Its difficult to get unbiased results as the bypasses change driver behaviour
Example...Drivers now take longer distance journeys as journey times are reduced. Tolls impact a decision on whether to use th bypass. Economic downturn yada yada.
For instance, 10 years or so ago, there was 1 route through Kinnegad. There are now 3. Plus the other factors so its hard to really measure
Waterford was the first example to come up when I did an initial Google search. I also mentioned Moate. Others have since mentioned Cork and Limerick. I have made no comment on any specific case.
I am simply trying to find out whether there is any hard evidence of bypass effects. It doesn't matter where, initially at least. What counts is the measured effects, AFAIAC.
If you want to see the difference, trying driving through Cork City centre any time the tunnel is fully closed.
They'll be doing so in October during the evening, night and early morning.
Anytime they do so, the traffic in the city centre goes mental, even at 8 or 9 at night.
If the Jack Lynch Tunnel was tolled, Cork City centre would grind to a halt.
Tolling Waterford and Limerick were two majorly awful decisions.
Maybe then we should build bypasses of the bypasses for the poor hard pressed Limerick & Wa'furd locals?
There's a simple solution to that. Slap a congestion charge and HGV ban on the city centre island. Not only would it push all the stingy HGV drivers and commuters back out to the tunnel, it would almost certainly improve the quality of life for the main thoroughfares in the city and the pedestrians and cyclists who use them, as well as PT times dramatically improving.
I'd gladly pay a JLT toll if a portion of the toll meant Dunkettle gets pushed up the list for an upgrade.
Should have tolled the M9 and M7 Nenagh sections instead.
Why? Should it be Birmingham or nothing as well or is this specific to one place name?
Simple answer: To avoid the inevitable reported posts from people who, rightly or wrongly, perceive it to be some sort of sleight against Waterford.
Generally, you should refer to places using broadly acceptable, recognised terms. 'Wa'furd' is unacceptable. Moving on now.
I wouldn't necessarily use the word bias in this context.
But you're right: bypasses, and new roads generally, can indeed change driver behaviour. I would go as far as to say they can change social behaviour also. In other words, the intended or unintended, expected or unexpected effects of a bypass may extend beyond the impact on current drivers and their travel and commuting patterns.
OK, let's look at Cork then, since the Jack Lynch Tunnel has not been tolled so far.
Excerpt from a Cork City Council webpage (probably published 1999) on the Jack Lynch Tunnel:
Motorists began to reap the benefits of this £100 million scheme when the tunnel was opened for normal traffic on Monday 31st of May 1999. Since then on average about 33,000 vehicles use the tunnel each weekday, with about 28,000 vehicles per day at weekends, and the tunnel and the associated ring road network has significantly reduced traffic congestion in the city centre.An Irish Times report on 5th May 1999 had this to say:
The opening of the Jack Lynch Tunnel yesterday represented a proud day for the people of Cork and a very significant addition to this State's infrastructure. The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, has pointed to the very practical benefits of the tunnel; by easing traffic congestion, it will help to give the heart of the city back to its people.Fast forward four years to 2003. Here's the first post in a thread titled "Cork Tunnel Chaos" in the Commuting & Transport Forum (dated 1st October of that year):
So, when a bypass gave the heart of Cork City back to its people, what did they do with this gift of brilliant engineering?
It seems they drove more. Granted, the Celtic Bubble was really starting to expand then, so car ownership and car commuting was on the increase.
Be that as it may, the anticipated congestion-relieving effects of the Jack Lynch Tunnel didn't include at the time, for example, a resurgence in non-car commuting in Cork City.
Has this situation changed much since?
In April of this year, the Irish Examiner reported that "the NRA has predicted the Jack Lynch Tunnel will exceed capacity after work is completed to make the Dunkettle interchange a full freeflow junction."
This trend in traffic growth predated and necessitated the JLT, but the bypass didn't slow the trend. In fact, it could perhaps be argued that it added to it.
