Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MIRACLES Report Summary

Project ID: 11953
Funded under: FP5-GROWTH
Country: Ireland

Provision, promotion and successful operation of a new park and ride site, with procurement of a service level contract on EU tender

This measure helped to result in the provision of a Park & Ride Site 8 km south of the city centre with 900 car parking spaces. By October 2005 daily patronage was approx. 500 cars/day saving approximately 475 round trips to the city centre. (Some walked from the site to nearby out of city destinations.) This helps free up the city roads for more efficient commercially essential trips.

It also makes the city centre more attractive for shoppers who dislike the stress of innercity driving/the hassle of searching for a parking space. (12% of those surveyed in April 2005 did so to avoid the stress of city traffic 18% because they found it gave them easier/faster access to the city-using the bus lanes & traffic light prioritization. 34% used it because of concern about trying to find parking.)

Typically 10% use the service for shopping & 3% for non-shopping businesses outside of Christmas. That’s around 15,000 shoppers/yr.(63% of customers were going shopping on Car Free Day when the bus is free & usage peaks) Most regular users are commuting to work because it is cheaper than inner city parking.

This has socio-economic benefits for these individuals & their places of work- which benefit from lower dem&s for work place parking & less stressed employees.
Information about the Park & Ride has been widely disseminated at local, national & EU level. A presentation was made to the Civitas Forum in Rotterdam in 2004& the Irish Government awarded it a Public Service Excellence Award in 2006.The Black Ash Park & Ride was the first permanent year-round service in the Republic of Ireland.

Key innovative aspects included:
-Variable Message Signs on nearby ring roads & other approaches, thus integrating the ring roads & public transport systems.
-Secure bicycle parking facilities & all customers given a complementary newspaper! Such facilities/services had not previously been provided at any local bus stops or stations.
-The waiting/administrative building comprised clever composition of wood & glass to blend in an unobtrusive environmentally friendly manner with the surrounds.
-Gases produced by rotting waste under this former landfill site are piped to a nearby power generation plant to produce electricity for the National Grid
-Within it’s first year of operation, daily operational costs started to match daily revenues

Cork has identified a number of critical factors for a successful state-of-the-art in Park & Ride development:
- The site should be off the inbound lane into the city.
- It should be well signposted.
- It should be advertised on Radio Traffic Reports, press adverts & by information slips into other customer mailings of the organization.
- The bus should have easy access & egress via lanes of adequate width & clear visibility around turns.
- Bus lanes & bus priority at traffic lights
- Cars spaces should be laid out to optimize space, however using a herringbone layout is worth considering because making parking easier can ease traffic congestion within the site at peak times.

Environmental Considerations:
-The service should reduce vehicular emissions & traffic congestion by reducing citybound cartraffic.
-Cork City Council will&has also considered the use of lower emission buses( electric or fuelled by biofuels/cng/hydrogen)
-The site should also be landscaped to blend with the environment, screen the site & compensate for loss of green space.
-The administrative building should be designed with sensitivity to the environment using natural materials. If building near a clayrich area a cob building could be viable.

Some factors to consider for longterm financial viability are:
- Reducing parking site running costs by investigating/investing in Renewable sources of power to generate electricity for the administration building, barriers & (solar?) lighting.
- Good market research looking at traffic flows near possible locations.
- Reducing land purchase costs by considering the use of sites not suited for other purposes- such as former landfills.
- Good cost-effective service marketing piggyback on existing info. Channels (e.g. parking fines notices, staff bulletins) general press releases promoting Car Free Day.
- Consider offering Free Days to encourage service sampling.

Cork City Council were also very keen to ensure that it’s Park & Ride was/is valued for its reliability. The bus company which was awarded the bus-service contract, must maintain very strict standards of frequency & efficiency of journey times. Short journey times are facilitated by the choice of route- along the dual carriageway, using bus lanes & avoiding excessive congestion & traffic lights. The city centre pick-up point is also along on of the least busy roads in the city centre- avoiding the commercial/retail areas, which are yet within a 5 minutes walk. Surveys carried out in April 2005 indicated that the frequency of the bus service was rated by 100% as Very Good to Satisfactory.

Reported by

Cork City Council
City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork
N/A Cork
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