The importance of street design in supporting and encouraging sustainable travel patterns in urban areas is recognised in the Smarter Travel policy under the theme of aligning spatial planning and transport. There is a growing appreciation that streets should not just be transport corridors, but rather should be places in which people want to live and spend time. To that end, my Department, together with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, is sponsoring the preparation of a Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets. The Manual will outline practical design measures to support and encourage more sustainable travel patterns in urban areas. It is currently being finalised and it is intended to launch the Manual on the 25th of March.
The Deputy might wish to note that under my Department’s Smarter Travel Areas initiative, Limerick City, Dungarvan and Westport have officially become Ireland’s Smarter Travel Demonstration Areas 2012-2016 representing a city area, medium-sized town and small town. The three areas will see a combined investment of €23 million to encourage a behavioural switch to more sustainable forms of transport. In addition, under the Active Travel Towns funding programme initiated by my Department in 2012, small grants have been made available to 30 towns to develop walking and cycling strategies and over €5.2m has been allocated to local authorities to deliver Active Travel strategies in 12 towns.
Monitoring and research undertaken by the National Transport Authority in support of sustainable transport objectives are matters that fall within the remit of the NTA. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply with regard to the second section of the question. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.