60% willing to change travel choices for climate action but alternatives lacking, says campaigners

— Paris-like speed is needed on the rollout of walking and cycling routes, say campaigners.

Red C research commissioned by the Department of Transport has found that 60% of respondents are willing to change their transport choices to reduce carbon emissions but campaigners have questioned the availability of alternatives to allow people to change.

...IrishCycle.com's reader-funded journalism won't survive without your help. With over 762,000 views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" who read this website, but, if you want it to keep going, more support is needed from readers like you. Now, back to the article...

The survey also found that 77% of respondents agreed that walking, cycling, and using public transport more is important for the environment, and that 9-in-10 car drivers are willing to leave their cars at home for trips less than 2km.

The survey was commissioned for the launch of a “multi-platform advertising campaign” called “Your Journey Counts” and the Department of Transport’s press release highlighted public transport improvements and the almost €1 million per day which is being spent on walking and cycling. But campaigners said that the rollout of such is not happening fast enough and people need alternatives before they need urging to change.

In a press release, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “This [information] campaign is about letting people know about the improvements we are making to public transport and active travel services and what their options are locally. Then with this information about what services are available, and what will be coming on stream in the near future, we are asking people to consider their journeys and if these services might be an option for them to help us reduce our transport emissions.”  

“Investing in public transport and active travel is a key priority for this government. Every week, we are launching a new or enhanced bus service across the country, providing 110,000 kilometres of services to rural Ireland in 2022 alone,” he said. “Only a few weeks ago I was in Carlow for the launch of their first-ever town bus service and there will be other town services coming on stream over the coming months.”

He added: “What’s really encouraging is that passenger numbers are telling us that when services become available, people are flocking to them.”

But replying to what Minister Ryan said, Irish Doctors for the Environment — a campaign group led by medical professionals — said that Paris-like speed is needed on the rollout of walking and cycling infrastructure.

The group said: “The great flaw here is that instead of telling people about the improvements, people ought to see it happening in front of their eyes: good quality cycle lanes that encourages them to cycle. But that isn’t happening. There’s no modal shift. Just small improvements.”

On the survey result, the group said: “Great, but what is needed is a rapid rollout of active transport infrastructure like we’ve seen in Paris. We need to reduce emissions now, not wait for BusConnects or Rail plans.”

Irish Doctors for the Environment added “People in Ireland want to cycle” but an image of cycling on O’Connell Street used by The Irish Times “perfectly encapsulates cycling in Ireland” including cyclists and buses mixed, feeling unsafe, car-dominated streets, and “poor, if any, bike lanes”. They added: “We need a rapid rollout of proper Dutch-style bike lanes!”

The Dublin Commuter Coalition, a sustainable transport campaign group, said: “It’s not that Dublin or other Irish cities/towns are ‘too wet’ or ‘too cold’ or ‘too hilly’… it’s simply a matter of local and national gov NOT giving people the option of safe active travel or reliable public transport. So let’s give it to them!”

Brian Caulfield, a Professor in Transportation at Trinity College Dublin, said: “It’s great to have these numbers, it shows people do want to change modes away from the private car. We need to make sure the alternatives are there to enable this.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.