Behavioural scientist to examine rollout of walking and cycling routes in Limerick

Limerick City and County Council’s Active Travel team is the first to have the expertise of a behavioural scientist after a new appointment.

The council announced today that Toby Goodwin (pictured) began working with the team this month after having worked for Transport for London for 24 years. The council said that his partner is from West Limerick, and the two have decided to relocate to the area.'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...

At Transport for London, his work included looking at what influenced behaviour in transport use and assessing the impact of people’s perceptions on project delivery.

Goodwin’s new role is expected to include conducting assessments with community groups, businesses, educators, and others and examining new and existing pedestrian and cycle infrastructure in Limerick city and county.

The council said it is the first Active Travel team in Ireland to have a dedicated behavioural scientist within its multidisciplinary department, which already includes engineers, technicians, planners, communications, and administrative staff. 

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell, said: “Having a multitude of expertise across the Active Travel team is very important as the department continues to deliver high-quality upgrades of pedestrian and cycle infrastructure in Limerick.”

He added: “Ensuring robust stakeholder engagement and buy-in to this work will be a key factor into how successful these upgrades are. Continuing to work with any and all voices will see our ever-expanding Active Travel network supported by extensive local knowledge and input. I want to congratulate Toby on his new role and wish him every success.”

Goodwin said: “It is great to be joining the Active Travel team here in Limerick at such an exciting time. There has already been some great work done in developing new and existing infrastructure across the city and county. We have a great baseline to work from when it comes to providing future success. I am excited to be in the position of bringing my passion for active travel and my experience in systems thinking and behavioural change to the team.”

Sean McGlynn, head of the Active Travel team said: “The Active Travel story in Limerick continues to evolve and Toby’s appointment is another step on our journey. The team is acutely aware of balancing the diverse needs of various stakeholders throughout the city and county with delivering a high-quality, enhanced pedestrian and cycle network. I’m looking forward to working closely with Toby as he begins his new role.”

Dave Tobin, deputy chair of the Irish Cycling Campain, said: “This is a major win for Limerick and shows just how serious Limerick Council are about delivering a better and more sustainable transport system for all.”

He added: “It’s a huge credit to the local authority leadership for getting someone with such an impressive CV into the role.”


    • What’s wrong with the helmet? It’s not a fashion statement.
      It’s saying, I don’t want to suffer a severe brain injury or worse if I unfortunately hit my head off concrete, metal or any other hard surfaces whilst riding my bike due to whatever unexpected reason.
      We all hope that we will never need to put it to the test and it’s still not a guarantee of protection, but you only have to be unlucky that one time in your life to regret not wearing one for the rest of your life.

      • So why, by your logic, do we not advocate for people walking to wear helmets for the rare occasions where they trip on e.g. a footpath, hit their heads and suffer brain trauma? Or for drivers to wear helmets while driving, given the level of head injuries suffered in road collisions?
        Just seems odd that bike users are portrayed as the ones that need helmets for the rare instances of where it might have protected them and which should be about personal choice – e.g. I may wear one if it is a windy day, or going a route where I have less bike tracks – my choice, not some media type. Interestingly, I feel I get more close passing and issues when I DO wear a helmet on the same route as without.
        Bike users have enough to be dealing with, without judgments from various sundry media spouting about helmets to the extent that if a bike user is injured the wearing (or not0 of hi-viz or helmet is mentioned. Strange how when a motorist suffers catastrophic head injuries in a collision, there is no mention of them not wearing a helmet that might have mitigated the impact. Rally drivers wear helmets, F1 drivers wear them, so why not other motorists?

        Is it not for some of the reasons above, as to why wearing of helmets by people on bikes is not a legal requirement, no more than it is a requirement walking or driving.

  1. Sounds like a ‘Job for the Boy,’ if ever there was one. I’m sure he’ll be issuing loads of patronizing statements with the words “appropriate,” “inappropriate” and “sustainability” in them. We really do need condescending English people lecturing us on such things after all, don’t we? Just another Pete Lund.

    • The science behind behavioural change is a really interesting and important area to look at if we’re really interested in people making a change in their long-established habits. Transport for London certainly have been doing a lot right.

      I’m very infrastructure focused personally but the idea it’s just building infrastructure and that’s all doesn’t quite stack up.

      I find Pete Lund’s analysis generally excellent. His stuff on behavioural change and cycling was pretty good.

      Maybe if you cannot come up with an argument against what he’s saying, it might be best to leave out the bit about them being English unless you can explain how it’s relevant?


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