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Introducing park and ride facilities

Cork

The first permanent park and ride facility in Ireland was set up in Cork to reduce volumes of traffic and integrate the new ring road system with public transport into the city.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Prior to CIVITAS MIRACLES, park and ride facilities had operated temporarily from three different sites in the city. One of the services, introduced in 1997 to ease city centre congestion during the Christmas shopping season, had continued to operate on Saturdays only, all year round, with a bus departing every 15 minutes. However, this site was not available for long-term development and it was felt that a larger, strategically located, purpose-built park and ride facility could have a far great impact on traffic reduction (bearing in mind that the number of cars entering the city was increasing at a rate of 4.5 percent per annum).

It was therefore decided to provide a new park and ride service that would reduce the volume of traffic coming into the city from the southeast and integrate the new ring road system with public transport into the city. It would be designed and marketed as providing attractively priced, secure out-of-town parking.

It was also hoped that it might encourage people to abandon their cars entirely in favour of “walk and ride” or “cycle and ride”. The site would provide the only supervised, secure cycle parking area for the price of the bus fare into the city.

The measure aimed to:

  • reduce the volume of motor traffic coming into the city from the southeast;
  • provide at least 450 park and ride spaces at a new facility at Black Ash;
  • achieve and maintain park and ride patronage at near full capacity;
  • encourage families to use public transport together by offering a cheaper alternative to the regular public transport services on offer to families;
  • reduce demand for inner-city parking; and
  • integrate the new ring road system with public transport into the city.
How did the measure progress?

The site chosen for the park and ride facility is a former municipal landfill site. An unusual feature of the site is that the landfill decomposition gases collected  underneath the busy car park are being sent to an adjacent combined heat and power plant where they are used to generate electricity for sale to the national grid.

The site is also very conveniently located off an inbound lane to the city, adjacent to a major national ring road where congestion is a daily problem. It is well signposted with variable message signs on the approach roads to promote the facility.

It provides 900 car parking spaces (including designated spaces for disabled drivers), and additional spaces for parking bicycles and motorbikes. In the car parking area, most of the car park spaces are disposed at right angles to a spine-corridor, which bisects the site along the longest diagonal. This makes the best use of the available space and ensures maximum parking vacancy visibility. As a result, on-site traffic congestion is not a problem, despite the high use of the site during peak hours and weekends.

A prerequisite for the service operator was the provision of top-quality dedicated public transport with distinctive livery to Cork City Council’s specifications. The route frequency had to be sufficient to move 700 passengers per hour at peak times. To achieve this, bus priority measures were implemented at signal-controlled junctions along the route, thus facilitating reductions in journey times on both inbound and outbound journeys. It was therefore possible to provide a service at 10-minute intervals at peak times and 15-minute intervals at off-peak times.

The city centre terminus point is also conveniently situated close to the commercial/retail sector of the city. Its closeness to Cork’s central bus station also facilitates onward bus journeys to other locations in the city or county or to inter-city destinations.

In November 2003, the Black Ash park and ride facility was developed and opened to the public on an incremental basis, with 380 spaces becoming available by February, and 900 spaces by completion in October 2004. Usage increased at a steady pace, boosted by the free services provided by the city council for the duration of European Mobility Week in September.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Within 50 weeks of operation, income had started to meet operating costs. Furthermore, in the run-up to Christmas, turnover of spaces ensured that up to 1,400 vehicles per day (2,500 passengers) were removed from the approach roads to the city centre, with a perceptible reduction in queuing on the adjacent national road.

A further facility was subsequently designed for the north side of the city, which has been operational since early 2006.

This fact sheet has been updated by a third party on the basis of available information (not by the city itself), therefore we do not guarantee any data with respect to their content, completeness or up-to-dateness.

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