Pathfinder: Where are the 35 new schemes to boost public transport, cycling, walking?

Projects in 19 counties over three years will include acceleration of traffic restrictions across Dublin

Some 35 “pathfinder” projects designed transform public transport, walking, and cycling in 19 counties over the next three years were announced on Monday. Photograph: iStock

Some 35 “pathfinder” projects designed transform public transport, walking, and cycling in 19 counties over the next three years were announced on Monday. Among them are the acceleration of traffic restrictions across Dublin city centre, with roadspace reallocated from cars to cyclists and pedestrians.

Car restrictions across Dublin city to be introduced within three years

National Impact

1. CycleConnects

The CycleConnects Programme will focus on core networks in urban areas, prioritising delivery of parts of the network that will deliver high-quality cycle routes close to the homes of most people in urban areas. Similar to BusConnects, CycleConnects will create a unified brand and sense of cohesion around these core corridors, with the overall aim to have 70-80 per cent of the urban population within 500m of the completed Core Network in 2028.

2. Inter-Urban Demonstrator (National Link Cork-Waterford)

Transport Infrastructure Ireland will lead on this project to establish the first complete city-to-city cycling route in Ireland. The project will complete the remaining sections of the route between Cork and Waterford which do not yet have high quality active travel infrastructure in place or under construction, building cycling lanes from Cork City to Dunkettle; Carrigtohill to Midleton; and Youghal to Dungarvan.


3. Smarter Travel Award/Mark

The Smarter Travel Mark, to be developed by the National Transport Authority (NTA), will recognise a workplace or campus as being committed to active and sustainable travel for their workforce, students, or visitors. Where feasible, organisations will be encouraged to unlock car drivers’ habits by rewarding staff for giving up driving spaces; they may consider reducing their sites’ available car parking spaces. Public sector organisations will be specifically encouraged to apply for certification, but the Smarter Travel Mark will also be available to organisations of all sizes demonstrating a commitment to sustainable travel.

Cycle Network/Corridor Proposals


4. Wexford Cycle Network

This project will be delivered by Wexford County Council and involves combining several proposed walking and cycling schemes to develop a network which, when complete, will comprise over 10.5 km of both off-road and segregated on-road cycle paths. The network will provide enhanced walking and cycling access to several schools, develop an active travel link between Barntown Village and the centre of Wexford town, link with the EUROVELO cycle route to Rosslare Harbour, and develop active travel connections to the town’s train and bus station at Redmond Square. Where feasible, the project will also incorporate streetscape upgrades with new street tree planting and drainage systems.


5. Longford Cycle Network

This Longford County Council project will comprise a radial cycle network along three approach roads leading to Longford town centre, with the ‘Battery Road (R198)’ and ‘Ballinalee / Major Well’s Road (N63)’ sites advancing north and eastward towards the N4, with the ‘Farranyoogan (N63)’ extending westward and with further access opportunities to the Royal Canal Greenway. Each location involves the introduction of a new cycleway connection and improved footpath provision. Where feasible, extensive tree planting and sustainable drainage systems will be provided.


6. Rural Cycleway Rapid Deployment – Navan to Trim

This project will be delivered by Meath County Council on part of the R161 between Navan and Trim and will look at methods for rapid deployment of a rural cycleway on the verges of a regional road in the county. The project will explore pragmatic and cost-effective ways to construct a safe, segregated facility quickly within the existing road boundary while finding solutions to deal with any segregation, drainage, boundary treatments, junction/access layouts, signage, surfacing and safety issues.


7. Dundalk Regional Road Cycleway

This will be led by Louth County Council and will develop a 4km section of the R132 Dundalk Inner Relief Road to deliver improved walking and cycling facilities and a safe commuter corridor.


8. Mullingar Cycle Corridor with links to Dublin-Galway Greenway

This Westmeath County Council project involves the provision of a walking and cycling route from the west to the east side of the town to bring cyclists into the core of the town, linking into the Dublin-Galway Greenway/Royal Canal Blueway and incorporating improved public realm aspects. The cycle corridor will complement the existing bike hire scheme in the town, which has seen increasing usage numbers since its launch at the end of April 2022. It is intended that the provision of improved infrastructure will facilitate further expansion of the scheme.


