Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Active Travel and Urban Planning Focusing on Cycling: Discussion
I welcome members, and also viewers who may be watching our proceedings on Oireachtas TV, to the third public session of the Joint Committee on Climate Action. At the request of the broadcasting and recording services, members and visitors in the Public Gallery are requested to ensure that mobile phones are turned off or switched to aeroplane mode for the duration of the meeting because they interfere with the sound system.
On behalf of the committee, I extend a warm welcome to Mr. Fabian Küster from the European Cyclists Federation, Mr. Brian Deegan from Urban Movement and Dr. Rachel Aldred from the University of Westminster. I advise them that, by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. If they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. Members are reminded of the long-standing ruling of the Chair to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the House or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
I invite Mr. Küster to make his opening statement or does one of the other want to start?
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
I thank the committee for inviting me. In leading off, I want to make four points, the first of which relates to the scope for increasing active travel in Ireland. Sometimes people think there is no scope to shift from walking to cycling because trips made are too long but it is worth pointing out that 57% of trips made in Ireland are under 8 km. Even if we exclude Dublin residents, whose trips tend to be shorter, 50% of trips made by people living in Ireland are under 8 km, so there is a lot of scope in that regard. Currently, three quarters of trips are made by car, as are two thirds of trips even in densely populated areas. If we look at the shortest trips, half of all trips under 2 km are driven, as are two thirds of all trips between 2 km and 4 km. The percentage for walking is 15% and 2% for cycling. Members will see that there is a big gap between current levels of active travel and what might be possible. For longer trips, there is the potential to use ebikes, particularly for trips of 8 km or more or for hilly trips. Mr. Küster will talk more about that. For longer journeys, active travel and public transport can be mutually supportive. My first point is that there is good deal of scope to get more people walking and cycling here.
There is a need for change. When we think about emissions reductions, technological change alone will not be enough to meet policy goals over the short timeframes necessary. We need that technological change but we also need substantial behaviour change, that is, cleaner vehicles but also fewer vehicles. We should be thinking about co-benefits also. Strategies to avoid climate crisis should maximise the co-benefits - the additional benefits - and minimise the disbenefits. If we think about increasing active travel and walking and cycling, there are major co-benefits we can get from this that we do not get from a switch to cleaner fuels, for example. In terms of physical activity health benefits, and studies look at a shift to active travel, walking and cycling, there are always major health benefits from getting more people physically active. We also have a physical inactivity crisis. There is also better access to jobs and services for people on lower incomes. People on low incomes often struggle to afford cars or public transport. If walking and cycling are possible for such people, they can have many more opportunities.
Looking at what has happened regarding children's independence in other European countries, it can be seen that in the past few decades children who used to be able to roam freely are now often prisoners in their own homes because they are not able to get out and about because of the risk from motor traffic. We should also be thinking about the independence of older people through their life course. A whole range of benefits can be derived from more walking and cycling.
Can we achieve this change, however? It is often easy to think that while there are many trips of 8 km or less and lots of scope, it is also the case that we do not have a culture of walking or cycling. Can we really bring this shift about? The good thing is that evidence increasingly shows that we can make a difference, even in car-dependent contexts and in contexts where the culture of cycling has been lost. This is really about improving conditions for active travel and making car use less attractive. Mr. Deegan will talk more about that later.
Turning to city level, London, for instance, saw its population increase by 2 million people over the past 20 years. All of the transport models would predict a big increase in car trips in that context of an increased population and more income. That did not happen, however. The number of car trips did not increase. The figure actually declined slightly despite there being 2 million extra people in the city. The mode share for trips driven fell by 52% to 38%. That has been a major shift and it shows that this is possible. There is also academic evidence from studies looking at specific interventions. I will give one example from Cambridge in England called the Cambridge guided busway cycleway. That has been shown to lead to increased active travel, particularly walking and cycling in rural areas and especially in households with children. My own work has shown that restricting the access of motor vehicles through neighbourhoods in outer London has led to a 20% reduction in past-week car use for residents in those areas. We have evidence, therefore, that these initiatives do work.
Moving on, I will comment on how we can achieve change. Evidence shows that motor traffic is the fundamental barrier to getting more people walking and cycling. People do not want to mix with motor traffic and that problem remains with electric vehicles. They may be more pleasant to interact with than vehicles belching diesel fumes but electric vehicles are still a problem for walkers and cyclists. We need a step change for cycling. We need safe, separated cycleways on major roads and there is a consensus of evidence on that point. Minor roads are only really cycle-friendly if there are low speed levels and low volumes of motor traffic. A residential road is not necessarily somewhere people will let their children cycle if many cars are cutting through the area.
One specific point I wanted to make was that car-dominated environments particularly dissuade women from cycling, as well as other under-represented groups and people travelling with children. That is something that may also affect gender balance. It is worth considering that safe cycle infrastructure may fall under the public sector's duty to equality and human rights. That is because if we do not have environments that enable cycling then women, children and older people are disproportionately put off from cycling.
Regarding walking, many European countries already have a basic footway network but much change still needs to happen. Such change has to focus on a reduction in the dominance of motor traffic, as well as its speed. Making those changes can increase levels of walking, improve the walking experience and free up space to put in benches, green spaces etc. This is again an issue of equality. These types of changes will particularly benefit disabled pedestrians. My research has found they are disproportionately at risk of being injured by motor vehicles. Given that we have an urgent need for change and major political challenges in many contexts regarding implementation, it is worth considering the use of trials and temporary interventions. These can be quick and effective and can provide crucial data early on regarding what works and what may need to be adapted in a given context.
Mr. Fabian Küster:
Yes, that is fine. I thank the committee for the invitation. It is a pleasure and honour to be here. I want to kick off my presentation by giving some context to where we are with levels of cycling in Europe. I will refer to a chart from a 2014 Eurobarometer survey question which asked people which mode of transport they used most often on a typical day. The European average for the use of bicycles was 8%, while Ireland's rate stood at 2%. The European champion in this regard was the Netherlands at 36%. There is a factor of 1:18 between Ireland and the Netherlands. While there is a considerable margin of error in these data, we all agree, as Dr. Aldred already mentioned, that there is much unrealised potential here in Ireland to grow cycling.
