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Plans to cut car use will be “mindful” of rural Ireland, says Ryan

New plans to “free up roads” and reduce personal car use will be “mindful” of rural Ireland, according to Climate Minister Eamon Ryan.

The new National Demand Management Strategy, which was brought to government on Tuesday by the Green Party, outlines a number of plans to reduce the number of cars on the road. These include implementing “car-free zones,” reallocating road space away from cars and towards public transport, and more.

In addition to these policies, Ryan’s department is looking at having fewer parking spaces and making them more expensive, as well as tax measures which penalise car use and encourage public transport.

“Government fully recognises that any demand management measures being considered, such as road space reallocation, car-free zones and user charging will only be effective and equitable when alternative, public transport options are readily available, both in urban and rural areas,” a statement from the Department of Transport said.

Minister Ryan has said he plans to establish a “steering group” to achieve these goals, which will take a “Cities First” approach. This will mean that the primary focus will be on reducing the amount of car traffic in cities and urban areas first and foremost. He also added that there will be a sub-group within the steering group, whose job will be to be “mindful” of rural people and their greater dependency on personal cars.

“Traffic congestion continues to clog our roads in our towns and cities,” Ryan said, speaking on the policy.

“It’s polluting, it’s noisy and it’s often dangerous for walkers and cyclists. In other words, the system we have now isn’t working for people.”

He said that Ireland’s transport system is currently “overly dependent on cars,” leading to “traffic chaos.”

“Demand management in transport is all about improving the efficiency of the existing transportation system, by reducing travel demand rather than increasing capacity,” he said, adding that “these pressures are only going to increase unless we intervene now to reduce our reliance on cars.”

The National Transport Authority has published models of how Ireland’s transport climate targets could be met, including massively increasing parking charges, substantially reducing speed limits on certain roads, and more.



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