Sustainable Mobility Policy is Priority for Climate and Energy Use Plans
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton have launched the Department of Transport’s Sustainable Mobility Policy which sets out a national framework for active travel and public transport to 2030.
The Sustainable Mobility Policy will play a key role in supporting Ireland’s goal to half its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It will make it easier for people to choose walking, cycling and public transport daily instead of having to use a petrol or diesel car. The policy’s action plan to 2025 includes actions to improve and expand sustainable mobility options across the country by providing safe, green, accessible and efficient alternatives to car journeys. It also includes demand management and behavioural change measures to manage daily travel demand more efficiently and to reduce the journeys taken by private car.
To achieve Ireland’s targeted 51% emissions reduction by 2030, the plan aims to deliver at least 500,000 additional daily active travel and public transport journeys by 2030 and a 10% reduction in the number of kilometres driven by fossil fuelled cars.
Transport is central to Ireland’s decarbonisation efforts. In 2020, road transport alone accounted for 94% of transport emissions. Road transport also contributes to increased levels of noise, collisions, congestion and pollutants that can have a negative impact on people’s health and the environment. Private car use remains the most frequent mode of travel today counting for 74% of all journeys nationally, compared to 14% of journeys by walking, 2% by cycling and 7% by bus and rail. There are geographic variations with differences in active travel and bus and rail journeys in urban and rural areas.
Minister Ryan said, “this is an important new policy which is central to ensuring that we meet our ambitious climate targets. It is all about getting people moving in a greener way, by choosing walking, cycling or public transport over fossil-fuelled vehicles, and helping people choose more sustainable options. Sustainable mobility also helps improve our quality of life and bring life back into our cities, towns and villages. We’ve listened to our stakeholders in developing this policy and action plan to focus on the right measures to make it easier for more people to travel by sustainable modes and make fewer car journeys”
Minister Naughton said, “while sustainable mobility is a critical pillar of our climate agenda, the benefits are not just environmental. There are also health benefits, from increased physical activity and safer roads, societal benefits, from improved connections between our rural, urban and suburban communities, and economic benefits, from reduced traffic congestion and greater access to job opportunities. As we invest almost €1 million every day on walking and cycling projects, Phase 1 of the new Safe Routes to School Programme continues to roll out, targeting infrastructure to allow our children and their families to activate their daily commute to the classroom in a safe and sustainable way.”
Key action areas in the policy include:
• Improving the safety of walking, cycling and public transport networks and making them more accessible for all users.
• Moving the public transport fleet to low and zero emission vehicles.
• Commencing delivery of BusConnects in our cities and Connecting Ireland in rural areas.
• Improving rail infrastructure and services.
• Introducing a more attractive fare structure.
• Reallocating road space to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport.
• Adopting a transport-orientated approach to housing development to place new housing close to public transport.
• Making it easier to switch between different modes.
New measures will also be put in place to improve the delivery of sustainable mobility policy including:
• A Leadership Group to drive implementation of the policy and agree a programme of ‘pathfinder’ projects at local level.
• A new annual National Household Travel Survey.
• A new National Sustainable Mobility Forum to engage with stakeholders.
• A public engagement strategy to promote the benefits of sustainable mobility and raise public awareness of options.
The Sustainable Mobility Policy and the action plan to 2025 can be found here.