Cork City Council's analysis of travel patterns based on data from the 2002 Census revealed that there was a substantial increase in the percentage of people travelling to work in private vehicles and a continued decline in more sustainable forms of travelling to work, school and college.
Walking and cycling as a means of getting to work, school and college recorded significant decreases in the period 1996-2002. In contrast, travelling to work by motor vehicles has increased in almost direct proportion with the decrease in walking and cycling.
Results from the census reveal that there has been a substantial increase in the percentage of people travelling to work in private vehicles. The number of people travelling to work as car passengers has dropped, probably due to the increase in car ownership allowing people the choice of travelling in their own car. The numbers travelling to work on foot has increased slightly by 2.8%, most likely due to population and employment growth in the City Centre. The numbers travelling to work by bicycle dropped by a third between 1996-2002. Public transport has also experienced decreases.
The numbers travelling to both primary and secondary school on foot decreased, while the number of students cycling dropped significantly by over 50%. However, the numbers using public transport, particularly buses, continued to increase.
Growing numbers of students are being driven to school in cars, particularly at primary level. Over 10,000 primary schoolchildren are now driven to school by car, a 150% rise between 1996-2002. In 1996 it accounted for a third of all trips to primary school while in 2002 this percentage had risen to a over a half.Given the chance to rejuvenate the heart of the city by taking advantage of the traffic-relieving effects of the Bypass, did the residents of Cork collectively decide that the best way to do this was to generate new traffic?
Another trend evident in the 2002 results was an increase in the numbers of secondary school students driving to school, both on motorcycles and in cars.
The Cork City Strategic Plan 2001-2020 (CASP) recognises that road infrastructure improvements are needed, but warns that car traffic growth is not sustainable in the long or even medium term:
The car dependent trend in Cork is fuelled by economic growth; rising car ownership; dispersed, low density development; a relatively high standard of road infrastructure and a historic lack of investment in public transport. The large forecast growth in population, employment and the increase in incomes, which enables higher rates of car ownership, will make matters disproportionately worse. Without a sustainable transport plan, traffic will double over the next 20 years. Peak hour travel speeds will fall to 5mph on most roads in the urban area. Journeys to work will take four or five times longer in many cases, so that two hour journeys to work from the suburbs to the City will not be unusual. The benefits of recent and planned road improvements will be rapidly eroded. Commuter traffic will dominate the road network, at the expense of its efficiency for strategic movement. None of these predictions is unrealistic.A 2008 update of CASP re-emphasised this fundamental principle and confirmed that the traffic-relieving bypass itself was becoming significantly congested:
Provision of new roads is not generally a sustainable solution – it would only exacerbate the problem in the long term.
Research carried out as part of this Update indicated that there is a continuing growth in the demand for car travel and that significant congestion is being experienced on parts of the road network including the South Ring Road and the Jack Lynch Tunnel at peak times. Future growth in car based demand for traffic is eroding the capacity of the key national and arterial route network and is not sustainable. between now and 2020. If this growth is not addressed in an integrated way congestion will intensify and spread throughout the City and urban areas bringing average traffic speeds down to as low as 5mph. This must be addressed by providing a choice of mode of travel by public transport and other non car modes including walking and cycling.
Regarding the time period covered in that graph, between 1991 and 2002 the number of cars per 1000 population went from:
324/1000 to 469/1000
That's an increase of 44.75%, population grew by 11.1% in same period (1991-2002)
If you go from 1991 to 2006 (528/1000) the increase is: 57.4%, the population of the state grew by 20% during period 1991-2006.
If we do some back of hand calculations. A rate of 324/1000 in 1991 =
1991: (324/1000) = 1,142,332 cars
2002: (469/1000) = 1,837,168 cars
2006: (528/1000) = 2,238,639 cars
Growth rate 1991-2002 in car numbers: 60.82%
Growth rate 1991-2006 in car numbers: 96%
The question isn't that more people decided to drive because the "Jack Lynch Tunnel" removed trucks etc from Cork city center. The issue is simply that we've seen a situation where over 15 years the population grew by 20% and numbers of cars on the road almost doubled (96%) growth.