9. Wicklow Active Travel Links

This project will be delivered by Wicklow County Council and will fast-track the delivery of a number of core walking and cycling infrastructure projects providing connectivity to towns within Wicklow, focusing in particular on Wicklow town and Greystones.


10. Five Cities Demonstrator: Waterford Cycle backbone

This project will link Waterford City to the Waterford Greenway in 2023 through the Bilberry connection, which is currently under construction. The project will see this connection being extended across the River Suir to the proposed Strategic Development Zone lands, and along the Dublin Road and inner Ring Road to provide a cycle backbone to the city.


11. Five Cities Demonstrator: East Cork Sustainability Corridor

This project will link with the Inter-Urban Demonstrator project connecting Waterford and Cork. The project will be led by the NTA and link Cork City Centre to the Dunkettle roundabout, as well as linking in village and town networks along the Greenway.

Public Transport


12. Moyross Train Station

The Moyross project will deliver a new train station in a growing area of suburban Limerick, which is undergoing significant regeneration. The construction of this train station is a key element of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy 2040 to support compact growth and improve connectivity for the area’s growing population.


13. Waterford North Quays

This is part of a much wider redevelopment project on the North Quays in Waterford that remains subject to Government approval. If approved by Government, it will involve significant enhancement in active travel infrastructure linked with public transport investment in the city.


14. Athlone Bus Service Electrification

The transition of the Athlone Town Bus Service to battery electric buses has been developed by the NTA as a pilot project to define the pathway to the transition to zero emissions. This pathfinder project will see early outcomes as electric buses will come into service in Q1 2023.


15. Dingle Integrated Community-Based Sustainable Mobility for Rural Ireland

This project is a community-anchored pilot to enable delivery of decarbonisation of the transport sector on an integrated way on the Dingle Peninsula (Kerry CoCo Decarbonisation Zone). This project, delivered by Dingle Hub, brings together community initiatives, the provision of improved public transport and the use of electric or low carbon vehicles.


16. Five Cities Demonstrator: Galway Cross-City Link

The Galway Cross City Link is a project under the wider BusConnects programme. When complete, the Cross-City link will have a transformational impact on access to the city, with public transport and bikes facilitated with direct access, while private cars will be routed around the city centre. The cross-city link will ensure that public transport services can access key areas such as the retail and recreational centre of the city, public transport hubs at the rail and bus stations, and key areas such as University Hospital Galway and University of Galway.

10-15 Min Neighbourhoods


17. Five Cities Demonstrator: Dublin Active Travel City

The Five Cities Active Travel demonstrator for Dublin will encompass several schemes across all four local authority areas. The schemes incorporate elements of cycle infrastructure, traffic reduction, road space reallocation, public realm improvements, and the 10-min neighbourhood. Its component parts are:

• Dun Laoghaire/Blackrock Area (Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council)

- 10-minute town model to include segregated cycle facilities, an expansion of walking and cycling options into the area south of Dun Laoghaire.

• Dublin 24 Area Rapid Build and Castletymon neighbourhood (South Dublin County Council)

- This scheme will include rapid delivery of a 11km cycle network in Tallaght/D24, and the development of Castletymon as a 10-min neighbourhood via walking and cycling infrastructure, with public realm improvements. Both projects will link with the Dodder Valley cycle scheme creating an overall enhanced walking and cycling network.

• Dublin City Centre (Dublin City Council)

- The city centre element of this pathfinder will combine the conversion of College Green and Dame Street to a low-traffic environment with the enhancement of public transport and active travel provision via the review of the City Centre Transport Study. The project will implement major changes in College Green/Dame Street, the North and South Quays, Beresford Place, Gardiner Street, Pearse Street/Tara Street, and Stephens Green, in conjunction with the rollout of BusConnects and CycleConnects to transform travel within the city centre.

