Olympic Impact: What Happens When 8M People Come To Visit?

Today marks the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Mitt Romney’s impolite remarks about whether the British people are ready (or excited enough) to welcome the eyes of the world into their City got me thinking. What must it be like to see your hometown explode in size for a couple weeks? The only thing I can compare it to is living in a college town year round: when the students arrive at the start of each semester, it feels like a hostile invasion. Now imagine that invasion was 8 million people strong!

For those of us who’ve never been to an Olympic Games, it’s hard to fathom just how pronounced of an impact hosting the Games can be. We can talk about attempts to make the Olympics “more sustainable” all we want: the fact is that doubling the population of a city overnight is going to have some pretty serious side effects.

Putting real numbers on the size and magnitude of this impact can be eye opening. As the infographic below explains, London will spend nearly 9.3 billion pounds ($14.6 billion) on transportation upgrades alone in an attempt to accommodate the influx of bodies all jostling for a glimpse of Olympic glory.

Countries lament their dwindling budgets every time we suggest an upgrade to education, health care, or renewable energy, but have no problem going in to debt for a three-week party? It makes you wonder, is all this spending really worth it?

Top image via Thinkstock, infographic via ClickSoftware workforce management software

44 comments

Susan Baker
Susan Baker4 years ago

Berny p the transport in London is never just fine it is always a disaster with traffic jams most of the day and even delivering at night can be a pain in the arse for truck drivers. Been there, done that. worn the t-shirt you guys want your food etc., delivered to the shops and all the other things big trucks do for you but then you go and stuff up the transport system with the Olympic fiasco!!!

Marianne B.
MARIA B.4 years ago

I can see parents and coaches along with the athletes, but don't understand why the average person would travel to see them, instead of staying home watching it on t.v. To see the expense involved, just to say "I was there".

Valentina R.
Valentina R.4 years ago

Nothing good happens, especially in terms of costs and environment.
Thanks for sharing this. Nice graphic too.

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.4 years ago

To each their own

FYI Sorry friends,my profile is down until I get help from care2 support

Berny p.
Berny p.4 years ago

LONDON IS DOING JUST FINE...THANK YOU!

Berny p.
Berny p.4 years ago

A LOT OF PEOPLE ON THIS SITE WILL BE REALLY DE FED UP........THE TRANSPORT IS DOING JUST FINE......

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

Massive Claustrophobia!

Abbe A.
Azaima A.4 years ago

nice graphic

mags g.
4 years ago

the committment to having the legacy of the games to be there for future generations was set at the outset - well done GB