Dáil Éireann - Volume 675 - 17 February, 2009

Written Answers. - Smarter Travel Policy.

Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Transport his Department’s work place travel plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6000/09]

  Deputy Noel Dempsey: My Department instituted its first Workplace Travel Plan in September 2007. Among the measures contained in that Plan were a dedicated website to facilitate staff in lift sharing; provision of bicycles in each office location in Dublin to service inter-office travelling needs and to facilitate those who might wish to sample commuting by bicycle; the establishment of bicycle users and walkers groups; provision of information to staff on timetabling of public transport services; awareness raising in relation to walking distances to the Department’s offices from suburban areas; and promotion of the annual travel pass scheme.

In delivering the Plan, an undertaking was given to regular review. Such a review has been undertaken recently and it is envisaged that my Department’s second workplace travel plan will be launched shortly. At this stage, some 75% of my Department’s staff travel to work either on foot, by bicycle or by public transport.

Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Transport the funding provided to An Taisce in respect of the green schools travel module for each year since inception; the amount requested for each such year; his views on the future of this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6007/09]

  Deputy Noel Dempsey: An Taisce’s Green Schools Travel Module was supported, on a pilot basis in the period 2005 to 2007 in the Greater Dublin Area, by the Dublin Transportation Office. €154,909 was paid in 2005, with €295,301 and €187,633 paid in the succeeding years.

The pilot programme, which peaked at 50 schools and 20,000 pupils in the Greater Dublin Area in 2007, produced encouraging results with an average 10% decline in car use for school journeys in the participating schools. This decline was replaced by an 8% increase in walking/cycling and 1% increases in reliance on public transport and mixed mode travel.

In 2008, I indicated that I wished my Department to make up to €2 million available on an annual basis, up to and including 2012, to the Green Schools Travel Module through the DTO. €1,448,864 was paid in 2008 and enabled the Module to operate in 317 schools.

I consider that the Green Schools Travel Module is a key educational support towards achieving significant modal shift by the year 2020 in line with the Smarter Travel Policy. The Module increased its reach from about 20,000 pupils in 2007 to some 75,000 in 2008 and I envisage that by 2012 it can reach about 265,000 pupils on a nationwide basis.