THE IMPORTANCE of transport infrastructure to the success of the 2012 games has been recognised by the Olympic Development Authority in the appointment of Hugh Sumner to the position of transport project director.
Mr Sumner's record as managing director of Infraco SSL gives him an excellent insight into the transport needs for the games and the need to ensure that London keeps moving as a business capital before, during and after the games.
Also, the infrastructure needed to deliver the games will leave a positive legacy for regeneration in east London while ensuring long-term value for money.
The ODA has access to other major transport agencies such as Transport for London, Network Rail and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games will allow opportunities to co-ordinate all of the transports needs within a long-term plan - a plan that will contribute towards the sustainability of the development for years after the games.
Given the challenges in modern construction and development, the successful delivery of such a major event, to which 80 per cent of all participants and spectators will travel by public transport, provides a unique chance to demonstrate the positive opportunities for modern, professionally managed public transport systems in future developments in the UK.
From a construction economics perspective, the planning of these facilities on a whole life cycle cost basis allied to a whole life management and maintenance strategy will provide a sound basis for future transportation schemes in our major cities.
It will be an achievement to make long-term use of the infrastructure, which is planned to serve an event that lasts from July 27 to September 12, 2012.
The event also provides opportunities for the construction industry to develop its existing skills and to train current and new entrants into the industry on a scale that has not existed in this country for a century or more.
Until the development of the Channel Tunnel and the associated rail links, the most recent developments in transport infrastructure dated from the beginning of the 20th century.
The construction programme will also provide an opportunity to review the cultural issues within the industry and to address the perception that UK construction is uncompetitive on a European scale.
Better supply chain management supported by the choice of the NEC contract as the preferred arrangement for construction activities will go a long way toward sat isfying this need.
There is a considerable learning benefit to be derived from these committed schemes - defining project control skills in programme and cost management on large infrastructure schemes.
If the infrastructure for the event can be successfully developed, this will give the industry encouragement to pursue schemes elsewhere in the UK to address the traffic congestion problems in major cities arising from an overdue need to renew or replace Victorian transport infrastructure.
The early decisions taken by the ODA towards the provision of infrastructure are encouraging but I hope that industry can build on them to make long-term improvements to its education, training and project delivery culture and to transfer those skills elsewhere in the UK.