Most of rural Ireland is still very car dependent

Ireland launches sustainable mobility plan to push citizens toward public transport

Ireland launches sustainable mobility plan to push citizens toward public transport

Currently, around 74% of trips in the country are done by car and the government needs to cut that number if they are to reach emissions goals in 2030

Ireland has set itself some pretty ambitious goals when it comes to expanding sustainable mobility around the country. These goals, as well as the action plan, have been outlined in a recently published document, focusing on the 2022-2025 period.

The plan is part of the Department of Transport’s framework to activate key actors in terms of transport and build on that initial push to reach Ireland's benchmark of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. At the same time, authorities want to incentivise citizens to choose public transport instead of cars for their daily commutes.

The car rules in Ireland

According to government data, in 2020, road transport alone accounted for 94% of transport emissions, while private cars remain the mode of transport, as it features in 74% of all journeys nationally. This compares quite poorly with walking, which accounts for 14%, in addition to 2% for cycling and 7% for commuting by bus.

Although there are regional disparities, these numbers leave little doubt as to what is the main mode of transport in the Republic. And this is what makes providing sustainable alternatives such a priority for climate policy. According to the government, transport is at the heart of Ireland’s decarbonisation efforts.

Thus, to achieve a 51% emissions reduction by 2030, the sustainable mobility plan aims to deliver an additional 500,000 additional daily trips by public transport and a 10% reduction in the number of kilometres driven by fossil-fuelled cars.  

The action plan

Here are key areas on which the action plan focuses to kick off climate efforts in the next three years:

  • Improving the safety of walking, cycling and public transport networks, as well as moving public transport to low emission vehicles and making it easier to switch between modes of transport;
  • Connecting rural Ireland via buses as well as improving rail infrastructure and fare structure;
  • Adopting a transport-orientated approach to housing development to place new housing close to public transport.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, explained in a press release that the benefits of the policy are far from environmental. She added: “There are also health benefits, from increased physical activity and safer roads, societal benefits, from improved connections between our rural, urban and suburban communities, and economic benefits, from reduced traffic congestion and greater access to job opportunities.”



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