The Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland has published a new plan designed to place walking, cycling and public transport at the heart of the country’s transport policy.
Announced last week (17 Jan) by infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard, the ‘3-five-10’ approach looks to address congestion in urban centres and enable people and goods to move easily.
The move follows a consultation, ‘Programme for Government Delivery Plan’, which Mr Hazzard suggests revealed an appetite for a ‘more ambitious, integrated approach’ to encouraging people to lead more active lives.
Under the new approach, Mr Hazzard will look to introduce a network of ‘connected, safe, high quality walkways and cycleways’ in an effort to make walking ‘a more attractive option’ for shorter journeys of around 3km and cycling for journeys of around 5km.
Mr Hazzard also aims to encourage the greater use of public transport, particularly for journeys of 10km or more.
According to the The Travel Survey for NI 2013-15, journeys under five miles accounted for more than 60% of all journeys made. Of those, 64% were made by car. More than 33% of all journeys were less than two miles long and a half of these were taken by car.
Chris Hazzard said: “I recently consulted on my Programme for Government Delivery Plan and the response suggests there is an appetite for a more ambitious, integrated approach, which would draw on international best practice.
“By looking at a more innovative and creative approach we can also encourage people to lead more active lives, benefiting both physical and mental health and well-being.
“Therefore, I have instructed my officials to develop an overarching strategic framework, with the focus on moving people, not vehicles, around our towns and cities.
“I want to explore examples of best practice which will support those living in both urban and rural areas, the young and our older population and also those in our communities with restricted mobility.
"I fully recognise that to achieve my ambitions will require a change in mindsets and in behaviours. I am committed to supporting people here to make that change.”