Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has launched a programme called Pathfinder, which involves 35 transport projects that are to be delivered across the country within the next three years.
According to a statement published on Gov.ie, the selected Pathfinder projects will start to transform how the population moves, works and lives across the country, split into the following five categories:
- national impact, which includes CycleConnects, a national brand coordinating cycle routes in urban areas;
- cycle network/corridor proposals, which are projects such as the West Wexford Urban Cycle Network, the Sligo Cycle Corridor, and the Meath Rural Cycleway Rapid Development;
- public transport, which includes projects such as Moyross Train Station and Athlone Bus Electrification;
- 15-minute neighbourhoods, which are projects such as the Letterkenny Active Travel Town and Naas Mobility Network and the Five Cities Active Travel Demonstrators;
- serving schools/universities, which includes projects like the acceleration of the Safe Routes to School Programme, Limerick University Connectivity and BusIt2School in Co. Meath; and
- workshops and research, including nationwide sustainable mobility training workshops and the Leitrim ‘Green Mile’ Mobility Pilot.
The Pathfinder programme is focused on reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector via a shift to cleaner transport choices, and it also aims to increase the momentum of the delivery of projects at a local level, providing templates that can be replicated and scaled up elsewhere, with a strong emphasis on experimental and innovative approaches.
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The statement published on Gov.ie quoted Minister Ryan as saying, “I was delighted with the response to my call to local authorities to participate in the Pathfinder programme. This first selected list shows clearly that there is a real appetite for change across the country. Shortlisted projects, while all unique, have three key things in common: they are innovative, they are ambitious, and, critically, they will be delivered at speed. The leadership group through this Pathfinder programme will continue to engage with all local authorities to ensure momentum, and that the lessons and experience of the shortlisted projects are shared for everyone’s benefit.
“Decarbonising transport presents an enormous challenge, one which requires a fundamental change in how we travel, including a shift in our mindset and choices. By 2025, the selected Pathfinder projects will be in action, improving the communities in which they will be implemented, and demonstrating to other localities how our system can be transformed. By delivering quickly, and by striking out on a path which others will follow, they will help to drive implementation of the government’s Sustainable Mobility Policy.”
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham as saying, “Pathfinder projects will be transformative in our cities by reducing car dependency and widening access for active travel and public transport. The projects can deliver once-in-a-generation change to active travel through CycleConnects in all our cities, focusing on the delivery of the core active travel networks in those cities and making new connections, such as between Limerick’s three higher-education institutions. The Pathfinder project also supports the delivery of the first zero-emission public transport services in Athlone and Dingle, and starts us on an ambitious delivery path for zero-emission bus services across Ireland.”
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted the director of planning and transport for South Dublin County Council, Michael Mulhern, as saying, “The scale of interest shown by local authorities across the country in putting forward so many excellent projects is hugely encouraging. It shows the level of commitment and ambition that each local authority has to deliver these projects, which will drastically enhance our local walking, cycling and public transport networks. We need the continued support from central government, the NTA, as well as local communities, to successfully deliver these projects.”
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