Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Cycling Facilities Funding
I thank the Deputy for the very topical and important question.
Over recent years, data published from various sources show an increase in the number of people commuting by bicycle. Recent data published by Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority, NTA, in the annual canal cordon report show an upward trend of cyclists crossing the canal which continued between 2016 and 2017, with numbers increasing by 3%. There has been a steady year-on-year growth in the number of cyclists crossing the cordon since 2010. In 2017, almost 12,500 cyclists crossed the cordon in the morning peak period. This represents an increase of more than 150% when compared with 2006 and an increase of more than 57% in the past five years. The Central Statistics Office has also published statistical information on cycling, including the national travel survey which illustrates the prevalence of cycling and the upward trends in cycling numbers.
Cycling numbers have shown a steady increase in recent years, which is one of the reasons I worked to secure a substantial multi-annual funding allocation for this area as part of budget 2018. The increase I secured has allowed more than €110 million of capital funding to be directly allocated to develop cycling and walking infrastructure in the greater Dublin area, Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford in the period from 2018 to 2021. The programme will provide safe alternative active travel routes that will help alleviate congestion by providing viable alternatives and connectivity with existing public transport infrastructure. Details of individual projects are managed by the NTA.
Over the same period, a further €135 million capital funding is allocated for investment in sustainable urban transport projects. These will include projects that will provide either direct or indirect improvements for urban cycling. This programme builds on investment to date to deliver improvements in public and sustainable transport infrastructure in the regional cities and the greater Dublin area. It includes traffic management, bus priority and other smarter travel projects, which will allow transport infrastructure to function more effectively and will help relieve traffic congestion and therefore improve safety for cyclists.
Additional information not provided on the floor of the House
In addition to both these allocations, the considerable investment of approximately €750 million for BusConnects that aims to reconfigure the bus network and infrastructure over the coming years will deliver the construction of significant new cycling facilities alongside bus routes. The NTA calculates that BusConnects for Dublin will deliver more than 200 km of cycle lanes on the key radial routes into Dublin city centre. This will provide safe cycling arrangements along these corridors, largely segregated from other traffic.
In addition to funding for the provision of infrastructure, my Department continues to be very active in promoting behavioural change to encourage more people to take up cycling and cycle safely. As well as funding national initiatives such as Bike Week, my Department also provides funding to the NTA on an annual basis for the delivery of behavioural change programmes such as workplace and campus travel programmes and the green schools programmes. My Department also engaged Cycling Ireland to develop a new national cycle training standard, Cycle Right, which was rolled out in January 2017 to approximately 15,000 primary school students. My Department also supports the great work that is being done by the Road Safety Authority in the promotion of safe roads for all road users, including more vulnerable users such as cyclists and pedestrians.