Climate Mitigation and the Irish Transport Sector
Back in December, just days before the historic COP21 Paris Agreement, Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie attended a forum hosted by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) to explore the Opportunities and Challenges for Climate Mitigation in the Irish Transport Sector. The NESC “advises the Taoiseach on strategic policy issues relating to sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Ireland”.
Mike McKillen, chair of Cyclist.ie, was on the panel discussing “Social and Behavioural Change; Travel Demand Management—Practical Solutions and Potential Opportunities”. Cycling related points raised during the day were -
- Resurgence of interest in the area of cycling, which is encouraged through specific schemes such as the Western Greenway. Although this is primarily a tourism initiative, it has had a knock-on effect in terms of interest and engagement in cycling. Indeed, a number of areas across Ireland have replicated or are planning to replicate this model.
- It is important to understand why in some communities cycling infrastructure is not being utilised as well as in others.
- The need to create additional alternative transport options (to the car) to encourage public buy-in was also mentioned—for example it would be very useful to have cycleability and walking audits conducted on residential and urban areas.
- There is an obsession with doing all trips by car and that we need to increase the numbers of children cycling and walking to school.
- To create more appeal for cycling and walking among teenagers, particularly girls who cycle less than boys their age, and promote safe routes to school with more focus on walkability for urban areas.
- Permeability is not always supported in communities but is needed for good mobility/accessibility strategies.
- We need to be strategic about cycle-path planning—put them in where you can plan an end.
- Electric Vehicles (EVs) do not have a good fit with the transport hierarchy and the need to ease traffic congestion, and called for priority to be given to encourage walking and cycling as alternative modes to the car.
- Will there be money for walking and cycling projects? The importance of having access to funding to get things done was also acknowledged.
- Specific motivational ideas, including the development of walking and cycle strategies at city/county council level, and the introduction of initiatives to encourage the creation of sustainable communities and prioritisation of active travel, were shared.
Should you wish to read more, the summary document of the day’s proceeding and the discussion paper prepared by David Browne that formed the basis of the day are both attached below.
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