Re: Re: transport21

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I appreciate this conversation appears to have gone around in circles for some time.

Some doubt the figures of future patronage. Others doubt that they remain valid. Others question the cost in absolute terms, others in terms of the cost relative to what else it could buy.

I think there are a couple of points worth considering about the big picture, which often get lost in an effort to do amateur transport planning (that’s not a slight on anyone, it’s one of my favourite hobbies!).

Our track record: To say that Ireland has ever been guilty of over-supplying transport infrastructure would most likely have people drowning in their own laughter. We have typically under-provided – Luas, M50 etc cases in point. Preparing a system with high potential capacity, but on a low short-term spec appears sensible. The second point I would make regarding our track record is just how bad the oft-cited alternatives tend to be in Dublin – the QBC “network” is farcical, with the only success story being the (yawn – we’ve heard this a hundred times already) Stillorgan QBC.

Numbers: None of the discussions seem to take into account that the DTO contains a relatively comprehensive transport model for the Greater Dublin Area. This can better help to inform the likely levels of trip generation that might occur. From the discussion above and the experience with Luas, I would say that the estimates tend to be conservative and this seems to be generated by two primary components. The first is interchange – the level of transfers between Connolly and heuston seem to have vastly outpaced original expectations based on patronage of the God-awful bus link; the second off-peak journeys enabled by a reliable high frequency, dependable service.

A system: the key thing in planning anything big is that you need to plan as part of a system – ideally strategy first, if you can afford it followed by infrastructure. Dublin is on the cusp of developing a system that has taken decades of arguing to get a very weak political establishment to come on board and accept the importance of. It would be a shame were a critical mass of well-intentioned individuals/groups to being us back to square one (endless talking shop), when what is needed (yes, even now, the world has not ended) is delivery. Linking the airport into the city, linking into major growth areas (yes, even if it is for 10 years from now), connecting it to the revised X-shape DART network and the Luas lines takes us from provincial backwater to modern European city. You can build as many QBCs (some of which don’t even have busses running on them) and you will not get the level of modal shift to change how Dublin works.

Funding/Money: there is something quite attractive about using the DART underground and Metro North as part of a Keynsian-style public sector driven stimulus to assist the economy and the base of the trough that we find ourselves in. Both would be funded by PPP (I don’t like this procurement model – I think in the long-run it’s a more expensive way of procuring). however, in the current climate, when the state can’t borrow much it’s difficult to inject stimulus into the economy. This would be “off-the-sheets” because for the construction period it would be private sector money. It would bring jobs, economic stimulus, improve the competitiveness of the economy and of Dublin as a location in which to visit/do business.

I think we need to think big and brave, and I for one (as if that isn’t obvious) believe that this is just one example of where we can start to deliver to find ourselves out of our current quagmire. Negativity will not get us there (this is not to dismiss the many valid points made by many of the contributors of the specifics of the capacity/design).

… Yes, you can (don’t barf, but hopefully you get the idea!)

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