An excellent occasion on which to make that commitment to grow cycling would have been in the draft national energy and climate plan, NECP, which member states had to submit by the end of 2018 to the European Commission. We analysed those 28 draft NECPs and we have come to the conclusion that Ireland missed an opportunity to position cycling better as an effective tool to help decarbonise the transport sector. Ireland is obviously in good company in that regard. Many countries did not score very well but it was still a missed opportunity. We also looked at Ireland's national climate plan, which I understand came out just last week. The picture in that context is much better for cycling. I was particularly intrigued by action No. 97 to commence full implementation of the national cycling policy framework.
Action No. 97 is listed in the annexe of actions to the national climate plan. One sentence in particular caught my attention. It is the last sentence in that section and states "Current transport infrastructure programmes to immediately be revised to achieve at least 10% expenditure on facilitating cycling." That really would be a game changer if 10% of transport investment was in cycling. I will put this in context. The European champion, the Netherlands, invests about 7% so Ireland would go above that level. The Netherlands, however, has been investing at that rate for many years. The country started investing in cycling some 40 years ago and never went below a 15% cycling mode share. It has always had a better starting point. It would still, however, be a major step in the right direction if Ireland did make this choice.
I also want to applaud Ireland on its plans to go electric. There is one major omission in the strategy, however, and that is leaving out the electric bicycle, e-bike. We know the e-bike has a certain element of comfort, it brings more people to cycling and often over longer distances. It opens up opportunities for commuters, for the elderly, for people who are less fit and for people living in hilly areas. If one vehicle has the potential to substitute for car trips it is the e-bike, certainly in areas where there is poor public transport coverage. That is also the case for freight deliveries in cities. The cargo e-bike is a great solution for first and last-mile deliveries.
In my submission, there is a chart which shows the rapid development of the e-bike market. In 2017, more than 2 million e-bikes were sold in the EU. There was an average growth rate of 22% between 2015 and 2017. Were that trend to continue for the next 11 years, we would see sales of 13 million units in 2030 alone. There is, therefore, huge potential for e-bikes across Europe. Why is the market growing? One reason is that some member states have given financial incentives for e-bikes. France, for example, introduced a €200 purchase subsidy and the sales figures between 2016 and 2017 almost doubled as a result. An ex-postanalysis was also carried out with people who bought e-bikes and it was found that 61% of new e-bike trips replaced car trips. There is major potential here to get people out of their cars.
I also understand that Irish employees can get a bicycle from their employer every five years and that this policy is fiscally stimulated. If I am informed correctly, however, there is a cap on the price of the bicycle, which is set at €1,000. That effectively excludes e-bikes. It would be an idea to raise that cap. If Ireland wants to go that extra mile, it might consider something like what has been done in Belgium. A cycle allowance has been introduced there for commuters. The employer can pay the employee 23 cent tax free for every kilometre cycled to and from work. To give an example, I live about 7 km from where I work and I get about €60 to €70, tax free, every month from my employer. I think that is a nice stimulus. Cycling to work has been increasing by more than 40% over the past 12 years in Belgium.
As for my third recommendation, e-bikes are expensive and need to be parked easily and safely. It is crucial to get this piece of infrastructure right. When we did a European comparative analysis of how member states are regulating off-street bicycle parking, we found that six member states have minimum national laws in place whereas Ireland merely has non-binding guidelines. Perhaps Ireland could be inspired by what other member states have been doing in this regard. I will conclude on that note. I think Ireland has done a good job with its climate action plan but there is room for improvement nonetheless.
Mr. Brian Deegan:
We probably all agree that active travel is the key to climate change as one of the clearest methods of tackling it. I want to talk about other issues like health, safety and social justice as well. Our focus on such issues has helped us to make the case for active travel in the UK.
Before I get into the more technical side of this issue, I will set out my personal experience. I was raised in the Moss Side area of Manchester, which is a quite rough inner-city area. When I was young, I used to play football on the cobbled streets. I see nodding faces around the room. I am sure we all had similar childhoods that involved playing outside. Asphalt was put down on the streets one day in the name of progress. We wondered what was this new stuff that had arrived on our streets. It suddenly became quite difficult to play football because we could not get out of the way of the cars in time. We did not have enough space. The streets ceased to be places in which we could play. My friend Stephen got run over by a car. He was not killed but it made it difficult for him to concentrate and he slipped out of school and suffered from social problems. Parents started to wonder what they were doing letting their kids play outside when so many cars were speeding around. They began bringing their children back into their houses. I am sure we all recognise this pattern. The only kids who were left outside were bad kids like me. All of this was in the late 1970s. A few years on, in the early 1980s, the presence of young people on the streets in Moss Side meant they were up to no good. The police started coming around, throwing us in the back of vans and beating us just for being on the street. That is how socially uncohesive it got. When one kid eventually got killed, the riots started. All the streets were burned down and all the shops were smashed in.
That is my personal experience of the design of streets. I know it is a powerful way to start my presentation. I see some faces wondering where this is going. I will get to the technical part of my presentation. I want members of the committee to understand that the way we design streets has a strong effect on people's lives. We must acknowledge that we can create behaviours through our decisions. A simple change in material ruined my entire childhood and cultural experience. I will mention some evidence that supports this contention. A famous study by Donald Appleyard showed that social cohesion is inversely proportional to traffic flow. The more cars there are going down a street, the less likely people are to talk to one another. According to new research in the UK, children in deprived areas are three times more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents. We have a great deal of evidence about London thanks to the work of Dr. Aldred and others. Research has shown that in London, where most people do not drive, car ownership is the greatest indicator of poor health. The sheer ownership of a car means that one is more likely to get certain conditions. All of this must be unpacked.
I want to talk about the network planning that can be done to overcome these problems. I will start by setting out what we have done in Manchester over the past year. As I have highlighted, it is a very car-dominated area. When I began to work with Mr. Chris Boardman, we decided to start from scratch by doing some network planning sessions with local councillors, engineers, planners and cycling and walking advocates. We got them in a room with a pen and a blank map and asked them to look at the situation. I pulled out a red pen and asked those present to list the locations where things were bad. I recommend that a similar approach should be taken elsewhere. I asked people to tell me about all the busy roads, rat runs and streets that were difficult to cross or cycle on. I wanted to get people to focus their minds on what they had done to the area and to acknowledge the barriers that had been created. When that element of the project had been finished, we flipped it to look at the other locations where we were being told that everything was okay. We found from doing this network planning session that 80% of the streets in our urban areas are okay. That is the good news side of it. We have not quite ruined everywhere yet. There is still time to address climate change issues. I pulled out a green pen and invited those present to plot some crossings across the difficult roads to connect areas that were all right with other areas that were all right. We went through a process of joining the dots across the network to open up certain areas.
