Hosting the Olympic Games was an opportunity to accelerate the expansion of the Athens transport system, creating lasting benefits for the city’s population of approximately five million inhabitants.
A total of about 140km of main road facilities were constructed to relieve traffic congestion; and much of Attica Road – a modern motorway of 67km passing through 30 municipalities of Attica with 32 junctions and 15 pedestrian bridges – was renewed and repaired.
The Athens metro system, which connects more than 20 municipalities of Attica, opened two new lines ahead of the Olympic Games, reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, and improving the quality of life of local citizens. It has been estimated that the metro has reduced the daily number of cars in the city centre by 70,000. Other metro lines were extended to reach the inner suburbs of Athens; and new bus terminals were created close to the metro stations, easing traffic congestion. The metro now reaches Athens Airport, located about 30km away from the city centre, in 20 minutes.
In preparation for the Olympic Games, in an effort to improve environmental conditions, more than 2,000 city buses were replaced by those running on environmentally friendly fuels. A decade and a half after the Games, Athens has a fleet of 614 buses that run on compressed natural gas and 366 electric trolleys.
Rail improvements were also made and a modern railway system was inaugurated. A new tramline was introduced, connecting the centre of Athens with the east coast, and the Olympic complexes of Phaleron and Hellinikon.