Dublin Traffic Plan needs clear timetable to meet Climate Change Targets
This Strategy needs to achieve a timetabled and clearly implemented programme to address the current mounting congestion and traffic generated pollution and climate emission impact in the Greater Dublin and surrounding counties.
However, current land use transport planning in and around the Greater Dublin Area, is worsening the situation through the combined failure of National Transport Policy for reducing congestion and the ignoring the 48 actions provided in the Department’s "Smarter Travel....A NEW TRANSPORT POLICY FOR IRELAND 2009-2020".
Congestion is back to 2008 boom time levels. This increases polluting transport greenhouse gas emissions which have risen by 2.1 % in 2013 over 2012 levels. The 2014 data, which is due for formal publication by the EPA shortly, is projected to show a similar increase and puts Ireland on a path of way overshooting EU 2020 Climate targets, when combined with Agricultural emissions and inadequate action on heating. [Note 2]
Congestion also affects economic productivity, slows down public transport and service vehicle movement, undermines cycling and causes local air pollution in particle emissions, particularly from diesel vehicles. Parallel to this is the impact of car dependence is contributing to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.
An Taisce contend that the immediate and longer term cost of congestion, climate, air pollution impact and inefficient land use, is not sufficiently quantified in strategic planning and decision making.
The most positive element of the Draft strategy is the manner in which it clearly defines transport corridors and the evaluation of options for each corridor.
However an overriding critique is the lack of clear timetables and targets for modal shift, congestion reduction and emissions and other relevant considerations. A strategy is meaningless without timetables and targets.
While an impressive vision of a 2035 network is set out for the GDA, this follows a pattern of adopting very distant planning transport planning targets. Since the Dublin Transport Initiative in the early 1990’s there has been a succession of ambitious transport plans and strategies, while the reality has been the abandonment of any effective strategic planning generally and major projects including the DART Interconnector, Metro North and Metro West.
The strategy needs to be revised and be linked to clearly timetabled actions and targets up to 2020 and each 5 yearly period thereafter.
New public transport investment will take some time in planning and implementation so the following are required:
- Immediate emergency measures to reduce traffic generation, congestion and emissions through new park and ride services, workplace and school travel plans, cycling enhancement and promotion of car sharing.
- Provision of Park and Ride facilities targeted at enhancing non car based travel to major employment clusters.
- Promotion of Workplace travel plans including car sharing, where public transport or cycling is not a viable option.
- Promotion of school travel plans, so as to significantly reduce car based travel.
- Promotion of increased and safe cycling use, including the extension of 30kph zones.
These measures can be achieved through a task force involving more efficient co operation between Department of Transport NTA, Local Authorities, communities and business and environmental organizations.
An Taisce with its established role in school travel, and overview on spatial planning and development nationally, can play a key and constructive part in this.
For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 241 1995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
Note 1. An Taisce's Submission to National Transport Authority on Greater Dublin Area Draft Transport Strategy http://www.antaisce.org/articles/national-transport-authority-consultation-on-greater-dublin-area-draft-transport-strategy
Note 2. http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/airemissions/GHGprov.pdf