COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Do we need a DDOJSIOC to get everything in order with transport in Ireland?
DDOJSIOC stands for Deputy Director of Operations for Joint Systems Interdepartmental Operational Command. It’s actually a joke from Beverly Hills Cop 3.
But sometimes when you’re writing about transport and cycling in Ireland and mentioning the DoT, NTA, TII, DCC, FCC, DLRCC, SDCC, CCC, GCC, WI, OPW, IR, DB, BE, CIE, etc it feels like you might as well be saying DDOJSIOC.
You cannot merge everything, for examples: councils need some level of autonomy, but would transport in Ireland benefit from merging the Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority?
Maybe at least parts of CIE too should be merged? CIE is the parent company of Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Bus Éireann. I’m not talking about further privatisation. But it’s a reasonably strange situation to have a transport authority which doesn’t own bus, train stations or train lines.
Even if we set CIE aside for now… Merging the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland seems to make sense given the overlapped in responsibilities.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is already is a merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency.
We’re left with the funny situation that TII was set up to cover the planning and overseeing operations for light rail, including Luas. Yet, technically the National Transport Authority (NTA) contracts this responsibility out to TII. Metro is another example where there’s an overlap, with the NTA being lead but TII holding the main engineering expertise for light rail project management.
Irish Rail also still holds a division covering at planning and construction of heavy rail routes.
And walking and cycling is yet another — currently the NTA covers guidelines for cities and town, and TII covers inter-urban routes and greenways (which is also partly cover by the Department of Transport, which is another story).
We also have a National Cycling Office in the NTA and we have new responsible being given to Regional Design Offices, which are a cooperation between councils and TII.
Having so many layers to transport also seems overly complicated when there’s just over 5 million people living in the Republic.
Some people, I know, would say go further and why not merge both TII and the NTA with the Department of Transport. That might be a step too far given the now long-established Governmental approach of buffering operations from different Government Ministers.
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Maybe there’s something I’m missing here? At this point, with TII covering both roads and light rail, are there downside mixing the NTA (the main public transport) with TII (the main roads authority)? Is there a risk the merged body would be too focused on roads? Maybe all of these bodies would still go on existing just being fashioned as divisions of the new merged body? Maybe this is a distraction compare to the benefits it would give?