8.3 Public transport and sustainable transport
Recent surveys and statistics38 indicate that Dublin Airport has enjoyed considerable success in encouraging passengers to use public transport over the past ten years or so and the share of air passengers travelling to Dublin Airport by private car has reduced from 49% in 2006 to 38% in 2017. Continuation of this positive trend during the forecast period of rising passenger numbers will require concerted action including improvements to surface access infrastructure and increased public transport service levels.
On the other hand, the levels of sustainable active travel from recent data appear relatively low. Whilst this is understandable for passengers, in the context of Dublin Airport being located relatively close to adjacent residential areas such as Swords, Santry, Clonshaugh and Ballymun, it is likely that there is a significant potential for increased levels of cycling and walking for workers travelling to the airport campus, should the appropriate facilities be put in place.
The implementation of MetroLink by 2027 will add substantial new public transport capacity on the key corridor linking Dublin City Centre and Dublin Airport and, in some respects, it is in the intervening years between the adoption of this LAP and the commencement of MetroLink services that significant challenges will arise due to the level of forecast growth. The step-change increase in public transport accessibility that MetroLink will deliver, however, will provide an opportunity to set more aspirational public transport mode share targets for both passenger and staff travel alike and a key outcome of this LAP is to create the environment in which significant sustainable transport mode usage is achieved.
A key element of achieving sustainable transport outcomes is to facilitate an increase in walking and cycling to the Airport. Having regard to the particular nature of the Airport, it is considered that increasing the share of workers using sustainable transport modes to get to and from work is the most effective method for decreasing individual car trips. In conjunction with this, are key Fingal County Council documents39 regarding the development of Swords as an Airport City in tandem with growth at the Airport. It is recognised that Swords is a key location for existing airport staff and provides a suitable opportunity for modal shift to more sustainable transport movements between these locations.
Furthermore, improved connection southwards to the Dublin city conurbation would also facilitate increased sustainable transport movements from that area.
The existing cycle network along the R132 Swords Road between Santry and Swords is capable of improvement in order to ensure higher levels of service. While the section between the Old Airport Road and the Dublin Airport Roundabout is off-road and wide, other sections to the north and south, are shared within bus lanes or are narrow and advisory only. This situation should be improved within the period of the LAP to increase cycling to the Airport. The existing eastern section of the Airport lands is sufficiently served by off-road cycle path.
Provide for cycle paths separated from traffic along the R132 between Pinnock Hill Roundabout and the boundary with Dublin City Council as part of the Swords Core Bus Corridor.
All development proposals within the LAP shall be required to demonstrate provision of high quality cycle facilities for employees, to include secure bike parking facilities, and changing and shower facilities to incentivise sustainable transport.
8.3.1 EXISTING PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK
As there is currently no rail access to Dublin Airport in advance of MetroLink, public transport accessibility comprises an extensive network of bus and coach services. Dublin Airport is primarily served by provision of bus and coach boarding facilities at three main clusters of bus stops:
Pick-up/set-down areas outside Terminal 1;
Pick-up/set-down areas outside Terminal 2; and
Within the Ground Transportation Centre (GTC).
There are a number of operators providing bus services between Dublin Airport and various locations across the Greater Dublin Area including Dublin City Centre:
Dublin Bus operates the Airlink Express connecting Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre along with a number of local bus services serving the Swords Road corridor, Swords and adjacent suburbs;
Aircoach operates a number of express routes along corridors serving South Dublin and North Wicklow via Dublin City Centre, as well as national services to Cork and Belfast;
Airport Hopper provides two express routes serving western and southern parts of the Greater Dublin Area;
CityScape operate a number of services to South Dublin.
A large number of bus operators provide coach services to other parts of Ireland including destinations in Northern Ireland.
The bus stops located outside Terminal 1 and 2 are used by Aircoach services and Airlink, though all buses may set down here. Airlink and Aircoach provide an express service to Dublin City centre. The GTC provides bus stops for shuttle bus services to the long-term car parks also as well as for the bus and coach services listed above. A coach parking area is provided within the GTC serving other chartered coach services with an overflow also located in the long-term car park to the east of the R132.
8.3.2 FUTURE PUBLIC TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE
MetroLink is being developed by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland as part of sustainable transport measures proposed within the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035. The system will comprise a segregated rail line running from Dublin City Centre to Dublin Airport and northwards to Swords. The proposed Dublin Airport station will be located at the Ground Transportation Centre, just north of Terminal 2. Design of MetroLink is ongoing, with a Railway Order proposed for 2021 and the service becoming operational by 2027.
Fingal County Council recognises the key benefits that MetroLink will deliver for Fingal, Dublin Airport and the wider region, and as such it is a key priority of Fingal County Council to facilitate MetroLink delivery. Passengers and staff using the service to travel to and from Dublin Airport will experience a reliable and frequent service, fully segregated from general traffic and the associated delays that can arise due to traffic congestion. The service will be used by a range of different users including regular commuters to and from Dublin City Centre, air passengers, airport staff and staff working at ancillary properties in and around Dublin Airport.
