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Saturday 25 November 2017

Traffic jams in the capital could cost us €2bn a year, say experts

Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Rose Burke
Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Rose Burke

The cost of traffic congestion in Dublin to the national economy is set to jump to more than €2bn a year.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said significantly improved transport services, along with a bigger focus on cycling and car-sharing, are needed in the capital to avoid a pending congestion crisis.

The €2bn figure, which has been forecast by the Department of Transport, has been deemed as "extremely conservative" by Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke.

Speaking at a Dublin 2050 event urging long-term planning for the capital, she said urgent investment in Dublin's infrastructure was a necessity.

"The year 2050 may seem far away, but projects like Metro North and Dart Underground have very long lead-in times and we must start laying the groundwork now," she said.

"Dublin has already suffered enough due to short-term thinking.

"The Dart Underground proposal, for example, was first discussed in 1971. Almost a half-century later, no progress has taken place. Real action is long overdue."

Upgrades

Ms Burke said there are a number of short-term goals that need to be reached.

"Enhancement of Dublin's bus services, upgrades to the ticketing and payment system, improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure and co-location of complementary services should all be considered," she said.

"These are all areas where substantial gains can be achieved in a short time frame and with a relatively low outlay."

Laura Behan, head of the climate change unit at the Department of Transport, said car-sharing needs to be encouraged in Dublin.

Ms Behan cited such operations in 33 countries worldwide.

She said that, by using car-sharing methods, the time it takes to get from A to B is significantly reduced.

"Specifically, the forum examines the effect of replacing all car and bus trips in a mid-sized European city with automatically dispatched door-to-door services," Ms Behan said.

"The report finds that such systems can massively reduce the number of cars on city streets while maintaining similar service levels as today.

"They also result in significant reductions of distan- ces travelled, congestion and negative environmental impacts."

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