8. Surface access & transport
As a key strategic point of entry to Ireland, access to Dublin Airport is an important aspect to consider in the context of longer term planning for Dublin Airport and its environs. The anticipated growth in the capacity of Dublin Airport will be, to a large extent, dependent on the ability of passengers and staff to efficiently and conveniently access the Dublin Airport campus. There is a wide geographic catchment for airport users and employees and reliable accessibility is required for both the immediate local area as well as from the strategic national road and public transport network.
The importance of maintaining appropriate levels of accessibility to Dublin Airport in this context is recognised in the National Planning Framework (Government of Ireland, 2018) under National Strategic Outcome 6 relating to high quality international connectivity. This highlights the careful need for land use management on the landside areas to focus on the current and future needs of the Airport. Critically for landside access, the Airport is recognised as a key growth driver for Dublin and there is a requirement within the NPF to enable “improved public transport access, connections from the road network from the west and north and in the longer-term consideration of heavy rail access to facilitate direct services from the national rail network in the context of potential future electrification.”
Given its strategic national function, Dublin Airport is well located in terms of surface access, sitting on Ireland’s core Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and on or adjacent to several key elements of the national road network such as the M1 Dublin-Belfast corridor, M2/N2 Dublin-Derry, M3/N3 Dublin-northwest and the M50 orbital motorway.
The Airport is also well served by a number of public transport bus services such as the various local routes that run between Dublin City Centre and Dublin Airport and a number of regional and national bus services that run from Dublin Airport to a wide range of locations across Ireland. The mainline Dublin-Belfast rail line is located some five kilometres to the east, whilst the proposed MetroLink light rail system from Dublin City Centre to Swords will run in a tunnel directly beneath the Dublin Airport campus.