An overview of transportation in Ireland and the design of the National Cycle Network
Friday, October 11, noon to 1
Presentation by Visiting Scholar Richard Manton, PhD candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Visiting Scholar at SafeTREC.
In the last 25 years, Ireland has followed the US down the road of car-oriented development and unsustainable transport. However, positive developments in the last five years show the potential for Ireland to move to safer, more sustainable modes of transportation. One such development is the National Cycle Network.
Similarly to the US, driving a car to work continues to gain ground in Ireland, and the country is presented with major challenges in environment and health as a consequence. In safety, at least, Ireland has had some major successes. In 40 years, the number of fatalities has fallen from 640 to 162, a drop of 75%. Such improvements in road safety have been attributed to a combination of education, enforcement and engineering. Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have each fallen by 66% in 20 years; however, this could be attributed to the lower numbers of people walking and cycling. Nevertheless, disproportionate numbers of pedestrians and cyclists are killed and injured on Ireland’s roads.
Cycling has significant potential to get drivers out of their cars and is undergoing a renaissance in Ireland at present. Developments since 2009 include a National Cycle Network, Cycle to Work Scheme, Dublin Bikes Scheme, Smarter Travel Areas and a range of policy initiatives. Between 2006 and 2011, the commuting modal share of cycling marginally increased - the first increase since the 1980s – to 2.5%. Walking, which was strong in Ireland, has been falling at a rate of 1% mode share every 5 years and now only represents 10% of trips to work.
A 2,000 km National Cycle Network (NCN) was proposed in 2010 as part of a cycle policy which targets a 10% cycle commuting share by 2020. The NCN will be modelled on international networks, will be predominantly inter-urban and greenway based, and forms part of EuroVelo, the European Cycle Network. Research at NUI Galway is underway to develop criteria for route selection of the NCN corridors, considering safety, economy, environment, connectivity and route design. Surveys, CBA, LCA and best practice will develop a quantitative basis for each criterion and feed into an overall route selection matrix using multi-criteria analysis. The case study for this methodology is a coast to coast route from the capital, Dublin (metropolitan area pop: 1 million), in the east to Galway (pop: 75,000) in the west.
Richard Manton is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering at the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Visiting Scholar at SafeTREC. The subject of his research is designing for walking and cycling and he is funded by NUI Galway and the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. His interests include the route selection of long-distance walking and cycling routes, pedestrian and cyclist safety, design of greenways, permeability of the built environment, and embodied carbon of transport infrastructure.