The 2008-2010 Northern Ireland Travel Survey provides figures for all Northern Island that are indicative for Derry/Londonderry: Car as driver, 48 percent; car as passenger, 24 percent; walking, 17 percent; buses, 5 percent; taxis, 2 percent; cycling, 1 percent; rail, less than 1 percent; motorcycles, less than 1 percent and other private vehicles, 2 percent. It is suspected that the modal shares for sustainable modes are higher in Derry/Londonderry than for the rest of Northern Island, but the city has yet to perform its own travel survey showing precise figures.
The city’s regeneration plan, “One city, One Voice, One Plan”, was published June 2011. It includes five themes, including Sustainable City Region, which comprises an integrated transport strategy action plan for the Derry-Londonderry City Region. The plan has cross-party political endorsement, both locally and regionally, with a strong focus on sustainability and achieving a modal shift away from the private car.
The main targets are:
- implementation of quality bus corridors (QBCs), bus priority lanes, park & rides and feeder services;
- an upgrade of the rail line and rolling stock; and
- implementation of the Walking and Cycling Master Plan
The Derry Access Forum’s Access Plan 2009-2014 includes the delivery of the Walking and Cycling Master Plan.
Progress towards these objectives has been steady. Investment in sustainable transport increased over the last 10 years. Much of this success can be attributed to the work of the Derry Access Forum and its members. Formed in 1998 as the Derry Cycling Forum, the Access Forum’s remit is reflected in its mission statement “to develop, promote and maintain sustainable urban and rural access opportunities within the Derry City Council area.” This enterprise compliments Derry City Council’s “Statement of Intent” on Access. The forum has a wide and dedicated membership of seven organizations whose interests range from health to transport.
Recent innovative measures have included:
- 1998–present: Derry Access Forum;
- 2004–present: Safe Routes to School/Bike It programmes;
- DCC Cycle to Work Scheme; and
- 2008 – 2013: Connect2 Greenways.
Since 1998 over 60km of walking and cycling routes have been developed. One of the main targets of the Access Plan is to develop a further 45km of provision (105km total) by 2019. In June 2011, the Peace Bridge, the city’s first dedicated foot and cycle bridge, opened. The GBP 15 million iconic structure links the east and west banks of the River Foyle, creating a shared space that opens up new parts of the city in a safe, convenient and sustainable way.
In 2011, Derry became the first city on the island of Ireland to pilot a TravelSmart project: an individualised travel marketing (ITM) scheme delivered by Sustrans targeting 2,000 households in the Outer North Ward of the city.
Regarding clean vehicles and alternative fuels, the city has been exploring trials with electric and biodiesel vehicles in its municipal fleet and experiments with both fast and slow electric vehicle charging points.
As a small city, Derry does not suffer from the same pollution or congestion problems that larger cities do, but with petrol prices increasing and budgets tightening, the City Council believes it can make the case for a switch to more sustainable modes of transport.
Derry City Council has a strong track record of working with a variety of organisations to develop and implement sustainable transport measures. The City Council, in partnership with RAPID Ltd, has secured external funding through DARD and NIEA to fund an Access Officer within Council. The Council also supports Sustrans through part funding their Sustainable Transport Officer and providing office space for Sustrans North West Office. Other partners via the Derry Access Forum include: DRD – Roads Service; DoE – Planning Service; Disability Action; Derry Healthy Cities; Western Health & Social Care Trust; and ILEX Urban Regeneration Co.