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Written Answers. - Transport Infrastructure.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 99. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  his plans to resolve the ever-increasing traffic congestion; the impact of his actions to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23546/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan Within the framework of the national development plan a wide range of initiatives has been taken to upgrade transport infrastructure and services and reduce congestion. The plan sets out a strategic framework for the development of transport infrastructure and services and provides for investment of almost €10 billion between 2000 and 2006.

In the greater Dublin area, the NDP provides for investment of approximately €2 billion in public transport and traffic management. Since 1997, demonstrable improvements in public transport arrangements and services have been implemented. Dublin Bus has purchased more than 600 new buses, Bus Éireann has increased its capacity on GDA commuter routes by 40%, there are now nine QBCs in place in Dublin and work is continuing on further routes, some 160 km of dedicated cycleways have been provided, traffic management/control systems have been upgraded, taxi numbers have increased significantly, major capacity improvements have been made to rail services, and progress has been made on developing the Luas system.

Some 76 new diesel rail cars will further expand capacity on the outer suburban network around Dublin from next year. Capacity improvements will flow from the improved signalling and track work on the approaches to Heuston Station, the provision of additional platforms, the allocation of additional rail cars and increasing train lengths during rush hour periods. Further DART capacity improvements are also planned, as is the [176] purchase of another 36 DART cars. Funds are also being provided for the development of an integrated ticketing system for Dublin by 2005 as well as a real-time passenger information system.

Major road projects to a total value of approx. €1.4 billion are under construction in the Dublin city and county area, including the Dublin port tunnel, the south-eastern motorway, and the second bridge at the West Link.

These measures in public transport, traffic management and road infrastructure will have a major beneficial impact on traffic flows in Dublin in the short to medium term. They are also part of the long-term strategy to address the city's transport needs. The Dublin Transportation Office policy document, A Platform for Change, sets out a comprehensive integrated strategy to respond to the transportation needs of the greater Dublin area, GDA, in the period to 2016. It is providing the framework for the development of Dublin's transport network. The Government has already formally approved the procurement process for a metro in Dublin.

The National Roads Authority has made good progress with the roll-out of the national roads programme, including the development of bypasses, which have helped to alleviate congestion in many towns throughout the country. In 2000, the Department of Environment and Local Government also introduced regional traffic management grants for the first time to the city councils of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Under the regional traffic management schemes, improvements are undertaken on a variety of measures, including pedestrian and cycle facilities, traffic signalling, bus lanes and traffic calming in residential areas. Studies on land use and transportation have also been completed or are under way in Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford. Urban bus services in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford have also been updated and improved.

The Government has been proactive in responding to the challenge of traffic congestion and has demonstrated its commitment to transforming our transport infrastructure by providing unprecedented levels of investment since 1997. The establishment of an integrated Department of Transport will bring a renewed focus to our efforts to upgrade transport infrastructure and services in urban areas throughout the country.

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