If nothing else, the decision to conduct an in-depth analysis on the future transport needs of the capital is a sign that we’re planning for the future.
People outside the Greater Dublin Area might ask why further investment is being planned at the expense of rural Ireland, but it’s important to remember that the bulk of population growth will occur in the city. Without a decent public transport system many will rely on cars, which will only add to gridlock and congestion.
The National Transport Authority is looking at extending the Luas, the DART and building new rail links. They will all cost many millions to implement, so it’s vital to get it right.
While Metro North is a good project, it’s very expensive. By comparison, extending the DART to Dublin Airport and beyond would cost much less.
This is a decision the State must get right, and other measures will also be needed. There’s no point in providing a high-capacity network at great expense if people don’t use it.
That means politically unpopular decisions will have to be taken – and consideration given to a congestion charge or a parking levy for those who refuse to make the switch.
Rural Ireland cannot be left behind either. We must promote best practice in every community.
There’s no reason why Dublin cannot be an example of best in class in making the switch to sustainable transport options. Deciding how best to provide those services is key, and could dictate everyone’s quality of life in our main urban centre.