Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Manton, R., and Clifford, E
Velo-City, Global 2012
Formation of a cycling route assessment matrix for a National Cycle Network in Ireland.
2012
June
Published
1
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Optional Fields
Current transport trends in Ireland are unsustainable; as an example 57% of commuters drive to work, while only 1.9% cycle1. The primary reason for this relatively low amount of cycling has been attributed to the lack of cycling infrastructure2. The establishment of a National Cycle Network (NCN) has been proposed by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to correct this infrastructural deficit and lead to a five-fold increase in cycling trips. The proposed NCN connects major urban centres and opens up extensive rural routes.   In Ireland, the National Roads Authority Project Management Guidelines (NRAPMG) are used for the route selection of national roads, however, significant amendments to this methodology are required for the route selection of national cycle routes. These relate to the design nature of cycling routes – less area required, poor soil conditions may be considered etc – and the specific route corridor criteria.   This research features a case-study of the Mullingar-Galway corridor, a 140 km long corridor which connects a major town in the midlands of Ireland (Mullingar) to Galway City which is located on the west coast. This corridor includes some relatively large population centres, various tourist attractions, possible route facilitators (e.g. disused railway, bogs) and major constraints (e.g. River Shannon, Irelands longest river). It could therefore generate a large number of route options.   Using this case-study in conjunction with international best practice on cycling route selection, a Cycling Route Assessment Matrix (CRAM) for the roll out of the NCN in Ireland is being developed. CRAM will be used to identify and reduce route options by (i) identifying possible routes within a study area, (ii) reducing the number of route options to those feasible route options and (iii) highlighting a preferred route(s). The assessment matrix will make reference to: (i)                 Identifying areas of large population density to traverse, particularly those with demographics and topography favouring cycling, using GIS tools similar to a method in New Zealand3 (ii)               Considering  CROW’s4 requirements for a cycle network (cohesion, directness, safety, comfort and attractiveness) for the three key NCN user groups (commuter cyclists, cycle tourists, leisure cyclists) to maximise usage, user satisfaction and economic benefits (iii)             Quantifying these requirements using models such as the Dutch Cyclist’s Union’s Fietbalans5 (Bicycle Balance) evaluation criteria (iv)             Using state-owned lands (disused railways, active railways, canal towpaths, forest roads and bogland) as route facilitators to minimise cost and traffic interaction (v)               Considering the cost of construction and maintenance, how value for money can be found and how cost can be recouped by harnessing the various economic benefits of cycling (vi)             Integration with public transport and policy
National Roads Authority; Department of Transport
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