My Department supports of the development of cycle infrastructure for both utility and recreational cycling. Funding for cycle infrastructure is provided to local authorities by my Department under the Smarter Travel Programme, a five year, €65million programme which was launched in 2012 to support increased cycling, walking and use of public transport. The main programmes under this funding stream are the Active Travel Towns, Smarter Travel Areas and National Cycle Networks.
Funding under the Active Travel Towns and Smarter Travel Areas programmes is generally targeted at utility cycling, for example though the provision of cycle lanes and secure cycle parking to make cycling more attractive as an everyday mode of travel. However the popularity of the schemes such as Dublin Bikes with tourists shows that all cycling facilities can appeal to tourists.
Funding is available under the National Cycle Network programme to local authorities for the development of cycle routes which appeal directly to the recreational cyclist, including tourists, such as the Great Western Greenway.
Just over €7 million was allocated in 2012 to fund 16 projects under the NCN. A wide variety of route types have been allocated funding, including canal tow path routes, routes along disused rail lines and routes which make use of bypassed national roads. Most projects are substantially progressed.
A further NCN funding call will be launched later this year to select projects to be funded from 2014-2016. All local authorities will be invited to apply for funding under the programme, which may be used to provide recreational cycling facilities for locals and tourists alike.