Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Public Transport

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
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93. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way he plans to increase passenger numbers on public transport in line with the Climate Action Plan 2023; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1638/23]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The revised targets that have been set out in the updated Transport Chapter of Climate Action Plan 2023(CAP23) are informed by detailed transport modelling undertaken by the National Transport Authority. This work identifies a sectoral decarbonisation pathway that can achieve a 50% reduction in transport emissions by 2030.

The targets in CAP23 are intended to communicate the level of widespread, systemic and behavioural change needed to comply with our sectoral emissions ceilings and our emissions abatement targets – rather than presenting the specific abatement modelled for any single committed measure in isolation, which will require further detailed policy and scheme design.

CAP23 makes it clear that - in addition to widespread electrification of our vehicle fleet, continued use of biofuels as a transitionary measure and a general reduction in distances travelled on the transport network - we will need to achieve significant behavioural changes in how we travel on a daily basis – with an estimated 50% increase required in daily active travel journeys, 130% increase in daily public transport journeys, and 25% reduction in daily car journeys, relative to our 2018 emissions baseline.

Achieving such targets will only result from an integrated combination of measures, and the decarbonisation pathway set out in CAP23 is premised on an 'AVOID-SHIFT-IMPROVE' framework to achieving greater transport sustainability. In addition to enhanced spatial and land-use planning measures that can reduce the need to travel by private car in the first instance, the proposed decarbonisation pathway would see a significant roll-out of additional sustainable alternatives and capacity enhancements to public transport services.

Some of these measures are already committed, such as the BusConnects schemes, the DART+ Programme, Metrolink (in the longer-term), and the NTA’s Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Programme which aims to ensure that 70% of people in rural Ireland have access to public transport service that provides at least three return trips daily to the nearby town. My Department will undertake additional analysis in 2023 to develop a high-level assessment of the additional public transport services multi-annual programme cost required to meet the pathway’s assumptions.

It is also important to note that such major public transport infrastructure projects will need to be supported through other high impact measures, such as through road space reallocation, communication strategies, and the main-streaming of shared services to help reduce our overall levels of car dependency and to accelerate and reprioritise the use of our road space in favour of more efficient and sustainable modes. CAP23 recognises that communications will be key, and sets out the need for a strong, Government-led communications campaign, using clear messaging, firstly to raise awareness about the systemic changes in public and active travel that are already taking place, and secondly, encouraging behavioural change wherever possible. This will mean new ways of communicating the climate, well-being, and the other benefits of a widespread shift from private car dependency to sustainable mobility.

Finally, my Department will continue to work with its Agencies and Service Operators to ensure continued improvements in the safety, reliability, and accessibility of Public Transport services in line with the National Sustainable Mobility Policy.


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