Belfast Telegraph

Funding falls despite rise in numbers cycling to work

Cycling infrastructure funding fell from 19 million euro to seven million, despite the number of people cycling to work rising by 43%.

Funding for cycling infrastructure fell from 19 million euro to seven million last year, despite the number of people cycling to work rising by 43% since 2011.

The Transport Trends 2018 document published on Monday noted the numbers of people cycling to work grew to 56,837.

The number of people commuting to work also grew to 1.88 million in 2016 with 65.6% of them travelling by car.

Road deaths are at the lowest rate since records began with 157 in 2017, a 16% reduction on 2016.

An Irish Rail intercity train as seen from the Etihad Skyline viewing platform at Croke Park Stadium, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

However, 14 cyclists died on the roads in 2017, up from an average of nine per year in the previous decade.

The number of new vehicles licensed in 2017 fell by 11%, but the total number of vehicles (old and new) on Irish roads reached its highest ever level at 2.68 million.

On public transport, almost 130 million journeys were paid for by Leap Card in 2017 amounting to 58% of trips on Dublin Bus, 57% on Irish Rail and 48% on Luas.

The number of passengers handled at Irish airports reached a record 34.5 million in 2017 with Dublin Airport handling 29.5m of them.

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity with 914 new electric vehicles registered in 2017, up 33% and the highest number ever, comprised of 655 electric vehicles and 259 plug-in petrol or diesel hybrids.

Dublin Bus vehicles in Broadstone Bus depot (Caroline Quinn/PA)

Despite the rise in electric cars, emissions from the transport sector increased by 4% to 12.29m tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2016, with 52% coming from private cars and 26% from goods vehicles.

Transport is the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after agriculture and energy.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said the report demonstrates strong and continued economic growth.

Record numbers are using Irish airports, including Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

“An additional 16 million public transport journeys last year, record numbers travelling through Irish airports, and a 5% increase in goods handled by our ports are all signs of a thriving economy,” he said.

“We will continue investing in transport infrastructure to ensure growth continues and that workers can get to their jobs, tourists can get to every corner of the country, and goods can be shipped all over the world.”

Mr Ross also welcomed the low number of road fatalities and said recently-introduced legislation imposing tough new sanctions on drink driving aimed to reduce that further.

As carbon emissions soar the minister is increasing budgets for roads instead of public transport

As carbon emissions soar the minister is increasing budgets for roads instead of public transport Ciaran Cuffe, Green Party

“Every death on our roads is one too many and we will continue our work to save lives by taking drink drivers off the road.”

Critics have accused the Government of failing to join the dots between transport and planning as the report shows that the majority of transport investment is going to roads, and spends 0.3% on walking and cycling.

The Green Party’s Transport Spokesperson Ciaran Cuffe said: “As carbon emissions soar the minister is increasing budgets for roads instead of public transport.

“The spending allocation for 2018 is 56% for roads and 44% for public transport with 0.3% for sustainable transport.

“The United Nations calls for ‘at least 20%’ of transport budgets to go towards cycling and walking, it seems minister Ross didn’t get the memo or, if so, he and his officials chose to ignore it in a year of weather extremes when climate change was in the headlines or transport emissions continue to soar.”

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