People in Ireland are overwhelmingly reliant on the car for transport. Smarter Travel Areas is a programme that will demonstrate in 3 different towns how it is possible to reduce car travel, encouraging people to walk and cycle, car-share and to avoid unnecessary car trips.
In February, 2012 the local authorities of Limerick City & County, Waterford and Mayo, as winners of the National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas, were awarded total funding of € 21.7 million over a 5-year period to transform the respective areas of Limerick City & Environs, Dungarvan and Westport into Smarter Travel Areas, promoting, among other measures, cycling and walking, the use of public transport and reducing car travel. The three project areas each present a different range of opportunities and challenges in delivering smarter travel.
At the core of the Smarter Travel Areas concept is sustainability. Sustainability is not just about the environment and emissions but also quality of life and economic competitiveness. Balancing these factors is complex and requires a range of integrated solutions. The successful projects displayed an understanding of the smarter travel concept and the level of vision, ambition and imagination required to deliver this concept.
Smarter Travel Areas will be delivered by each Local Authority, working in partnership with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTT&S), local businesses, schools and communities. The Areas will transform not just people’s travel patterns, but their lifestyles, their communities and their localities.
DTT&S will monitor the progress of the three projects on an ongoing basis over the 5-year period. Smarter Travel Areas will identify which measures deliver the best results in different types of communities. Where interventions and measures are successfully introduced these will then provide a template and basis upon which to expand the Smarter Travel Areas concept across the rest of the country.