In most cases, the immediate place where one lives is normally quite all right for walking and cycling purposes, but one does not have to go too far before one comes across a barrier. Then it is a case of how to get across the barrier. If one is riding on one's bike, one will turn around because one cannot go that way. There are plenty of factors to be considered in that context. We realised that if we put in a crossing in order that people could get to the other side where the other stuff is all right, people would understand how a network could be put together quite simply. We showed that by strategically placing crossings around greater Manchester, in three years we could open up a network of over 1,000 miles from which 92% of the population would benefit. That is one of the key things I want to talk about.
I also want to mention the economic side of this argument. As Dr. Aldred has said, the problem is the car. Research recently published by the EU Commission quantifies the true cost of subsidising cars across the EU as €1 trillion per annum. This research has been broken down on a national level by the technical institute in Dresden. I do not know whether members of the committee are aware that Ireland is paying €3 billion a year to subsidise cars. This is not what car owners are paying in taxes; this is the external cost for everybody. Every man, woman and child in Ireland is paying €650 a year to subsidise cars. The family of a child in a deprived area, who is three times more likely to get hit by a car, is also much less likely to own a car. Members can see why I referred to social justice at the outset. We are paying for this. Someone has to foot the bill. I am getting passionate because it is difficult to get these things off the ground. I have spent 20 years trying to build stuff and facing every kind of opposition possible. We seem to be at some kind of tipping point now. The evidence that has built up is overwhelming. I thank the people around me for it. There is no way of avoiding the need to do something for pedestrians and cyclists. Maybe we should give it a try. That is certainly the case in Manchester, where we have gone as far with automobility as most places. My challenge to the committee is to exercise tools like legislation, encouragement and enforcement that are at its disposal. They need to be exercised now, because the planet is not waiting. The approach to network planning that was taken in Manchester represents a kind of first step to be acknowledged. I know that this country has had issues with top-down planning, particularly in the case of the Dublin cycling network. Perhaps all relevant parties could be invited to come together to come up with a plan. It is only by working together and collaborating that we can plan to get out of this mess.
I thank Dr. Aldred, Mr Küster and Mr. Deegan. I would like to pick up on Mr. Deegan's final comment. As he is aware, the National Transport Authority is trying to roll out the BusConnects programme. This bus network will provide 230 km of bus lanes and 200 km of segregated cycle lanes on 16 key routes coming into the city. Mr. Deegan is probably aware that there has been a great deal of local resistance to the roll-out of BusConnects, particularly where it is proposed to cut trees down. Does he have any advice for us on how to balance the public interest in ensuring we have adequate infrastructure for public transport and cycling when we are making the physical changes needed to build this infrastructure?
My second question relates to e-scooters and e-bikes. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has commissioned a review of the safety of such transport. We need to regulate e-scooters here. The review is being carried out by the Road Safety Authority. As for France, while Mr. Küster provided some good figures, I understand from watching media coverage of what is happening there that problems are being encountered. The uptake is very good but there is a lack of regulation. As e-scooters and e-bikes come on board, we do not want a lack of regulation to allow them to be used on footpaths because that would upset everybody.
Our guests were talking about those who were disabled and pedestrians and ensuring the issue of safety was regulated. This is new to us as we now see e-scooters in Ireland. We need to work on the issue of their regulation, which we are doing. What is the advice in that regard and where has it worked well in other jurisdictions?
Mr. Brian Keegan:
I certainly have the most experience of delivering schemes, facing opposition to them and developing tactics to overcome difficulties. At one stage in London we stopped using the word "cycling" altogether because it had become so toxic. As soon as we included the word in a consultation process, there were a group of people who automatically replied "No", including, for example, all taxi drivers. We then scrambled to get cycle campaigners to say "Yes" in order to have balance. I have learned a great deal in the past 20 years, having faced several judicial reviews. At one stage I did not think I was doing my job properly unless I ended up in court. One of the things to bear in mind is that it will be a problem.
Part of my talk was going to be about change and how reluctant people were to change. In Manchester sometimes we have to fight that battle. We will, for example, have a core corridor, one main route, into town. It will be for the greater good and I will both battle and defend. One has to ask what level of consultation is really needed. One also knows that it needs to happen as part of the overall aims of society. One has to show some strength and make it happen.
There are other elements to the Manchester programme such as the crossings, for example. Nobody minds them as everybody can see the benefits in being able to cross a difficult road. There might be a residual impact on the network, but it can be a winner.
We have looked at so-called "filtered neighbourhoods" where cars have been stopped from driving through residential cells. If one is taking that approach, it has to be led by the community. It has to come from their mouths. They have to ask for it, rather than saying to them we would quite like to filter the area, because otherwise one will not get very far.
In having core corridors it is a question of being strong and bold and sticking with it. I ask politicians in London to say they will do it and ask how we can have the least worse solution for everybody. If the approach is to ask, "Should we do this?", there will be overwhelming opposition. While people will say they quite like the idea and that they understand this and that, it is a question of saying we will do it and asking how can we ensure it will not adversely affect a person's business and enable him or her to keep doing the things he or she is doing as part of his or her workplace activity. Sometimes one has to be strong, while at other times one has to be as collaborative as possible.
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
I will add one point to what Mr. Keegan said. We must ensure we hear from all sections of the community. Consultations, meetings and so on will not necessarily attract everyone. For instance, we do not hear children's voices enough; we do not hear from them formally in consultations. How do we involve them in decisions that are being made? Very often the decisions adults are making will restrict children's freedom. It is about trying to extend involvement.
