Cork's transport strategy will take a significant leap forward next month as engineering design teams to develop the city's bus network to carry almost 50,000 passengers per hour at peak times will be issued.
Specialist engineering teams will be also appointed next month to undertake route analysis and develop designs for the proposed light rail line from Ballincollig to Mahon. A major scaling up of cycling investment is also planned over the next five years, according to the National Transport Authority, which has briefed city councillors on plans.
The €3.5bn Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) aims to:
- grow Cork's bus fleet size to 220 vehicles;
- provide 100km of bus lanes and other priority measures — a 'seven-fold' increase;
- develop 200km of primary bike lanes.
The study also proposes a massive €700m investment in the region’s bus, suburban rail, and bike networks to increase the number of morning peak journeys by sustainable transport modes from 33% to 50% by 2040.
Among the most ambitious plans proposed in the strategy is the €1bn Cork light rail system linking Ballincollig to Mahon via a new docklands bridge.
CMATS also proposes new commuter rail stations at Blarney/Stoneview, Monard, and Blackpool/Kilbarry, on the Mallow line, and at Tivoli, Dunkettle, Ballynoe, Carrigtwohill West, and Water Rock, on the Cobh/Midleton line, and upgrades to stations in Cork, Cobh, and Mallow.
There are also plans for the development of 150km of secondary cycling networks, 60km of inter-urban cycling networks, and 140km of greenways — and a ban on heavy goods vehicles from the city centre.
The National Transport Authority and Cork City Council are now establishing a project team to develop BusConnects Cork, which has been allocated €200m under the National Development Plan.