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Transport Orientated Development

Transport orientated development (TOD) is a form of urban development that seeks to maximise the provision of housing, employment, public services and leisure space within close proximity to transport nodes (e.g. rail and/or bus) that are serviced by frequent, high quality services. It is also a form of urban development that is well aligned with Ireland’s international and national policy positions, and with recent institutional developments in relation to active land management by the State.

Internationally, Ireland has an ongoing commitment to the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of these goals – sustainable cities and communities – recognises increased urbanisation around the world, and is based on a recognition that sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. For example, the level of harmful emissions from the transport sector has grown and continued growth in transport activity will create increasingly challenging conditions in which to meet Ireland’s climate-related objectives.

At a national level, the Government has published Project Ireland 2040, a National Planning Framework (NPF). The NPF is Ireland’s high-level strategic plan for shaping growth and development out to 2040. One of the NPFs ten National Strategic Outcomes is compact growth. The objective is to ensure the sustainable growth of more compact urban and rural settlements, supported by jobs, houses, services and amenities, rather than continued sprawl and unplanned, uneconomic growth. In parallel, a new National Development Plan (NDP) sets out the significant level of investment (circa €116 billion) which the Government believes will underpin the NPF. This includes significant investment in both transport infrastructure and housing. Further, the Government has established the Land Development Agency (LDA), which has two main objectives:

  • Coordinate appropriate State lands for regeneration and development, thereby opening up key sites not being optimally used, especially for housing delivery; and
  • Drive strategic land assembly by working with both public and private sector land owners.

This research project builds on NESC’s existing body of work on housing and infrastructure, and contributes to the LDA’s second main objective by examining transport orientated development and its role in underpinning affordable housing and sustainable urban development. This research includes analysis of international evidence on the role of transport in widening the potential of active land management through unlocking land for housing, sustainable urban development and regeneration. The work also includes analysis of a number of Irish urban regeneration projects and the lessons to be learned. The work will consider what institutional and policy changes might facilitate public transport projects being re-imagined as nationally significant land use, housing and transport projects.

Given the anticipated scale of expenditure on both housing and transport under the NDP, this project will assist in exploration of how a focus on transport orientated development could maximise the potential of this investment and contribute to the provision of more affordable housing, the transition to a more sustainable transport system and the delivery of compact and higher quality urban development.

NESC are hosting an invite-only workshop to discuss this work on Friday, 28th June.