Dubliners could cut a “huge amount” of transport emissions by ditching the car for short journeys.
It comes as a new study finds that nearly six in ten Dubliners use a private car for journeys of 2km or less.
Dublin’s energy efficiency agency Codema is urging people to stop jumping in the car for five-minute trips – and city planners to do everything they can to reduce walking times between areas.
On Newstalk Breakfast this Codema Transport Lead Eoin Ahern said there is “huge potential” for reducing emissions by cutting out short journeys.
He said a new study in the Netherlands has found that Dutch people cycle 2.6km per day on average.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot but applied globally that would reduce emissions by something like 700m tonnes of Co2 per year,” he said.
“If you were to apply that to Dublin, there is what just under 1.5 million people in Dublin and that would be about 120,000 tonnes of Co2 per year.
“So, it is a significant chunk of the existing emissions – maybe 7% of Dublin’s current transport emissions.”
He said Dubliners are currently undertaking a “huge” number of short trips by car.
“There is a huge amount of emissions from these short trips,” he said.
“It is habit definitely and breaking that habit you just have to make it more attractive to not take the car.
“So, whatever that is, if it is putting safe prioritised cycleways and footpaths in place or the other side of it, making it a little bit less attractive to use cars, maybe with road filters where walkers and cyclists can get through, but cars can’t.”
Mr Ahern said Dublin’s car addiction is partly due to the way the city was built over recent decades.
“It was very much built around cars so kind of undoing that is a challenge,” he said.
“Despite a lot of good intentions from people sometimes there might be a long walk through housing estates where maybe it might be easy to knock a hole in a cul de sac and make it a lot easier to get to some shops that might be, as the crow flies really close but there is some really long circuitous route you have to take to get there.”
He said it is also essential to ensure people feel safe walking and cycling.
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