Germany by the way in 2008 anyways had slightly higher rate of car ownership per 1,000 (534/1000), Netherlands came in at 523/1000 so slightly lower then us.
To give you an example of a place that has been bypassed where there are (a) no tolls and (b) direct counters available, Kinnegad to Tyrellspass (part of Kinnegad to Kilbeggan on M6) was opened on December 5th 2006. The AADT went from 11,601 in 2006 (before the opening the actual counts ranged from 10,500 to 14,000). In 2007 the AADT dropped to 2756, a 76% reduction (range 2,600 - 3,200).
The proportion of HCV (this includes cars with trailers) is lower 11.9% vs 12.7% - but since these are a percentage of the actual figures the actual numbers have also dropped significantly (approx 330 vs 1,475).
I think the main thing to take into consideration when considering the imapct or otherwise of bypasses is the lax planning regimes which local authorities put in place around the the bypasses.
In the Cork example, you can't just take the JLT in isolation when discussing Cork commuters driving habits, one has to consider the impact of Cork Co.Co planning decisions over the past 2 decades in tandem with the development of the South Ring road.
What we've seen witht the development of the SR is the haphazard growth of car-dependant satellite towns like Carrigaline, Passage West & Rochestown, numerous scattered housing developments like Eagle Valley and Mount Oval, a couple of large shopping centre developments and the the mushrooming of one off housing around the lower western harbour area.
This has the effect of making the South Ring as much an arterial route for the Cork metro area as it is a bypass of the city itself. For all the vaunted efforts of the CASP and LUTS plans (which have had a decent enough effect on the eastern side of the city in particular) Cork is still massively reliant on the car as public transport is barely functional within the defined city limits, and fairly poor outside city limits to large suburbs like your Carrigalines & Ballincolligs. Long commutes by car to cover short distances are pretty common place as a result.
So considering this in relation to the OP's intent as to what the impact of the Galway City BP will be; You can be dam sure, knowing what the western county councils are like, that the Galway councillors will engage in an orgy of unsustainable development in the forms of out of town retail and housing developments, as well as loads of one off housing to take full advantage of the GCOB and N17/18 upgrade.
So what's the alternative - build factories & business parks in places like Athenry, Gort & Tuam? There is an IDA strategic site in Athenry that had a link road built to bring traffic directly to it from the M6 & R338, avoiding the village. I haven't heard of any companies interested in (re)locating there.
Ideally the alternative isn't a roads related topic at all. We need a shake up of how local government operates to prevent previously mentioned acts of councillors acting on behalf of their electorate being able to easily contravene already flimsy local development plans.
I agree with most of that but i.m.o. it's not possible to entirely ignore roads when considering the alternatives, since they will have an effect on how roads are used. People have to travel to work and they will do so from areas where there are few if any reasonable PT options that will get them in for say an 8 a.m. start. To pick Eyrecourt at at random from Co Galway, residents will still have drive to where they're going. So should we cater for or ignore places like this?
In an extreme case there are two solutions to the problem of people driving to long distances to work from areas that currently have little or no pt options (illustrative, I don't necessarily support or oppose either and not trying to spark a discussion of their merits):
1) make places like this so expensive so as it's impossible to live there, forcing people to move to towns like Galway, Tuam, Loughrea etc that have employment & facilities that make it possible to use PT, walk or cycle most places.
2) Move jobs closer to the people that are traveling to the large towns to work. Within Galway City it would be Knocknacara, in the county Athenry Loughrea, Ballinasloe, Tuam & Gort. This would help to reduce the pressure on the larger towns (e.g. the 5 city areas), giving extra time to time to put in place infrastructure (roads, rail, pt, water, telecoms, schools etc) that is needed to continue with proper development of these areas.
Either solution would affect transport policy which includes roads.