National Roads Traffic Management Study
The National Roads Authority recognises that many sections of the national primary roads network (particularly those parts of the network which are located within or close to major towns and cities) have been upgraded to the point where future capacity enhancements may be costly and disruptive, and that consideration must be given to using control and fiscal techniques to manage traffic growth.
The Authority has consequently undertaken this National Roads Traffic Management Study in order to understand the implications of future traffic growth, to identify network deficiencies and to examine management requirements across the network such as will secure the ability of the network to cater for growth up to 2025. The Study is based on the National Traffic Model, produced by the National Roads Authority in 2008, and uses transport growth forecasts which account for recent economic events and form the basis for current long term forecasts in transport demand.
The report is divided into a number of sections as follows:
Section A: The Need for Traffic Management
Section A provides the context for the current study. It outlines the data sources available to the NRA in embarking on the study, and describes the development of the National Traffic Model which has played a key role in the study. This Section also provides a comprehensive review of existing transport demand nationally, describing how these demands materialise as traffic on the National Roads Network. The discussion also sets out future challenges that will arise as a result of further growth in travel demand, and identifies a number of key areas where Traffic Management initiatives might initially focus. Finally, Section A explores the specific objectives of the study, formulating these into a series of clear statements which will guide the development of options and the appraisal of alternatives.
Section B: Traffic Management through Control Measures
Section B focuses primarily on the feasibility of employing control measures to manage traffic flow on the National Roads Network. Traffic control measures broadly describe those measures which seek to manage traffic flow through regulatory mechanisms. Examples include traffic signals, speed limits and vehicle restrictions, and are intended to directly control traffic flow to achieve desired outcomes. This section outlines the engineering and analytical studies that have been undertaken to understand the appropriateness or otherwise of such measures, leading to a set of conclusions for each regarding where and how they can be best employed. These conclusions are supported by further discussion on the interoperability of different technologies at a single site, and play a key role in defining the strategy options in the various geographical areas.
Section C: Traffic Management through Demand Management
Section C sets out the range of measures which can be employed to address the demand side of transport planning. Demand Management measures achieve this by encouraging users to change travel mode, travel during different times of the day, travel to destinations which have a lower impact on the transport network, or decide that no trip is necessary. Such measures also seek to ensure that local and regional planning is undertaken in such a way that the demand for transport infrastructure can be minimised. The measures set out in Section C are distinct from fiscal measures which can often achieve a similar outcome, albeit using a fundamentally different approach. There is a close relationship between the Demand Management measures outlined in this report and those contained in the Smarter Travel policy, which has a number of objectives that are consistent with the Traffic Management Study.
Section D: Traffic Management through Fiscal Measures
In Section D, the discussion focuses on options for fiscal management of the National Roads Network. Section D examines various forms of road user charging (satellite based or more conventional electronic or ‘hard’ tolling), and concludes on the most appropriate forms of charging in Ireland. The discussion identifies appropriate levels of charge for urban areas and inter-urban movements based on a combination of economic principles of congestion, and through an understanding of willingness-to-pay by road users. HGV road user charging options are also discussed, and the basis for satellite systems for HGV tolling is examined. Section D concludes with the development of the most appropriate road user charging strategy that can achieve the objectives of the current study, whilst accounting for the financial costs that can be accrued for different solutions.
Section E: The Development of the Strategy
Section E of the report presents the process of strategy development, outlining the identification of measures that are to be considered as part of alternative strategies for key geographical areas. The report outlines the basis for alternative strategies, and the appraisal of alternatives against criteria defined in Section A. Proposed measures are set out in outline only, with the exact form and extent of measures to be further dictated through the preliminary design and subsequent planning processes.
The report can be downloaded here:
NRA National Roads Traffic Management Study (34Mb)
This is a very large document. For ease of use, it has been broken into 6 smaller parts which can be accessed below.