Belfast Telegraph

No more excuses, we must encourage more bus travel

Anne Madden is from sustainable transport charity Sustrans
Anne Madden is from sustainable transport charity Sustrans

By Anne Madden

Traffic's terrible!" These two words roll off the tongue almost daily and with a despair that we use when describing bad weather. It is a phrase used as if we - yes, that includes you - have no control over it.

Two collisions in Belfast on Wednesday night caused city-wide gridlock, turning our roads into car parks. Yet traffic congestion is not confined to Belfast but widespread across NI as we think we cannot move without getting into a metal box.

That doesn't have to be the case, and certainly when almost half the journeys we make are less than two miles there is no reason why more of us couldn't walk, cycle or use public transport.

But the statistics published by the Department for Infrastructure reveal the very obvious reasons why people don't walk or cycle more. 'Traffic goes too fast' was cited as a barrier to both walking and cycling. 'Too much traffic' and 'no cycle lanes' were named as issues preventing people cycling, while 'not enough footpaths' put pedestrians off.

There is not just a lack of footpaths but too many cars and even lorries encroaching on the limited pavement space, causing huge issues for parents with prams and people with disabilities.

We also need to do a lot more to enforce speed limits and roadside parking. A recent study at Queen's University Belfast, in partnership with Sustrans, found that 20mph zones reduce the number and severity of road casualties. The solution is not to open bus lanes to single occupant cars, as some frustrated motorists have suggested.

We need to encourage those people out of their cars and onto a bus or Glider which would enable everyone to move more efficiently through our towns and cities, and ensure we're not stuck forever fuming at the wheel.

Anne Madden is from sustainable transport charity Sustrans

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph