Smarter Travel Areas Programme 2012 - 2016

Smarter Travel Areas Programme 2012-2016

People in Ireland are overwhelmingly reliant on the car for transport. Smarter Travel Areas is a programme that will demonstrate in 3 different towns how we can reduce car travel, encouraging people to walk and cycle, car-share and to avoid unnecessary car trips.

In February, 2012 the local authorities of Limerick City & County, Waterford and Mayo, as winners of the National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas, were awarded total funding of €21.7 million over a 5-year period to transform the respective areas of Limerick City & Environs, Dungarvan and Westport into Smarter Travel Areas, promoting, among other measures, cycling and walking, the use of public transport and reducing car travel.   The three project areas each present a different range of opportunities and challenges in delivering smarter travel.

Smarter Travel Areas will be delivered by each Local Authority, working in partnership with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTT&S), local businesses, schools and communities.  The Areas will transform not just people’s travel patterns, but their lifestyles, their communities and their localities. 

At the core of the Smarter Travel Areas concept is sustainability.  Sustainability is not just about the environment and emissions but also quality of life and economic competitiveness. Balancing these factors is complex and requires a range of integrated solutions. The successful projects displayed an understanding of the smarter travel concept and the level of vision, ambition and imagination required to deliver this concept. 

DTT&S will monitor the progress of the three projects on an ongoing basis over the 5-year period. Smarter Travel Areas will identify which measures deliver the best results in different types of communities.  Where interventions and measures are successfully introduced these will then provide a template and basis upon which to expand the Smarter Travel Areas concept across the rest of the country.

The funding approved by DTT&S to each authority is as follows:

  • Limerick Smarter Travel - €9 million
  • Smarter Travel Go Dungarvan - €7.2 million
  • Smarter Travel Westport - €5 million

Limerick Smarter Travel

The Smarter Travel Areas proposal for Limerick will be delivered by the newly amalgamated Limerick City and County Councils in partnership with the University of Limerick (UL). 

The proposal provides the opportunity to assess Smarter Travel measures across a range of communities in a city context.  The proposal is focussed on four hubs – City Centre, Corbally, Castletroy and Regeneration Hub.  The study area stretches from Limerick City Centre in the west to the Castletroy area which includes the University of Limerick and the National Technology Park.  It also encompasses Corbally to the north and the regeneration areas of Southill, Singland and Ballysimon to the south.  The Smarter Travel initiative seeks to facilitate travel in a more sustainable manner, within and between the hubs. 

The delivery of sustainable transport solutions for Limerick presents many transport challenges and opportunities given the diverse population base.  Affluent residential communities exist side by side with some of the most deprived areas in the country; there is a flourishing immigrant community and a growing student population; the existence of a major centre of skilled employment and a gateway to tourism in the wider Mid West region.  The proposal is tailored to meet the varying travel needs of communities within the hubs.

University of Limerick (UL) is a key partner in the proposal providing access to a diverse range of  additional expertise, in particular engineering and design expertise.  UL, which has a substantial student body of 11,300 and 1,300 staff, will also implement Smarter Travel across the campus.  The Limerick proposal therefore provides an invaluable opportunity to pilot sustainable travel measures within the third level student population. 

There is strong local support for Limerick Smarter Travel from local businesses, schools, leisure, sporting and tourism interests.

Smarter Travel “Go Dungarvan

The “Go Dungarvan” proposal was developed by Waterford County Council in association with Dungarvan Town Council with the support of Waterford IT, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses  and local sports partnerships .  

Dungarvan is the County Town and administrative capital of County Waterford, and is situated 73km east of Cork and 46km west of Waterford.  The population within a three-mile radius of Dungarvan is 12,300 and that of the immediate 30-minute catchment area of the town is c.46,000 (census of pop. 2006). 

The implementation of “Go Dungarvan” as a Smarter Travel Area provides the opportunity to test the success of a range of Smarter Travel measures in a medium-sized town.  Dungarvan Smarter Travel will demonstrate, using a clear evidence base, the type of measures that can be rolled out to similar sized towns in Ireland. 

“Go Dungarvan” sets out innovative behavioural change proposals aimed at providing new solutions for travel needs.  A behavioural campaign seeks to create a modal shift away from the car over the five-year project period through a combination of personal, workplace and school travel planning and also by addressing the needs of specific target groups.  A key component of the “Go Dungarvan” initiative will be a travel centre which will be located in the town centre.  The centre will act as a primary contact point for sustainable travel information. 

The proposal also sets out a number of infrastructural measures which complement the behavioural measures.  These include elements to calm traffic (30kph zone and reassigning road space to more sustainable modes) and enhanced cycling facilities (both high quality amenity routes and cycle parking in the town centre).  Dungarvan is a compact and relatively flat town which is an advantage when promoting a switch to walking and cycling.

Westport Smarter Travel

The Westport Smarter Travel proposal was developed by Westport Town Council and Mayo County Council.  Westport is the third largest urban centre in Mayo, with a permanent population of 5,150 while serving a wider hinterland of approximately 20,000. 

Change in travel behaviour in Westport is based on hard and soft measures supported by partnership with community, business and voluntary groups in the area.  In addition to serving the needs of residential and business interests the implementation of Westport as a Smarter Travel town is an ideal opportunity to provide visitors to the town with a high quality Smarter Travel experience.  Much of the Westport proposal is based around active tourism, however, the benefits of this approach are wide reaching for the local economy.

Proposals for Westport include specific measures for the historic core of the town including a parking strategy and a 30kph zone.  A key aspect of the Westport proposal involves the utilisation of existing, abandoned railway lines and tracks in the area to provide a high quality cycling and walking network for both the local community and tourists.  High quality greenways are proposed connecting residential areas with schools, workplaces and the town centre.  The provision of a sustainable transport coordination facility for the town is also proposed.

File attachments: 

   Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport