execution

During the summer of 2015, Ontario, Canada, hosted the Pan/Parapan American Games (Games) in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area, which is the third-largest international multisport event and the largest multisport games ever hosted by Canada. More than 10,000 athletes, coaches, and officials from more than 41 countries were involved in the event, and the Games’ footprint was enormous with more than 60 venues across 16 municipalities and 10 different police jurisdictions at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. The venues were connected through the Games Route Network, a system of roadways spanning 780 kilometres. The Ontario Provincial Police led the Integrated Security Unit and had policing responsibility for 80 percent of the Games Route Network. The Toronto Police Service had jurisdiction over approximately 10 percent of the network, with the other seven municipal police services in the Integrated Security Unit (ISU) having responsibility for the remaining 10 percent. The Games’ operational period was lengthy—a total of 59 days from June to August.

The Greater Golden Horseshoe Area highways, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area, are known to experience some of the most significant traffic congestion in North America. The Greater Golden Horseshoe Area is home to approximately 9 million residents, almost 70 percent of Ontario’s population. Traffic management during the Games was a critical priority and was recognized early on as one of the highest risk areas. As a result, the Pan Am Transportation Team (PATT) was created. It included both senior executives and mid-management stakeholders with working groups made up of all transportation partners, including the police, the Ministry of Transportation, local road authorities, transit partners, and the Games Organizing Committee. This multidisciplinary, transportation-focused group allowed close collaboration and interoperability among the partners as effective practices and lessons learned from prior events were discussed and challenges were shared.