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Saturday 30 August 2014

People living in boom-era commuter belt 'slaves to their cars'

Allison Bray

Published 24/04/2014 | 02:30

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PEOPLE living in Dublin's boom-era commuter belt have become slaves to their cars, and face longer journey times due to the lack of public transportation, according to a study.

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It found that people who bought homes in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) suburbs during the Celtic Tiger era over the past decade are more likely to "endure unsustainable commutes to work" than those living in older and more established areas.

They are also more likely to have no other source of transport other than their own cars in order to get around.

The study by Dr Brian Caulfield, of Trinity College Dublin, found that many of these new housing estates are not serviced by either the DART, LUAS or Irish Rail commuter trains.

Many of the new estates aren't served by bus routes either. And even if they were, residents still preferred to drive to work because the buses weren't seen as being reliable or the journey was too long, he said.

PROBLEM

"New public transport infrastructure has generally lagged behind construction," he said.

Compounding the problem is the fact that much of the new housing that was built between 2001 and 2006 – representing 17pc of all housing in the GDA – is at a much higher density.

This is due to the proliferation of apartments and townhouses compared with traditional suburbs, which featured predominantly single-family dwellings or semi- detached houses, he added.

As a result, even more people are being forced to drive to work since the boom years than before, which is bad news for the environment, traffic congestion and commuters, he told the Irish Independent.

"It's travel time, it's emissions. People don't want to be spending that amount of time in their cars," he said. The problem is even worse for people who are living in unfinished ghost estates in negative equity and "are stuck there and still live a distance away" from their jobs.

Irish Independent

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