• Swords/Airport Connectivity (Fingal County Council)

- Dublin Airport is one of the biggest employers in Dublin and a high proportion of staff live in the Swords area, which is less than 5km to the north, but which currently has poor cycle connectivity. This active travel demonstrator will rapidly build out a network in Swords to facilitate improved connectivity which will be further enhanced when the BusConnects scheme is complete in 2028.


18. Letterkenny – Reallocation of Road Space for Walking and Cycling Donegal County Council will deliver a series of pedestrian- and cyclist-focused schemes aimed at improving the 10min-town active travel journey between key destinations throughout Letterkenny. The project includes two schemes linked to Safe Routes to School, and will link residential areas with education, employment, commercial, recreational, retail and tourist sites through high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure.


19. Lismore Park, Waterford

Waterford City and County Council will convert Lismore Park to a pedestrian, cycle, and public transport centred community. The project will re-design the major routes and green open spaces of Lismore Park to a sustainable transport community with the goals of the 10/15-minute neighbourhood.


20. Clonmel 10 min town

This will be delivered by Tipperary County Council and aims to reduce the dominance of the car within the town centre and reduce carbon emissions. The project will prioritise pedestrian access to town centre streets. At certain locations it will involve creation of shared spaces, wider pedestrian facilities with seating, cycle stands and smart technology, incorporating tree planting, landscaping and drainage measures. The project will connect existing and proposed walking and cycling infrastructure such as the Suir Blueway, proposed Suir Island pedestrian and cycling bridge, the proposed Cahir to Clonmel Greenway and the Safe Route to Schools Projects.


21. Naas Mobility Network Integration

The Naas Mobility Network Integration project aims to reduce traffic congestion in Naas town centre, improving safety and accessibility. It will see the completion of a 45m extension of Corban’s Lane as an alternative route for traffic and will involve linking and construction of walking and cycling infrastructure. The project will also link with existing Active Travel infrastructure and will construct further routes to connect residences, schools, retail and medical facilities and existing public transport.


22. Killarney - 10 min town

The Kerry County Council Pathfinder will encompass the construction of a core defined cycling network in Killarney. The project will also incorporate a number of Safe Routes to Schools.

Servicing Schools/Universities

23. Safe Routes to Schools Programme - Acceleration

This project will accelerate the delivery of the NTA’s Safe Routes to School Programme through improved resourcing and an initial focus on more rapid implementation of front-of-school treatments, which will bring immediate safety improvements in the vicinity of the schools. Acceleration of the programme will be helped by streamlining the planning process for these front of schools. It is proposed to establish a rolling programme for implementing subsequent rounds of schools so approximately 500 schools will have front of school zones completed, cycle parking in place, and draft delivery plans completed by the end of 2025.


24. Rathmullan Road and Marley’s Lane, Drogheda

This will be delivered by Louth County Council and will create a safer and more sustainable transport link between local schools, healthcare facilities, and sports and leisure facilities along Marley’s Lane and the upper part of Rathmullan Road, to the town centre of Drogheda, in line with the 15 minute Neighbourhood concept. The scheme will also provide a link to the town for people living along the scheme in the multiple housing estates, and to connect with Drogheda Town Centre, as well as Bus and Train stations along the R132. The Project will play an integral part in connecting residential areas, town centre, educational premises and an existing Boyne River Path, which provides a critical linkage for cyclists commuting to work and schools in Drogheda Town Centre.


25. Hanover to Tyndall Active Travel Route to the Technological University

The project will provide high quality pedestrian and cycle facilities along the R448 in Carlow Town, connecting Carlow Bus Park and the educational facilities of South East Technological University (SETU) and Tyndall College which are located along the R448.


26. Five Cities Demonstrator: Limerick City University Connectivity

This Five Cities Demonstrator pathfinder will develop a link from the campuses of the main third-level institutions, as well as several primary and secondary schools and further education centres, to the city centre and each other through a series of high-quality cycle routes.