I agree that there is need to have a regulatory framework for e-scooters. When one thinks of the risk, one has to look at the distance travelled. They are new and when one moves from zero usage and, therefore, zero injuries, one will have an increase in the number of injuries. Is important to obtain data for usage to look at the risk and compare it with other modes. One also has to look at the risk posed to others. When one looks at risk posed to others, clearly the main risk to pedestrians is posed by motor vehicles. Heavy goods vehicles pose a particular risk to them. Risk should be looked at in these terms. I would be very surprised if such a mode posed a higher risk to pedestrians than motor vehicles. That said, there is a comfort issue in pedestrians feeling comfortable and safe on the footway. The footway is not the place for light electric vehicles travelling at relatively high speeds compared to pedestrians. That is another reason there is a need for better, safe and protected cycle infrastructure. These devices may fit in cycle lanes, but if one does not have safe cycle lanes, people will use them on the footway, which is not desirable. That is another reason to build good cycling infrastructure.
On the use of e-scooters, are there other jurisdictions where they have got regulation right? We are in that phase in Ireland. With the Road Safety Authority, are we looking at how best to regulate them?
Mr. Fabian Küster:
We do not represent users of e-scooters. Therefore, I cannot have an official opinion on the issue, but my private opinion is that everyone is experimenting with this new mobility device. Germany and France have been coming up with national laws. In Germany they are not even on the road yet, but their use will be regulated, which is a strong approach. As a Brussels resident, one sees many service providers using these devices on the street. There are problems with their use on the sidewalk. It is more a symptom of failed infrastructure because the cycle lane is not being used which is where they should be used.
I am just back from Velo-City 2019, to which I will return later. It was really exciting and stimulating. Mr. Keegan's contribution was matched by Alex's from Scotland. I am astounded by the figures. The poorer one is, the more likely it is that one will be hit or run over by a car. He also gave the socio-economic reasons which Mr. Keegan reinforced.
The delegates walked into a trap on the bus corridor issue. The flaw in the Government's proposals on bus corridors is that they are attempting to accommodate car, as well as bike and public, transport. We are talking about the great boulevards, as I call them, into the city which, in some cases, would be absolutely destroyed if the proposals were to go ahead. The context is different.
What are our guests' views on e-bikes which do not the figure at all in the Government's climate action plan? Coming from a conference such as Velo-City 2019 - it is just one conference in one city - one can see that because of its size, scale and make-up e-bikes would be very well suited to this city, but we have to start at the bottom with education. There is nothing in the Government's climate action plan about educating people about the benefits of cycling, never mind e-cycling. There are huge gaps in that regard.
Emissions, particularly in Dublin, are associated with transport, yet the Government's plan puts a heavy focus on the use of electric cars. One could, therefore, end up with one cause of congestion replacing another. If that is the way we go, that is exactly what will happen. Electric cars will congest the city in the same way as diesel and petrol cars. There is very little emphasis on cycling as an alternative. One of the things that dismays me, as a public representative at local level for almost 20 years and at national level for four years, is that the Government has given the National Transport Authority responsibility to drive the cycling piece. If any State agency does not have the confidence of the people because of the manner in which it has attempted to implement phases 1 and 2 of BusConnects, it is the National Transport Authority.
That brings me back to Mr. Keegan's piece about local democracy. When it comes to transport, the process has to be democratic. People must have an input into it and a say. However, I liked what he was saying about leaving out the word "cycling". The first time I heard the phrase "active transport" was in the past few weeks. It is one that is growing on me.
The city bikes scheme has become static. The figures grew exponentially, but they have been static in the past two years, I suspect probably in part because of safety measures.
There are a number of questions I wish to ask our guests about the e-cycling issue. We move from education to tax deductions and incentives, infrastructure, safety, parking, planning and so on. There is not one word about it in the Government's climate action plan, from the development of buildings through to being able to attend a soccer match and parking one's e-bike safely. Visitors to the Velo-City 2019 conference were brought to Drury Street car park to see the only municipal bicycle park in the city.
I would not show it off to anybody. Fair play to Dublin City Council for doing something, but we need legislation and regulation in order that people can come into this city, park their bikes anywhere, and know that they will still be there when they come back. We should also incentivise the car parks. We should legislate to force them to provide bicycle bays. Do the representatives have any information on the reductions in emissions that have come about as a result of cities shifting towards e-bikes or bikes, as opposed to electric vehicles? Are any trends emerging in that regard?
Okay. It may be better to ask all the questions now but, if the Deputy would prefer, the witnesses can give a short answer now. I just want to keep the questions within a ten-minute slot. If the witnesses answer as briefly as they can it will give the Deputy a chance to ask other questions.
Mr. Fabian Küster:
The fact that e-bikes are missing from the climate action plan was pretty much the point of my intervention. I totally agree. A balanced electric mobility strategy is not to be found in this plan. One of its objectives is to have more than 900,000 e-vehicles on the road by 2030, but there is not a single word in the plan about e-bikes. That is a missed opportunity. In my intervention I spoke about the fiscal incentives given in various member states. In France, for example, there is a subsidy of €200 for the purchase of e-bikes. That had a very positive effect on sales figures in France. Some 61% of these new e-bike trips replaced car trips. I assume the French authorities will be able to calculate the amount of CO2 this has saved, but I do not have that figure right now.
I saw a figure from Austria yesterday. The transfer to e-bikes resulted in 13,000 tonnes of carbon per year being saved in one particular area. Will the witnesses comment on the reluctance of women to cycle? This will be my final question. It was briefly mentioned already, but will they develop the point? I am also interested in children cycling. The real measure of a safe cycleway is whether one can allow a child of 11 or 12 years to cycle on it independently. Again there is no mention of this in the climate action plan. What can we do about it? Women represent half the population. How have businesses fared in cities where e-bikes and cycling and associated facilities have been encouraged and where these have replaced cars, car parking spaces, and so on? How have businesses reacted to that?
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
I will be very brief. I can send the Deputy links to studies which looked at emissions reductions arising from the use of e-bikes. There is quite a lot of research in that regard. Women and cycling is a really important issue of equity. In countries in which there is a lot of cycling, such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, cycling is gender equal. Women do want to cycle. When the conditions are right women cycle even more than men in some contexts. In the Netherlands, it is among men in their 20s that a dip in cycling is seen. Women, therefore, clearly do want to cycle. Nearly half of all trips to school in the Netherlands are made by bike. That is incredible. In countries where the infrastructure is not in place, children often have to go to school by car. They do not have the option of cycling. Clearly there is a big need for it.
