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NI policy focus on walking, cycling and public transport

Words: Roger Milne
Cycling / Shutterstock_197046800

Northern Ireland's infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard has announced ambitious proposals to ensure that walking, cycling and public transport are at the heart of emerging transport policy.

Hazzard said he wants to ensure that people throughout the North can “benefit from well-connected, safe, high-quality walkways and cycleways, which will make walking a more attractive option for shorter journeys of around three kilometres and cycling for journeys of around five kilometres”.

"I also want to encourage greater use of public transport particularly for journeys of 10 kilometres or more,” he added.

He has instructed officials that this so-called ‘3-five-10’ approach should be at the heart of work on an overarching strategic framework, with the focus on moving people, not vehicles, around towns and cities.

Hazzard said this would pave the way for both a walking and a public transport strategy.

The minister revealed that recent consultations on the government’s delivery plan suggested there was an appetite for a more ambitious and integrated approach, which would draw on international best practice.

Hazzard said: “Investing in public transport, walking and cycling must be at the heart of our transport policy. It is the only way we can address congestion in our key urban centres, enable people and goods to move easily and ensure the North remains an attractive place to live, work, shop, visit and invest.”

According to latest travel statistics for the period 2013-15, journeys under five miles accounted for over three-fifths of all journeys made. Of these, 64 per cent were made by car. Just over a third of all journeys were less than two miles long and a half of these journeys were taken by car.

Image credit | Shutterstock