SmarterTravel is the transport policy for Ireland that sets out how the vision of a sustainable travel and transport system can be achieved. It has been developed by the Dept of Transport, Tourism & Sport, and it has its own website, www.smartertravel.ie, where you can access the Smarter Travel strategy and also view information on the various programmes and initiatives the Dept has introduced.
One element of the Smarter Travel programme is the National Cycle Policy. Ireland’s National Cycle Policy Framework recognises the need to support and encourage all types of cycling, including recreational and tourist cycling. “Recreational routes”, says the policy, “in and around urban areas, which in turn link to rural areas, are very important.” The National Cycle Network funding initiative, launched by the Dept in 2012, aims to create a number of long distance off-road cycling routes. This is where the funding for the first Phase of the Ulster Canal Greenway came from.
You can find out more about other projects in development around Ireland here
Another aspect of the Smarter Travel programme is the creation of a number of Active Travel Towns, whereby the local authorities were supported by the Dept to introduce measures to encourage more use of walking and cycling for short journeys around towns, rather than relying on motor cars. The Dept says:
“Between workers and students, around 400,000 people travel 4 kilometres or less to work or school or college by car every day – distances that could easily be cycled or walked. If even just these people changed to walking or cycling urban traffic jams would be a thing of the past. Our economy would reap benefits from the improved efficiency in goods movements. It would mean lower overheads for everyone due to time savings. It would provide a welcome extra boost to competitiveness.”
Monaghan County Council has selected Monaghan and Castleblayney towns as areas to pilot some Active Travel initiatives. Funding will be required to implement the programme in full, and so progress has to be made at the pace of available funds. So far, walking and cycling strategies have been prepared for the two towns, and a website, GoMonaghan.ie, has been created, to promote the active travel agenda.