I led a systematic review of studies on preferences for bike infrastructure by gender. We reviewed more than 50 studies and we found that most studies found a clear difference in that, while both genders wanted separated infrastructure, women had a particularly strong preference. Building protected cycleways is good for everyone but it is particularly important for women. I have also led a study on cycling with children. It can be seen that when people are cycling with children, the bar is raised again. We need that really good infrastructure. Cycleways also need to be direct because as distance increases, the propensity to cycle decreases. This is called a distance decay curve. That curve is particularly steep for women. If we send people around the houses or around three sides of a square to avoid a busy road, it puts women and older people in particular off cycling because they then have to cycle further. It is a kind of double whammy. Women will cycle if we get it right, but we need to provide safe, direct, separated routes.
Another point is that infrastructure should not be built for commuting only. More so than men's trips, women's trips often involve trip-chaining. They may go from the school, to the shop, and then on to work. We do not only need routes for commuting but also safe routes around schools, shops and so on. It is important to build for destinations.
I want to follow up on Dr. Aldred's comment, which goes back to BusConnects. Our future strategy for urban transport focuses on buses while, despite being included in the bus plan, cycle lanes are subordinated. This feeds into Dr. Aldred's point about trip-chaining because the bus plan is very much about central arteries and ignores alternative connectivity within communities. As public representatives and policymakers, should we review BusConnects with a view to making it a plan for transport generally so that cycling can be given equal status as an alternative, while also improving bus transport? Cycling would not be subordinated in such a plan and that connectivity and the trip-chaining Dr. Aldred has mentioned could be facilitated. That is my main comment. I am interested in how we could improve future cycling capacity through our public transport plan. BusConnects does not do that. It is all about central arteries and ignores capital investment in communities away from the central bus lanes which are to be developed.
Mr. Brian Deegan:
That is very much central to London's approach. An example is the inclusion of walking, cycling and public transport in its healthy streets methodologies. We acknowledge that approximately half of walking trips in London are related to public transport. Most cycling in the Netherlands works because of the train system. If these are not integrated as an active travel system, there will be a problem. One of the main points of focus in London is the development of corridors for buses and cycling only. Sometimes these allow access for local freight but there is no through movement for private motor vehicles. We are really pushing that model in London, which fits under the Mayor's healthy streets objectives. I would advise looking at the plan again as it has to be one system. There should not be one group looking at buses, another at cycling, and another at pedestrians. That is a road to ruin because things will just keep wobbling backwards and forwards. Any plan must work for all three. The one that misses out when space is allocated has to be the private car if one is to avoid knocking down buildings. That system works adequately everywhere.
I welcome this afternoon's presentation on where we are going with our cycling strategy. I will not be negative. We need to be proactive and have a debate regarding cyclists and how to promote cycling but, because of our dispersed population, Ireland is different from areas such as London and Manchester. Populations densities are very low in my part of the world, which is very rural and in which the population is very dispersed. How should the strategy address rural areas? There are safety issues in respect of rural transportation, rural cycling, and rural roads. For people on the further side of the constituency in which I live, the nearest shop could be ten or 12 miles away, depending on where they live. The dispersed nature of the Irish population is an issue. What are the implications for rural areas? How can the strategy be improved to ensure that rural people have the option to cycle and experience the benefits of the strategy?
On the other side, we must consider urban planning and how we build infrastructure, particularly for our industries. Local authorities and the manufacturing industry need to promote cycling to work but, on the other side, Ireland experiences nearly 40 in. of rainfall every year. There are, on average, 160 days of wet weather. This is slightly different from weather on the Continent. With regard to urban planning, amenities must be put in place for people who want to cycle to work. They should be able to cycle to work comfortably and then, if the weather requires, be able to change. Has there been a major change in cities such as London and Manchester regarding the design of urban buildings to accommodate cyclists?
Following on from Senator Lombard, I recall when I was going to school - and we are probably all in the same situation as there is not a lot of difference between most of us on this side of the fence - we all cycled to school.
Cycling to school was something that we all did and it was very healthy. Nowadays, however, every mammy and daddy drives little Johnny or Mary to school and almost into the classroom. That has created a huge difficulty for schools and for transport. Is there a way round that? If we start with kids of school age, it is an education process. Obviously our roads have got a lot busier, but there must be a way to reverse that. It was not that long ago that we all cycled to school and I do not recall there being many serious accidents; little Johnny and little Mary went to school and came home safe and sound, and they were far healthier for it.
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
I will start. One policy being used very effectively in Scotland and England is school streets, where people are not allowed to drive through streets when children are arriving or leaving. It makes a massive difference; suddenly, children are safe in their own street on the way to school.
The rural context was mentioned, and it is worth looking at the length of the trips that are made in Ireland. Clearly, trips are longer in rural areas because the population is more dispersed. However, half of all trips made by people living outside Dublin are under 8 km; many trips could potentially be switched. In the Netherlands, rates of cycling in rural areas are very high and are similar to rates in urban areas. The urban design implications are somewhat different but there are interventions to be made around safe cycleways and routes in rural areas, which make it possible for people to cycle. There is the possibility to shift trips, although not as many as in inner city Dublin, but things need to change for that to happen. For cyclists mixing with motor traffic it is very intimidating and speeds are often high, so the context of cycling is often more hostile.
Mr. Brian Deegan:
On the business side of things, in Spain, the small rural community of Pontevedra has banned cars, and everybody wants to go there to do business and live. When Google came to Camden in London, its managing director said it was doing so because of the great cycling infrastructure. I spent 15 years building that and know that it attracts businesses. Most rural areas will want to attract businesses. My family is from the Kilmessan area in rural Ireland, so I know the situation well. If the only offering is no footways and 60 km/h roads that are barely wide enough, that is not a place to set up a business. Ireland is beautiful, with a lot of green, natural capital; people want to live in rural areas but not if they do not have the choice of active travel. It is a way of bringing in business, which is a way of selling it to the rural communities.
Mr. Fabian Küster:
On the weather conditions, I have lots of colleagues from the Mediterranean area and they complain all the time about the bad weather in Brussels, where it always rains. However, the weather in Brussels is similar to the weather in the Netherlands, and there it does not put people off cycling. It is a matter of clothing-----
Mr. Fabian Küster:
There was an article a couple of years ago in The Guardianlisting ten arguments why people were put off cycling. The first seven related to road safety and only the final one related to the weather. It is an argument that we hear time and again but it has been refuted many times.
