New research by Red C and commissioned by the Department of Transport has revealed that 77% of Irish people agree that walking, cycling and using public transport more is important with regards to impact on the environment and 60% are willing to personally make changes to how they travel. The research forms part of the Department of Transport’s new multi-platform advertising campaign, Your Journey Counts which outlines government investment in transport and encourages people to think about their journey and the difference it can make to cutting carbon emissions.
The Red C research also shows that 72% already agree that every journey choice can make a difference in lowering carbon emissions, and this campaign aims to encourage even more people to consider the impact their travel choices can make. The findings also show that 73% of car drivers and passengers would swap the car for walking, cycling and public transport for short journeys of less than 2 kilometres, most of which are currently made by private car.
This year, the Government is investing €1.9 billion in green, cleaner travel options such as public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure as well as carbon reduction programmes to help support a shift away from car use where possible. Every day of 2023, €1million is being spent on walking and cycling infrastructure, with a view to creating safe routes and sustainable connections in cities and to towns and villages all over Ireland.
This latest Red C research indicates that significant proportions of parents/guardians agree that their children will be walking (45%), cycling (31%), or using public transport (24%) more often in the next six months. Increased confidence in improved public transport is also likely to cause car drivers and passengers to cut back on their car use further, with 67% of drivers agreeing they would be willing to do this as confidence in public transport improves.
Further Irish research shows that substituting car journeys with walking, cycling and public transport can significantly reduce carbon emissions and congestion on Irish roads. The Energy Policy and Modelling Group of the MaREI Centre, Environmental Research Institute and University College Cork has found, for example, that:
• Switching a 4km car trip to school with walking, cycling or scooting can save 200kg of CO2 each year.
• An intercity train travelling from Cork to Dublin replaces 90 cars on Irish roads and saves 1.6 tonnes of CO2 with every journey, that’s the equivalent of 800 CO2 fire extinguishers.
• A double decker bus in Dublin takes 16 cars off the capital’s roads.
• By cycling all trips of less than 4km rather than driving, national emissions from passenger transport could be cut by 9%.
Irish people are already bucking the European trend. The most recent public transport figures show that passenger numbers in Ireland have recovered at a much faster pace than in many European countries since the pandemic. Last year, the transport network (rail and bus) supported nearly 250 million passenger journeys with passenger numbers in Dublin now 10% more than pre-Covid levels. Numbers are even more encouraging in rural Ireland where there is on average one new or enhanced bus route coming on stream every week. Local link buses, for example, were up by 82% in Q2 2023, compared to 2022.
Since the Government reduced fares in May 2022 by 20% for all and by 50% for young people, an additional 240,000 young people are benefitting from public transport every day. In just one year, there have been applications for 142,000 Young Adult Card and 98,000 student cards, both of which offer half price fares.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said, “this campaign is about letting people know about the improvements we are making to public transport and active travel services and what their options are locally. Then with this information about what services are available, and what will be coming on stream in the near future, we are asking people to consider their journeys and if these services might be an option for them to help us reduce our transport emissions.”
“Investing in public transport and active travel is a key priority for this government. Every week, we are launching a new or enhanced bus service across the country, providing 110,000 kilometres of services to rural Ireland in 2022 alone. Only a few weeks ago I was in Carlow for the launch of their first ever town bus service and there will be other town services coming on stream over the coming months. A few months ago, we announced that Leap Cards are now available in post-offices across the country, ensuring that more people can avail of the best ticket prices available, whether they are in a large city or a small town. What’s really encouraging is that passenger numbers are telling us that when services become available, people are flocking to them.”
Minister of State Jack Chambers said, “we continue to enhance our transport network through programmes such as Safe Routes to School, which supports walking and cycling infrastructure for school communities. Other public transport initiatives such as BusConnects and Connecting Ireland are already bringing new routes and improved services to urban and rural areas nationwide. As Government investment continues to support people to make more sustainable transport choices, the Your Journey Counts campaign reminds the public that their journey really can make a difference.”
For more information on how your counts and what the Government is doing to support you make the shift to sustainable travel, visit www.gov.ie/YourJourneyCounts