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NESC publishes Council Report 148: Transport-Orientated Development: Assessing Opportunity for Ireland


What if urban development made it easier to use public transport, and cycle or walk to work and school? The State must build on the vision set out in Project Ireland 2040 to maximise the number of homes, jobs, public services and amenities which are close to frequent, high-quality transport services. This is the message from the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) who today publish a new report No.148, Transport-Orientated Development: Assessing Opportunity for Ireland. Reaching the strategic objectives of compact growth and sustainable mobility will require further specific decisions to create such development at key locations, new institutional arrangements and tailored funding mechanisms.

Speaking at the publication of the report Dr Rory O’Donnell, the Director of NESC, said ‘it is clear that development in Ireland, as in many other countries, continues to be centred on cars. We know from experience that in countries with more desirable transport-orientated development—such as France, The Netherlands and Germany—development makes walking, cycling and public transport more convenient, and converts car journeys to public and active transport trips. This improves mobility and our environment, delivers more efficient and sustainable urban development, and can be designed to provide a higher proportion of social and affordable housing.’ He also highlighted that ‘other countries are increasingly using the uplift in land value to help to fund transport infrastructure and affordable housing’.

The report explains and explores the concept of transport-orientated development and—based on international case studies, in-depth analysis and a series of consultations—provides advice on how this more desirable form of development can be applied in Ireland. Central to this will be:

  • Supplementing the vision for compact growth articulated in Project Ireland 2040 with a detailed decision to apply transport-orientated development in a specified location. That decision should set out the density of residential housing to be delivered at the location, the desired mixed-use and tenure, requirements regarding affordability, and the high-frequency and quality transport services that will connect the location;
  • Establishing, even temporarily, a tailored institutional set-up (e.g. agency or project management body) to plan, oversee, and deliver the transport-orientated development at the chosen location. Such a body would have to possess the necessary planning and borrowing/investment powers and responsibilities in terms of land-use and transport; and
  • Identifying and securing the necessary funding mechanism that enables the development to be built through a linkage between the transport infrastructure and the location it will serve. The funding mechanism should allow the necessary transport and other infrastructure to be delivered ahead of demand. It could facilitate land-value capture whereby the uplift in property value that arises from investment in transport and other infrastructure can contribute to the cost of developing the site.

The report concludes by outlining the near and medium actions necessary to make transport-orientated development happen in Ireland.


Note to Editors

This report is based on international case studies, in-depth analysis and a series of consultations undertaken since September 2018. The research was undertaken by the National Economic and Social Council, an independent Council comprising employers, trade unions, farmers, community and voluntary sector representatives, environmentalists, senior officials from Government departments, plus independents. The Council was set up to analyse and report on strategic issues relating to the efficient development of the economy, the achievement of social justice and environmental sustainability.  The main report and background research paper will be available on NESC’s website at on Thursday 6th June.

The report was circulated to Government departments and has been noted by the Cabinet at its meeting on the 21st May.

For further information, for copy of the report or to arrange an interview, please contact NESC Director Dr Rory O’Donnell, +353-1-8146332.


To view the full report click here

To view the research report click here

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