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BusConnects will overhaul the current bus system with nine types of improvement and investment. These include: 1. Completely redesigning the bus network. 2. Building a network of new bus and cycle corridors. 3. New state-of-the-art ticketing system. 4. Implementing cashless payment system. 5. Revamping the fare system. 6. New bus livery. 7. New bus stops and shelters with better signage and information. 8. New park and ride sites in key locations. 9.Transitioning to a new zero emissions bus fleet.
BusConnects Limerick will help realise these local and national policies in Limerick City and its suburbs:
Limerick has grown to a city of nearly 100,000 people, and this growth is expected to continue. To manage this growth while meeting economic, livability and climate goals, strategies include:
The network redesign will help deliver on these strategies.
This project is an opportunity to design Limerick’s bus network around today’s needs rather than continue with the network inherited from the past.
All publicly-funded bus routes in Limerick City and its suburbs (including Mungret, Annacotty, Parteen and Ardnacrusha) are under study and may be revised.
This is a “blank slate” redesign, meaning that proposed revisions in the Draft New Network include the roads buses run on, times and days of service, frequencies, and where people interchange. The final New Network may also include changes to bus stop locations beyond interchange points.
Some proposed routes may resemble those in today’s network. If so, this is because they would support present and future conditions – not because of history or tradition.
The purpose of this online consultation is to invite members of the public to provide their opinion on choices about the future bus network.
Since every detail of the existing network is something somebody relies on, NTA expects a broad range of positive and negative comments. The key question is whether the extent of the proposed improvements outweigh any inconveniences caused by the change itself.
Review the pages below and learn about key principles in designing an improved bus network in Limerick.
Access is the number of destinations in an area that can be reached in a certain amount of time.
A transport network can increase patronage by increasing access. Access describes how many jobs, people, schools, shops, and other opportunities people can reach by public transport, in a reasonable amount of time.
Video: What does "access" mean?
Increasing the average access provided by a network tends to increase patronage because more of people’s trips become possible on public transport without requiring a lot of time.
Factors that affect access:
Public transport authorities have control over some of these factors: waiting time, interchange, route directness, where service is provided.
They have less control or no control over other factors: bus speed, travel distances, where jobs and housing are located. These factors are generally controlled by City and County Councils as they manage land use, development and local roads.
One of the most powerful ways to increase access across a public transport network is to shorten waits by improving frequency. More frequent service:
Video: How does frequency affect patronage?
In the future the LImerick bus network will offer real-time arrival information. But even with this technology, routes that are infrequent will still require people to wait. Someone who isn’t pressed for time, or can time their trip to the bus schedule, may not mind using an infrequent route. But most people don’t have that flexibility when going to work, school or an appointment, and a worse frequency often means arriving someplace earlier than they’d like to.
When frequency is improved in places with large numbers of people, jobs and other opportunities, that improves the population’s average access.
Better frequency increases potential for high patronage…but it isn’t enough to cause high patronage. Development patterns, land use and street design have a huge impact on how many people public transport can reach efficiently, and therefore on where frequent service can be provided.
A place that is dense with residents, employees, shoppers, students, and visitors has more potential public transport users near each bus stop.
To use a bus route, people need to be able to get to the stop, and the vast majority of passengers start their trip by walking.
The street network, footpaths and crossings around a bus stop affect how many people are willing and able to walk to it.
Exactly where buildings are built determines how linear and efficient public transport routes can be.
When dense developments are far from main roads, or buildings are set at the ends of cul-de-sacs, bus routes must be meander to get close to people. This makes passengers’ journeys longer, and the route costs more to operate.
Distance is a major contributor to the cost of providing bus routes. The greater the distance, the fewer people can be served within any particular operating budget.
Places that have continuous density and activities along a road are more efficient to serve and can be served with more frequent routes.
The mix of uses along a road affects how efficiently public transport can serve people. In areas with jobs, shops and housing, people are riding in all directions at all times of day and week. This means that vehicles can be full most of the time that they are out providing service.
Transport in purely residential or job areas tends to be used mostly in one direction – for example, in the mornings buses would be full traveling away from the residences, towards jobs, and mostly empty heading back the other direction. This means the cost of the service is divided over fewer passengers.
A public transport network should be greater than the sum of its parts. One bus route can take people to only certain places – but if it makes connections with many other routes and with trains, vastly more places become reachable.
A connected network is key to maximising transport access and thereby transport patronage. A connected network can be simpler, offering better frequencies and therefore shorter waits.
Video: How does network design affect access?
(Click images to enlarge.)
In this network, each route comes every 30 minutes. Using any route requires a long wait.
In this network, the same number of buses can connect the same places with routes coming every 10 minutes. Some trips require interchange, but waits are much shorter.
But a connected network relies on interchange, and interchange can present a barrier if:
As part of BusConnects Limerick:
All of these changes make it possible to design the bus network for faster journeys, greater access and greater patronage, if more interchange is tolerable. How could it be that designing a network for interchange could get people where they're going sooner? Watch the video to learn how.
Instructions: You can use the map below to compare the locations and frequency of existing and proposed routes and see how access to jobs would change with the New Network. Search by address, click, drag, and zoom to find specific locations. After you click a location, click the buttons on the map toolbar to show and hide information about how the new network would serve that area.
Can't see the map? Try opening in a new window.
Public input in response to the Draft will inform the Final New Network. It will also inform parallel BusConnects programmes and local transport studies, such as the development bus corridors and cycle lanes and a Limerick City Centre Transport Study.
The Final New Network will be published later this year, with route changes beginning in 2025.