My point was not to be negative about the cycling industry, but there is a lack of urban design to accommodate people who cycle to work. That is true even at local authority level. For example, Cork County Council local authority has 900 people working in one building, and if they cycle to work in the morning they cannot have a shower, even though it is a new building, built in 2006. In what is being proposed for the design and infrastructure of our urban towns and our villages, is there enough emphasis on ensuring that cyclists have the amenities at work to park, shower and change? With the deepest respect to Belgium and Brussels, it is slightly different here: anyone who was here last Sunday will know what rain is.
Mr. Brian Deegan:
I work for an urban design practice and want to come in on that. I am a judge for Club Peloton, which runs cycle-friendly developers awards. We are really trying to promote that in the UK. I used to work in finance in the City of London, where most people cycle. They are high earners who want to get to work, and there are some amazing facilities there, but it is not often seen because the facilities are inside office blocks. Those are the sorts of people we want to encourage and the businesses that we want to attract, and therefore facilities need to be set up if they are not included as part of planning regulations. If members think that it is not happening here in Ireland, that probably means it is not. It is happening to a large extent in the UK, particularly among high earners, but even that is not well known. In Manchester, we will probably put out a best practice manual soon to promote that, looking at shower facilities, changing and so on. There are amazing examples, and a lot of housing developments in London now put a premium on blocks being car free. People will pay extra for cycling and walking facilities, and the new developments in Waltham Forest are going down that route. People want car-free living, in particular millennials, who do not want the stress of driving all day and waiting for a heart attack; they need to be out there. Encouraging such developments attracts a certain type of people and profession, so members should exert some influence on the planning regulations to make sure that is happening.
I thank all witnesses for their presentations. I want to go back to infrastructure, because we need to start with the basics. In the past 20-odd years, Dublin has developed apartment living, which is something we are not used to, yet there is nothing for bikes. Bikes dangle precariously from balconies and terraces, and it is difficult for somebody to think about getting a bike if they have to take it all the way up the stairs and back down again; it is easier in a house. Even here in Leinster House, our bike stand has no cover. We have not got as far as thinking of it as a priority or encouraging it.
The Luas has transformed our city andma de it look very smart, and we are very proud of it. However, I have fallen off my bike and there are many instances of broken limbs from bikes getting stuck in the ruts of the tramlines. That was not thought about 15 years ago, and the accidents are still going on today. In trying to accommodate the Luas, the traffic and the buses in the infrastructure, the safety of cyclists is not even thought about. We need to prioritise that and perhaps deprioritise the car.
I am cynical about regulations. The panel said that they would not say publicly, but privately, what should be regulated? Scooters are becoming popular in Dublin and there are now more than 2,000 of them, unregulated. I have seen only a handful of e-bikes; they are not that popular. Of the handful I have seen in the city, about three of them were homemade. They are important but the cynic in me worries that if we regulate them, it leaves room for commercial insurance interests to lobby for the toughest regulations, which we do not need. We need to allow people to discover these new modes from transport, which are tweaks from previous modes of transport. As with cycling, there is the potential for risk and danger, but I do not want us to have to answer to insurance companies; although it is a greening of insurance companies, it is also a way of making an awful lot of money from helmets and so on. We will wait for the RSA to come back with its recommendations, but the cynic in me thinks this is an opportunity to be jumped on to make more money out of people, when really we have cycled for hundreds of years and this is just the further mechanisation of it. It is important to watch out for that.
I want to go back to the weather as well. The weather in this country is miserable most of the time, and I do not want to cycle in the rain. We need to think about what happens when I and thousands of others stop cycling and decide to use public transport.
How are public transport systems coping with that? Do they make adjustments regarding the weather on a day-to-day basis because it is very unpredictable? Yesterday, we had a community walkabout where the Luas runs. It is where the new children's hospital is so there is a lot of interest in being shown to be community friendly. We are getting some community benefits from the provision of cycling and walking facilities combined with the Luas. We as a community have an opportunity to say what we want. We spoke about covered cycle lanes. I do not know how feasible they are but they would be in certain pockets so we are looking into that. Certainly in the Liberties where we are looking to create permeability. As the leading investor in housing there, Guinness is interested in providing covered walkways so that we can walk when it is pouring out of the heavens, which happens fairly often.
I am interested in talking about women's cycling. Going back to the research, it is very interesting for everybody. Bloomers were very good for women. The introduction of bloomers allowed us to cycle and got rid of bustles, heavy material and long skirts. There is still a reluctance on the part of women. This is replicated in women's reluctance to be in public places on dark evenings because they do not feel safe, so we need to address that. Women take on most of the burden - perhaps that is the wrong word - of dropping off and collecting children. There are questions about accommodating small children on bicycles and how safe that is. We do not just hop on our bicycles and go to work. We do about 20 different messages before then.
Mr. Brian Deegan:
I will address infrastructure. I am finally answering questions on infrastructure. I had the pleasure of meeting an engineer from Amsterdam who put in the first cycle tracks way back in the 1960s. I asked him why he did the famous Dutch style and he said it was because they had trams and had to line cyclists up so they could cross them at the perpendicular. That was the reason for segregation in the first place. I work in Manchester, which has a similar issue with trams. Segregation does help. The perpendicular crossing rule is one of the things we use in engineering to make sure we can get them as straight as possible. The clearance rule is another factor. There should be at least 2.2 metres from the edge of the tram line before cycling infrastructure is put in there. If that cannot be managed to be done, the networks need to be disaggregated somehow, so there are a few engineering tips I could give. I can send stuff over. Having trams makes the case for segregation. It allows the point to be controlled. Regarding people weaving and doing that sideways thing, which I am quite good at myself from cycling around Manchester, it is an advanced skill and we cannot rely on most people to do it. There are tips we can give.
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
Something that came up is also a theme that was mentioned before. It concerns mainstreaming active travel into all areas of planning and ensuring it is not seen as an afterthought. We have had that problem in London. We finally get good new infrastructure and then it gets dug up by a water company and everything goes to pot. It must be in there and part of everything. It has to be in the planning.
Regarding the issue of gender in cycling, it is particularly important for women and other under-represented groups in cycling to have access to cycling. If we think about women as a group, they tend to have lower car access and earn less than men. Having this low-cost form of personal mobility is especially important, so again it is a case of double disadvantage. The way our roads are designed particularly excludes women.