27. Active Travel Corridor – Carraroe, Sligo Town, Atlantic Technological University Sligo Campus

This project will contribute to the development of Sligo as a “3km Cycle Friendly Town” by providing an active travel infrastructure corridor from Carraroe south of Sligo town to the town centre. A further active travel corridor extending from Sligo Town Centre to the ATU Sligo campus at Ballinode, and incorporating contraflow cycling solutions, will alleviate the need for cyclists to travel circuitous routes around the town network, and facilitate access to the university by sustainable modes of transport.


28. Athlone Cycle Corridor, linking TU with Centre

Westmeath County Council will provide an Active Travel route from Baylough on the west side of the town (county boundary with Roscommon County Council) along the Old Galway Road/Old Dublin Road to Creggan on the eastern extremity of the town. It will build in connectivity with the Dublin-Galway Greenway at multiple locations which will benefit a core area through the town, providing walking and cycling facilities to key destinations including business, retail, residential, educational and leisure and linking with the pedestrian/cycle bridge currently under construction across the River Shannon as part of the Dublin-Galway Greenway. The cycle corridor will also encompass the Technological University of the Shannon - Midlands (TUS), which has a significant student population, and which will be a hub location for Athlone’s new bike hire scheme.


29. BusIt2School - Working with schools and community to encourage use of town bus services instead of cars.

This project will be delivered by Meath County Council, which will work with various schools in Navan along the town bus network to develop a ‘BusIt2School’ Programme aimed to encourage school children who are typically driven to school to take the bus instead.


30. Smart and Sustainable Mobility Training Workshops

This is a capacity-building and education initiative for Local Authorities (LAs), Councillors and Public

Participation Networks (PPNs) in each Region. It will deliver training programmes for LAs including Active Travel teams, and for business community reps, elected members, and local communities to build local SMP ambassadors. It will be an enabler for other pathfinder projects, by applying good practice project learning to location-specific project challenges and assisting in the acceleration of infrastructure projects and smart mobility initiatives. Workshops will target case study projects in a range of locations (Cities, Regional Growth Centres, Key Towns, Rural Areas) focusing on creative, cost-effective, early win projects that are impacting modal shift and SMP targets.


31. ‘The First and Last Green Mile’: Pilot to integrate Local Link service, hackney and community e-bike scheme

The pilot encompasses further research into demand for services, building on an existing community car scheme. The project will also include the development of a software management tool to match requests with transport providers. The pathfinder aims to provide insight into effective rural sustainable mobility options, facilitating households, where possible, to move from two car to one car ownership.


32. Research and pilot to trial carpooling among large employers

This project will be delivered by Leitrim County Council, which will pilot an employee carpooling scheme among Co Leitrim’s largest employers. The County Council will provide leadership by implementing this scheme with its 250 staff members and has begun a process of engagement with the largest employers in the county to encourage their participation.


33. Sligo Shared E-Bike Scheme – expansion

Sligo County Council has rolled out a 12-month trial for electric bikes (e-bikes) in and around Sligo Town, which will run until June 2023. The primary purpose of this trial is to establish whether an efficient and convenient e-bike scheme will help to support and encourage the desired shift from private car towards sustainable shared transport alternatives. This will facilitate the expansion of the pilot scheme through the provision of charging docks in two locations in Sligo town.


34. Workplace Mobility Hubs – Four Dublin Local Authorities

Smart Dublin will establish a shared mobility scheme for staff at the four Dublin Local Authorities (DLAs) to use for business-related travel. The aim of the project will be to assess the operational, technical, and behavioural aspects of staff shared mobility for the hubs established in Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, and under consideration in South Dublin County Council.


35. Last Mile Delivery

Under this Project, Smart Dublin will seek to progress two sub-projects within the last mile sphere.

1. Kerbside Management

• Dynamic management parking and loading bays to manage vehicle movement and aid better planning of the public realm. This sub-project aligns with Dublin City Development Plan 2022.

2. Microhubs

• Reducing the number of bigger, motorised vehicles entering the city and increasing the use of smaller, cleaner, or zero emission, vehicles for lower congestion and Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs). This sub-project aligns with Dublin City Development Plan 2022 and the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times