The National Transport Authority is currently rolling out a series of large-scale improvements to the bus network across the Greater Dublin Area under the BusConnects programme. In relation to Dublin Airport, alongside the improvements to passenger information, ticketing and scheduling, the key proposal supporting users of the Airport campus will be the implementation of the Swords Core Bus Corridor, providing high quality, continuous bus and cycle facilities from Dublin City Centre to Dublin Airport and Swords. Fingal County Council strongly supports the early implementation of this scheme and the South Fingal Transport Study identifies the important function it will play in the provision of public transport services to Dublin Airport, in particular in advance of MetroLink becoming operational.
The National Planning Framework proposes the future consideration of a heavy rail link to Dublin Airport as a key enabler of future growth. Within the context of this LAP, and with the various other proposed public transport interventions that are currently in development, such as BusConnects, MetroLink and DART Expansion, it is unlikely that this proposal will be required to be significantly developed within the lifetime of this LAP.
8.3.3 PROPOSED PUBLIC TRANSPORT MEASURES
The primary public transport measures proposed under the LAP are as follows:
MetroLink: Support NTA, TII and other stakeholders in ensuring that MetroLink is delivered as soon as possible and provides the best possible service for all users including people travelling to and from Dublin Airport. This would include the physical design of the stations and trains and potentially conversion of some bus services to serve as feeders to MetroLink rather than operating competing services on the same corridor.
Core Bus Corridors: The Swords Core Bus Corridor (CBC) is part of the NTA’s Bus Connects programme. It will form part of a new network of continuous high quality bus lanes and cycle lanes, aimed at making journey times faster and more reliable for future services. Prioritisation of the delivery of this CBC in advance of MetroLink is central to catering for Dublin Airport’s ongoing increases in passenger demand in the short term and to provide a suitable buffer should the MetroLink opening year extend past current estimates. It will also facilitate increased opportunities for higher levels of cycling to the Airport campus with the introduction of segregated cycle tracks.
Coordination: Transport networks serving Dublin Airport should be coordinated to ensure optimal efficiency for all users. A review of how this would best be achieved may be required and Fingal County Council will support the National Transport Authority and daa, and others, in working with Dublin Airport’s bus operators to undertake such a review and implement any recommendations as required.
Early Morning / Late Night Services: It is important to ensure that services are available to serve early departing flights and late arriving flights, even though such services may be less commercially advantageous to the operator. Similar issues apply to airport staff working early and late shifts. This issue should be one of the key themes for consideration through the multi-agency coordination referred to above.
Improved Bus Infrastructure: Bus infrastructure at Dublin Airport should be reviewed in the context of growing demand and potential new services, including possible consolidation and rationalisation of bus and coach boarding and alighting facilities within the GTC.
Non-Core Airport Areas: Bus services will also need to be planned to serve users wishing to access other parts of Dublin Airport; for example, staff working outside the core terminal buildings.
Shuttle services: These should be coordinated with public bus services to avoid duplication and associated unnecessary traffic.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT OBJECTIVES
Encourage and facilitate the provision of an integrated public transport network to serve Dublin Airport.
Require the development of a transport interchange including a MetroLink station at the centre of the Dublin Airport campus, in accordance with the implementation of MetroLink by 2027 by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
Ensure that the proposed MetroLink station and interchange in Dublin Airport campus is undertaken to best international standards for public transport interchanges.
Facilitate the delivery of the R132 Swords Road Core Bus Corridor and to seek its prioritisation as a scheme of strategic national importance in enabling sustainable growth of Dublin Airport in the short-term and in advance of MetroLink.
Facilitate the development of bus priority facilities from the western side of the Dublin Airport campus to the terminal buildings, as a means of easing congestion on the existing road network. This will include the facilitation of car parking facilities on the western periphery and the implementation of bus priority facilities as needed, such as on the Collinstown Lane approach to the R132 Swords Road.
Investigate and provide for connections from the western parts of the airport campus to MetroLink, in the context of potential future planned development to the west of the existing terminals.
Identify and protect an alignment for the Orbital Metro (Metro West) and to ensure connectivity between Metro West and Dublin Airport.
Support the provision of new and/or improved bus routes through and around the airport campus including bus lanes, shelters, access points and interchange facilities.
Prioritise public transport and taxis on the external and internal road network.
Facilitate provision of stronger connectivity between Dublin Airport and the heavy rail/ DART network along existing roads, and to prioritise public and sustainable transport provision along any future East-West Link Road through development lands at Clonshaugh and Clongriffin.
Provide real time information, wayfinding, directional and scheduling information regarding public transport services to allow passengers and staff to optimally use the public transport facilities available.
Provide for high quality bus priority on approach roads to Dublin Airport as required.
Support the provision of improved taxi facilities.