This has been very interesting so far. I thank the witnesses for their contributions because they have certainly broadened my perspective regarding the issue of cycling and what can be delivered. From listening to the witnesses, one thing strikes me. There seems to be a common denominator based on my interpretation of what they said. If we look at Cambridge, Brussels or Manchester, we can see there is a cultural shift in the mindset of policymakers at ground, local authority and government level towards wanting to make this happen. They are now embracing this as a concept and clear policy provision.
The challenge we face in this country involves shifting the psychology towards creating the infrastructure. What is it that Brussels can do? I lived in Brussels and used to cycle everywhere. I could move from the city centre to the countryside in Flanders. It is effectively cycling heaven because the cyclist is king or queen. It is a mindset that favours the cyclist whereas in this country, the car is king or queen. If I have a car, I have the God-given right to go anywhere and own the public thoroughfare, and everybody else is incidental to my enjoyment of my vehicle. How do we get policymakers at local authority level to shift their thinking away from designing infrastructure? Based on my experience as a former member of a local authority and a Member of this House, I can say that everything was designed by engineers. I do not want to criticise engineers in any way but they think in straight lines from A to B and there is no input from architects or town planners. What advice can the witnesses give us in respect of seeking to shift that mindset within the local authority paradigm? Where do we get the paradigm shift?
Mr. Brian Deegan:
That is completely in my zone. I am a highway engineer and have been through that journey to thinking about designing around people. That is what I explain to engineers. They are all trained. I do not know the training in Ireland but the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges is fairly international. There are no footways, pedestrian crossings or cycling in it. Everybody comes out trained to deliver roads and bypasses and are highly skilled at doing so and managing them. I then have to tell them that I need to retrain them because they are working on streets with people.
It is the kind of technical way I come in. I say we should design for a child. If a person wants to talk to engineers in their language, he or she will explain how a child sees the world and how the child cannot perceive speeds in areas. As a person grows older, his or her focus gets wider, so a child cannot tell the difference between a car approaching at 40 miles per hour and one approaching at 20 miles per hour because of that. There are articles in medical journals about this. We must think about visibility on the part of a child if we are designing a street because children will be on that street and will want to cross it.
It makes a very strong and compelling case for vehicles travelling at 20 miles per hour and moves against the kind of paradigm that says that if we slow down cars, it is bad for air quality and that we need to keep as many cars as possible moving through the system. We must look at a different design paradigm involving other vehicles. We could talk all day about the cycling design vehicle and how we establish that in practice. That is the technical side, which is a large part of what I do. I retrain engineers. On the political side, that is why I have people like Chris Boardman to help sell the case on a larger policy level. We can start selling it using some of the stuff we have been talking about here like climate change, air quality, regeneration and economic vitality.
Mr. Deegan pulls in advocates and the Chris Boardmans of this world because they are influencers - stars, so to speak, to borrow that awful phrase that has been used by Mr. Johnson and his like - to begin to change the mindset and to begin to influence politicians, and then we see it flowing within the system, as it were.
Mr. Brian Deegan:
It is about that but one can also make champions as well. I remember how when I worked in Camden, we worked with a new member on the environment. On his first day, we got him on cycle training and started indoctrinating him over the next few months. This guy could do it. He was young, bright and sharp. We got him to meet the Camden cycling campaign every week. That campaign worked on him. Eventually, he became the Labour Party's leading spokesperson for cycling. It is a question of looking locally at who is closest to getting the agenda and then making the champion one needs.
I would love to talk forever but I have only five minutes. Could I hear about the Brussels and Cambridge experience because Cambridge is a university town while Brussels is, arguably, a cosmopolitan university city that is very international? I imagine that it is easier to roll out cycling infrastructure in a place with a lot of students. The witnesses talk about the Cambridge busway and cycleways project, which involves moving out into rural areas.
It is a bit like Galway where the car is still king but many students use their bikes and one can plan accordingly because there is a population base for cycling that demands facilitation. The demand is there. How did the federation get the local authority in Cambridge to buy into what it is doing? I imagine that it is easier there than in a city such as Manchester or London.
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
It has been a struggle in Cambridge too, to be honest. They took it for granted that people cycle to some extent because driving in the centre of historic Cambridge is a nightmare. The busway-cycleway also links up a major health service employer and there is a clear demand for it.
One interesting question is how to measure potential demand in a context where there is not a lot of cycling. I was involved in developing a tool in England and Wales called the propensity to cycle tool. It helps us measure the number of short, relatively flat trips that could more easily be switched to cycling so we can measure the potential demand for cycling in different parts of the country and along specific routes. That helps because it is a major problem if people cannot see cyclists on the roads because they will think an area is too veiny, too long, or too hilly. To be able to make some measure of that is important, as is trying to get that into planning, that we do have-----
Mr. Fabian Küster:
We always hear the argument from local authorities that they are short of money. They say they never have the resources to provide the facilities that people need to walk and cycle safely. That is where the national government also has an obligation. An allocation of 10% to cycling infrastructure was mentioned. That should be given to local authorities. Give them co-funded local projects. Give them 50%, 60%, 70%, or 80% of the funding for a project and I am sure they will not miss out on that money. They will use it and submit projects to get that nationally approved funding.
This discussion has been useful. I have a suggestion if it is possible for the clerk to the committee and her team to do it. They should go back over the transcript to find the key recommendations, particularly relating to the national energy and action climate plan, including the likes of e-mobility and so on. It would be useful to collate those and refer them to the Departments of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Communications, Climate Action and Environment and ask them to include the recommendations in their climate plans. That would be a useful output.
Dr. Aldred cited two examples of how to do trials and temporary improvements. We are stuck. We have been planning a Liffey cycle route for seven years. It takes time. Her comments on trials and temporary measures were interesting. Could she give some practical examples of those, or even locations would be useful?
I am also interested in what she said about buses and bikes on rural roads. She briefly mentioned there is interesting stuff going on in respect of bus and bike routes on rural roads. Could she outline more details about that? I will come to Mr. Deegan next.
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
On the trials and temporary improvements, there are quite a few examples. One that I studied myself was in the outer London borough of Waltham Forest where the authorities are putting in planters and bollards to remove through motor traffic from neighbourhoods. The first one was a trial and the authorities measured what happened to motor traffic, walking and cycling levels. Members of the community could then input if they thought planters were in the wrong places, or the trial did not quite work and they could move stuff around. That was a nice example of a neighbourhood improvement.
