Car users in Dublin and surrounding counties have been challenged not to use their cars for at least some journeys every week - including local trips, school runs, convenience shopping and driving to work.
Congestion will continue to increase unless Dubliners start using public transport and walking or cycling more, according to the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO).
The DTO has launched the One Small Step initiative, which asks everyone to consider walking, cycling or using public transport where possible, for at least some trips each week.
New DTO research in Dublin and the Leinster counties shows -
* 52% of people said the car was their most often used way of getting around.
* 26% - or 1 in-4-people - think only of their car for all trips.
* 40% of car owners don't consider any travel options other than the car.
* 27% of all respondents said the car is preferable for short journeys of a mile or less.
* Half of all car owners (47%) take their car on these short journeys.
* 55% of short journey car-users said they were unlikely to consider walking instead.
* Only 3% of these short journey car-users said they were very likely to consider walking for short journeys of a mile or less, instead of using the car.
One Small Step
One Small Step is a significant public information campaign. It asks car drivers in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) the question - 'Did you need your car today?' - to encourage them to examine their car usage patterns and think about using other ways of getting around - such as walking, cycling or public transport - whenever they can. The campaign targets car drivers specifically through radio, billboard and bus advertising, media relations, an information website (www.onesmallstep.ie) and a schools programme.
A number of large public and private sector organisations are supporting the aims of this initiative. They include -
* Irish Life & Permanent plc
* the Dublin Airport Authority
* Department of Transport and Maritime Affairs
* Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government - and
* Department of Health and Children.
These organisations are introducing workplace travel planning as part of their ongoing corporate sustainability initiatives. Several of these will also pilot a specially developed online lift sharing system with the DTO.
DTO Director/Chief Executive, John Henry commented - "We're asking drivers to reduce car usage where and whenever possible and to use alternative transport, as appropriate. Where there are alternatives available - whether that's public transport or taking a fifteen or twenty-minute walk or cycle - then people should consider these options for at least some trips every week.
"As well as the health benefits - and the reduction in their carbon footprint - car users who make this small change, will, ultimately, make a big difference.
"If everyone left their car behind for just one trip each week, there would be 200,000 fewer car trips every day in the Greater Dublin Area - less traffic and less pollution. We are urging all car users to give this their serious consideration, in their own and everyone else's interests.
"People should reconsider their car usage in terms of their personal health, environmental sustainability, tackling traffic congestion and enhancing the overall quality of life that they expect to have in the future. This is not just about commuting, it applies to every aspect of car usage, including local trips.
"Nobody is telling motorists to stop using their cars altogether - but, what we have to realise is that it is not sustainable for us, as individuals, to continually increase car usage year after year. Changing driving habits can be hard - but, ultimately, people and the region will suffer unless we start to incorporate walking, cycling and public transport into at least some of our trips.
"The Government's Transport 21 investment plan delivers much-needed infrastructure to the Greater Dublin Area, but no amount of new roads or infrastructure is going to cope with that increasing travel demand, unless we see some change in travel habits.
"While car habits are notoriously difficult to change, the DTO's survey showed some room for optimism. Forty per cent of people stated that there is some opportunity for them to reduce car usage in the future and we now want that converted into action" - Mr. Henry concluded.
The Dublin Transportation Office was established in 1995 to co-ordinate the implementation by the relevant agencies of an agreed integrated transport strategy for the Greater Dublin Area, namely - The Dublin Transportation Initiative - which was adopted as Government policy in 1994.
Millward Brown IMS carried out a quantitative survey for the DTO on its end-May/early-June Omnibus Survey. The achieved sample size was 542 adults aged 15+ and was representative of the Dublin and rest of Leinster population.