Navan rail study to be included in review of NTA Dublin transport strategy

A “business plan” for the rail line link to Navan is to be included as part of a review of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Transport Strategy, with a preliminary public consultation process launched today.

At a media briefing this morning, Deputy CEO of the National Transport Authority (NTA), Hugh Creegan, confirmed that a team would be in place next month to do a comprehensive analysis of the route, in conjunction with Meath County Council.

This will include looking at population projections, and refreshing work on the alignments and costs, essentially preparing a business case outlining what the line will mean and what it will achieve.

Mr Creegan said that this will be complete by April and will form part of the draft review of the Greater Dublin Area Strategy which will then go back out to public consultation.

CEO of the NTA, Anne Graham, said that they are looking at developing this strategy over quarters one and two next year, going out for public feedback in quarter three, and then being finalised for submission to the Minister for Transport in quarter four.

She said that while the study will look at the implications of the Covid-19 situation on the demand for public transport in the GDA, it is felt that growth in the area will overtake what could be a short reduction in public travel demand.

“It may mean we don’t see the level growth we had expected in the early stages of the strategy, it might come at a later stage, but that will need to be looked at in the review,” Ms Graham added.

Mr Creegan said they would be examining a range of scenarios from business as usual to people working at home, more tertiary education online, and recognising retail pattern changes, but are still satisfied that a lot of building up of the public transport system is required.

The NTA is asking members of the public to provide their views and objectives as part of a preliminary consultation process. They can do so by completing an online feedback form at www.nationaltransport.ie

In particular, NTA wants to understand what people’s overall priorities are for the transport strategy. That might be sustainability, accessibility, economic development or tackling disadvantage.

A second major consultation process will take place around the middle of next year following the development of draft strategy proposals.

This review process will involve assessing the implementation of the existing plan, and producing an updated strategy which will set out the framework for investment in transport infrastructure and services, to 2042.

The authority says that the revision of the strategy will be consistent with the spatial planning policies and objectives set out in the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) adopted by the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly in January 2020. These objectives in turn are consistent with the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan, as set out in Project Ireland 2040.

The revised strategy will also reflect national policies on sustainability as set out in climate action and low carbon legislation, and in climate action plans. The potential impacts of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, beyond the short-term, will also be taken into account.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said: “This consultation plays an important role in planning a transport system that is fit for purpose, and responsive to the needs of the public. I would encourage everyone to engage, read through the discussion document and make your feedback known. This is about improving our overall transport system and deciding how we travel through our local area, how we bring our children to school, travel to work and visit friends and family.”

Anne Graham, added: “We want to hear people’s views on what should be considered in the preparation of the new Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.

“We’re asking people to read our discussion document and then go to the website and respond to questions in the feedback form. This will help us shape our approach so that the revised strategy we publish next year, reflects the views of the public.

“That will include specifics on all our proposals for the region, investment plans, projections, and transport modelling. At that stage we will be inviting members of the public to consider the draft plan in detail; assess it in terms of future transport needs at regional, local and even household level; and provide us with feedback on what we are putting forward."

See www.nationaltransport.ie/consultations/greater-dublin-area-transport-strategy/

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