Times Square in New York is an example on a bigger scale. The authorities moved motor traffic from a big public square in a temporary manner.
There are also examples of cycleways that have been done using materials that are cheap, quick and can easily be moved. For instance, in Mexico City, many cycleways have been created relatively cheaply by bolting down these big yellow blocks to mark out the cycleway. There are many things that can be done relatively quickly and cheaply on small streets and major roads to see what happens.
Regarding the Deputy's question on rural roads, I was thinking more of active travel than buses specifically. If one looks at what has been done in rural roads-----
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
I was more talking about designing rural cycle routes but public transport connections can be important. When we have been looking at cycling potential in parts of England, for instance, and in more rural parts where there are longer trips, clearly being able to cycle to a train station or bus stop could be quite important. Many people drive to the local train station in some of those areas so there could be scope for taking cars off the road and reducing parking pressure. Much of the potential for cycling and walking in rural areas could be in combination with public transport.
Everyone has been following with interest the £1.5 billion programme in Manchester that Mr. Deegan and Chris Boardman are rolling out. What is the modal split of cycling at the moment? Has it increased in recent years? How much have they spent? Is that going to be over a ten-year period? What is being spent this year and on what?
Mr. Brian Deegan:
Let us unpack this. The £1.5 billion is over ten years but I will spend it sooner if I can. So far, £160 million has been allocated. Not much has been spent so far - approximately £1 million. Much planning is involved with cycling. It should not take as long as it does but so much persuading has to be done. There are many different reasons for it and I will not give all the excuses.
It will probably be another year before we hit the ground with solid interventions and, after that, it is all about keeping that fed and keeping the machine going and it will grow exponentially. At the moment, we are trying to design the vast majority of schemes. We have a pipeline we can keep feeding and say that people want this.
People have asked for £300 million worth of stuff, designs we have on the table, and that helps when we go to the Department for Transport. Money is often a problem but it has never been the problem with cycling in the UK; the problem is getting people to spend it because there is so much drama involved and it is easy not to bother. If one pursues a cycling scheme, the communications budget will have to go up to defend all the negative comments it will attract. It is getting people into the habit of doing it, doing that first good thing that, afterwards, people ask for more of. My first ten-year plan in London was to get something that somebody liked and wanted more of. That was a milestone, which we only achieved four or five years ago with the east-west and north-south superhighway. I am at that point in Manchester. Do something good and then an amazing thing happens: people like the schemes. It might not seem like that on the way but the people in Waltham Forest would not go back to letting all those cars through after the trial that Dr. Aldred described. People will never go back. We will never go back to smoking in pubs again. It is that sort of thing. It is a cultural thing and behavioural change over time. We have changed within our lifetimes and it can change quickly. It took six years to get an iPhone in the hands of half the people on the planet. Stuff can happen.
I have gone a little bit off track there because I did not want to give all the figures for Manchester.
I have a question for Mr. Küster. Why did Britain get the green light from the European Cyclists' Federation on its national energy and climate actions plan? What is the UK doing that Ireland could and should do in its national energy and climate action plan?
I understand that cycling represents a 36% modal share of all trips at the moment in the Netherlands. What is the Netherlands aiming for in 2030? Where does it go from here? I presume Mr Küster is Dutch.
Mr. Fabian Küster:
I cannot speak for the Netherlands. I think its objective is still to grow the number of cyclists by 20% so it wants to go further.
The UK committed to spend a given budget of £1.2 billion in this 2017-21 parliamentary term.
It has a clear objective to increase cycling. It wants to double the stages of cycling between now and 2024. There was a clear reference and commitment to do that. That is why we put the UK on the top.
I have one question for all three witnesses. They have been in Dublin for the Velo-city conference for the past few days. I presume they had an opportunity to cycle around the city. We are missing the parade being held now in Clontarf, which is a pity, but what is their impression of cycling around Dublin? The Danish mayor rightly called us out yesterday morning. The poor fellow cycled along the quays and came back in a state of shock. What is their sense of the city as a cycling city?
Dr. Rachel Aldred:
It has been a bit of a struggle. I went to Dublin City University to examine a PhD viva on Monday. I was on the road mixing with busy, fast-moving motor traffic. I was then on the shared footway - it was legal - weaving around pedestrians, and I was meant to be back on the road again. That type of infrastructure that does not work for anyone. If we are fearless and want to be on the road, like the 1%, that is not for us. If we do not want to mix with motor traffic, it not for us either because we keep having to go back onto the road. It was a bit familiar to the experience of cycling in some parts of the UK but it did not work. What is clearly needed on a road such as that is a safe, protected cycle way for everyone, not to have to cycle partly on the footpath and partly on the road.
Mr. Fabian Küster:
My impressions are a little more positive but I spend a lot of time riding around Manchester where we can definitely give Dublin a run for its money on some aspects. I have seen some positive developments. I like the light segregation using the Orcas, which have improved the route. That route, which we have used the most to travel to and from the conference, is a little off and on. I have ridden around Dublin quite a bit in the past and there are some very good facilities. Near Temple Bar, springy bollards effectively filter the entire street to allow people walk and cycle around the area. The ride through there is very nice and as good as one will find anywhere.
What I try to do is look at the positives because I am defending the engineering community. There are many good facilities here and the stage we are at is that we want people to say, "That is good. Can we have more of it?" rather than "It is all terrible", of which we have heard a good deal. The members have not looked at every street and all the interventions or ridden all the routes. There is great stuff around now. They could say, "That bit is good. It works. Let's do more of that". It is similar to the way central London and the rest of the UK used to be in that one will find brilliant pockets everywhere. It is a question of identifying the bits that work, getting the evidence and rolling out the facilities. There are good improvements here. There has been some nice treatments at junctions. The pedestrian crossings work much better than they do in the UK. Certain regulations here are better than ours in the UK. There is a good deal to build on. It is a question of finding something that works for Dublin in the right street context and then rolling it out as part of a plan. That is my impression.
I want to address a misconception. Dublin is drier than Amsterdam, a lot warmer than Copenhagen and not as sweltering as Rome. It is a bloody great place in which to cycle, and we will be like the Danes and the Dutch in 20 or 30 years. If the Government spends 10% per annum over the next ten to 20 years, it will transform life in this city and this country. That is where we are going to go.