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Smooth Traffic Plan Critical to Live Event Success

Whether your organization is staging a music festival, an arts and crafts show, a county fair, or another large event, logistics are everything when it comes to delivering a safe and enjoyable experience to your guests. Parking is one of the major logistical challenges for events large and small, and effective planning and use of parking supplies can spell the difference between smooth sailing and a train wreck.

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Millions of Americans will attend live performances and concerts, trade shows, and other events this year. Music festivals alone are expected to draw more than 32 million visitors this year – more people than the population of Texas –  according to Billboard magazine. While mass transit options will transport many attendees to the festivals and events they intend to visit, particularly in urban areas, many of the millions of people attending events will travel there in their own vehicle or a friend’s.

Much of the challenge involved in managing traffic and parking for events lies in establishing an orderly system for getting visitors into the parking facility and to available parking spaces. Proper use of parking lot equipment, such as signs, cones, and barriers, can help event managers ensure tight control over event traffic and parking.

Signs Vital for Event Control

Surveys of festival and event attendees frequently find that parking is a major source of complaint. For example, a survey published in Successful Event Management: A Practical Handbook found that 48 percent of attendees at the Middleburg Music Festival felt that post-event congestion in the parking lot was a major problem. The survey also found that 27 percent felt traffic congestion was a problem before and after the event.

Event Crowd

Because traffic problems are so frequently complained about by event attendees, it is important for event planners to ensure traffic flows as smoothly as possible. With good quality signs, event planners can communicate important information to attendees in an efficient manner. When signs are visible and understandable, they provide drivers with important information, such as directions to parking areas, no entry warnings, and directives to stop or proceed with caution.

Good Parking Signs Need to Be:

  • Visible – Your parking signs are useless if no one can see them. Parking signs should be sufficiently large enough to be seen from many yards away. Their shape and coloration should also be attention-getting. Placement of your signs is also important.
  • Legible – Verbiage on your signs needs to be readable. Fonts should be clear and distinguishable, and the letters, numbers, and symbols on your sign should be large enough to be seen from afar.
  • Understandable – Your signs should use industry standard lettering and symbols. Pictures and graphics on your signs should be instantly understandable by people who see them. Also, consider the language of the area where you are hosting your event. In some areas, non-English signs may be necessary to accommodate your guests.
  • Sturdy – A sign that tips over in the wind or otherwise can’t withstand the elements isn’t very useful. Your signs should be made from high quality materials and be capable of enduring the environment in which they are placed.

Where you choose to place your signs is also important. Parking lot equipment needs to be placed in areas where it is easy to see. Having your sign behind a bush or tree or too low to the ground will impair its effectiveness. Signs also need to be placed where they do not interfere with traffic. A sign placed too close to a lane or in between two narrow lanes can cause problems.

Creating Safe Walking Areas

Pedestrian Crosswalk SignIn addition to ensuring smooth traffic flow throughout the parking area for your event, it’s also important to ensure that pedestrians walking from their vehicles to the venue have safe paths to take. Pedestrian accidents have risen precipitously in recent years, particularly in large urban areas.

Parking equipment such as ropes, signs, and barricades can help keep pedestrians from venturing into perilous areas. Pedestrian-only areas should be clearly marked with appropriate signage. Signs directing drivers to slow down in pedestrian frequented areas should also be clear and visible.

Get Attention

Event Parking SignSometimes parking signs need a little something extra to attract the attention they need. At big events, it’s easy for drivers or pedestrians to miss important signs as their attention is diverted by the crowds or a glimpse of some of the event’s attractions. Adding motion can help signs get noticed.

ParkingZone’s weatherproof Sign Waving Machine provides a sturdy device that can be deployed in just about any weather to help direct travelers to event parking or other places of note. The device has a robust custom built motor powered by a rechargeable 12-volt battery. When deployed, the device moves the 2-foot by 4-foot customizable sign attached to it in an occulting, circular motion that helps draw attention to the sign. These notice-grabbing signs are great for providing directions and safety instructions in a fun and engaging way.

View the video on the Sign Waving Machine product page.

Treating VIPs Like VIPs

event-vipsOpinion influencers like elected officials, top journalists, renowned artists, and celebrities can help raise the profile of your event. They can also sink it if they have a bad time. Treating VIPs like the rock stars that they are can help get positive buzz for your event.

Giving VIPs easy, both discrete and discreet access to your event is important to stay on their good side. VIPs don’t want to wait in line, and they don’t want to be hassled. A separate parking area and special entrance for your most important guests can help eliminate any delays that might annoy them.

Restricted access lounges and viewing areas with lots of amenities will also appeal to VIP guests. To ensure your important guests have the best experience possible, it also helps to assign staff with the authority to facilitate VIP requests for special services.

Signs have a role in VIP service. Signs can direct VIPs to their special parking and lounge areas. They can also serve to warn off non-VIPs from restricted areas.

Valet Parking SignValet Parking
For some events, valet service can help facilitate easier parking. If your event uses valet parking, signs are needed to make it clear to visitors that valet parking is available or mandatory. Barriers and ropes can also facilitate safe entry and exit from the parking area.

Consequences of Poor Parking Plans

A bad or non-existent parking plan isn’t just an inconvenience to visitors; it can also impact event operations, safety, and profitability. According to the NHTSA statistics, nearly one in every five traffic accidents occurs in a parking lot. Parking lot accidents account for nearly 14 percent of all auto insurance claims.

Nothing will ruin a festival goer’s experience like getting in a traffic accident and having to deal with their insurer. Accidents can also create further problems for events, like traffic snarls and further fender benders.

Parking Barrier Gate

Some common causes of parking lot accidents include:

  • Drivers keeping their eye on a parking space and failing to notice other vehicles or pedestrians in their path.
  • Non-enforcement of regular traffic laws in parking lots, creating an atmosphere of chaos and confusion.
  • Backing out of parking spaces and failing to see pedestrians or other vehicles in blind spots.
  • Congestion in parking lots.
  • Traveling the wrong way in a parking lot lane.

Lawsuits can arise if people involved in an accident at an event can allege that negligent or malicious behavior on the part of event employees contributed to the accident. If personal injuries are involved, the cost of such litigation can be quite expensive.


If reports of parking congestion and problems get out during your event, it may deter some attendees from coming. If they can cancel their tickets or have yet to buy them, this translates into lost revenue for your festival or show.

Even after the event, bad parking can cause problems. If you’re hosting an annual event, customer complaints about the parking situation can hurt business for next year’s festival or show.

Event planners searching for quality signage need a partner they can trust to provide the right products and offer practical advice on how to best deploy them. ParkingZone provides traffic and parking equipment solutions to a variety of clients, including parking garages, event managers, and more. The company offers a diverse line of quality products at a variety of price points.

Established in 1987, ParkingZone has established a strong reputation for offering quality products and timely service. For event planners who want to ensure that their festival, show, or other event has safe, easy parking, ParkingZone’s valet parking supplies, parking signs, parking cones, and other products provide the logistical help they need. Check out ParkingZone’s website today or call 1-800-292-7275.



ParkingZone provides traffic and parking equipment solutions to a variety of clients, including parking garages, event managers, and more.

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