Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The continued return to post-Covid-19 activity witnessed in 2022 has seen a strong return in the level of private car activity on Irish roads. A recent global traffic index by INRIX for 2022 suggests that Dublin ranks as 12th in the world for its level of congestion, with drivers losing an estimated 114 hours in traffic annually. This congestion can be largely attributed to continued high levels of private car use, and the need to shift to more sustainable and efficient alternatives is clear.
In line with the updated Transport Chapter of Climate Action Plan 2023(CAP23) which sets out a national transport decarbonisation pathway premised on an 'AVOID-SHIFT-IMPROVE' framework to achieving greater transport sustainability, a general reduction in kilometres travelled by private car of 20%, alongside a significant modal shift from private car use to public transport and walking and cycling will be required to meet our transport emissions abatement obligations by 2030.
Achieving these targets and reducing traffic volumes in Dublin more locally will require sustainable alternatives to be enhanced and improved, along with an increased focus placed by local authorities on the prioritisation of high-impact measures, such as through road space reallocation, communication strategies, and the main-streaming of shared services. Delivery of these initiatives will be required if we are to 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.
The forthcoming publication of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Transport Strategy will detail the NTA’s plans for new public transport and active travel infrastructure and services across Dublin that will help to encourage a ‘shift’ to more sustainable modes. These measures will be supported by my Department's commitment in CAP23 to publish a National Demand Management Strategy by the end of 2023, and while this strategy will have a national focus, we will engage early and often with each of the local authorities in Dublin to assess appropriate measures.
This national strategy will also inform the NTA’s own Demand Management Scheme for the GDA that will assess what measures the NTA can and should implement in the GDA to help lower the base demand for private vehicle use to achieve our 2030 climate goals, as well as free up more road space for public transport and active travel.
Based on the evidence set out in the previous Five Cities Demand Management Study, potential effective demand management measures that will be subject to consideration and detailed policy design include e.g., fiscal measures such as progressive taxation or congestion charging, parking and traffic management measures such as road space reallocation or the removal of public and private carparking; or through air quality measures such as clean air zones and planning policy.
However, such demand side measures will only be effective once sufficient alternative and sustainable options are available, and they must be considered as complementary to those measures to facilitate increased use of sustainable alternatives.
Finally, it should also be noted that local authorities have the primary responsibility for the implementation of demand management measures in our towns and cities. Both the National Demand Management Strategy and Demand Management Scheme will be subject to detailed public consultation.