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Case Study:

Smarter Travel Programme



The following issues are those which the Carrick-on-Shannon Smarter Travel Programme aimed to address:
  • There was a high dependency on private car transport in Carrick-on- Shannon. This is due to the lack of a realistic alternative.
  • Encouraging more people to use bicycles and to walk will improve levels of fitness and result in improvements to health and quality of life in the population.
  • The provision of linked cycle and pedestrian paths throughoutthe town will make it more attractive to visitors. Carrick-on- Shannon is very reliant on tourist income to sustain its economy.
Cycle lanes and walking paths existed around Carrick-on-Shannonbut were not linked to one another and so they did not experience the level of use that they otherwise might have. It was envisaged
that by completing a network around the town and outside it, much
more use would be encouraged.

This would allow residents in the hinterland of Carrick-on-Shannon and all visitors to the town to cycle and walk safely to and from the town centre.

The council also foresaw that the provision of this walking and cycling infrastructure would further enhance tourist development and help to promote tourist sites in Carrick-on-Shannon and surrounding villages.


The Smarter Travel Programme aimed to deliver significant elements of the Leitrim County Council Walking and Cycling Strategy through the following provisions:
  • 8km of cycle lanes throughout the town; these varied from offroaddedicated lanes to on-road advisory lanes to on-road mixed/shared-use lanes (Figures 1, 2);
  • a Safer Cycling School programme, which was delivered in allschools in Carrick-on-Shannon and included the followingactivities:
    •  the delivery of Level 1 and Level 2 training in the schools’premises and on selected roads adjacent to the schools by three cycling instructors facilitating sessions for up to 18 children on the schools’ premises at one time (after each levelof training an assessment of training was carried out);
    • organising a cycle to school day;
    • a Bike for Life course, which involved a two-day workshop, offering cycling skills enhancement and a spin, along with discussions and learning points for adults and local cycling club members; and,
    • a Sprocket Rocket cycling skills programme designed for children/teenagers delivered in three-hour workshops; and,
  • bicycle shelters located throughout the town.

Figure 1: Integrated mandatory cycling lanes, Carrick-on-Shannon.

Figure 2: Integrated shared cycling lanes, Carrick-on-Shannon.

Benefits of Solution

Leitrim County Council conducted a research project in conjunction with the Smarter Travel Programme. A baseline questionnaire was carried out before the project commenced and then repeated after the project’s
completion. The study concentrated on three target groups – primary school children, secondary school children, and adults. A summary of the results is as follows:
  • 89% of primary school children use their bicycles for fun;
  • 25% of primary school children use their bicycles most days;
  • while there was a slight decrease in the number of primary school children who cycled to school over the lifetime of the project (10% down to 5%), 44% of this group have used thenew cycle lanes around town;
  • there was an increase in use of cycle helmets by primary school children;
  • there was an increase (11% up to 19%) of secondary school children who walk to school over the life of the project;
  • there was an increase in the perception of safety for cycling among secondary school students – up from 45% to 61%; and,
  • 84% of secondary school students consider the town safe for walking.
Adults proved the target group with the least change over the life of the project. Distance and safety are the factors which prevent parents from allowing their children to walk/cycle to school. There was a high level of recognition of the improvements that were made around the town among adults.

They recognised and appreciated the fact that Leitrim County Council had provided safe, well-lit places to walk/cycle, but they stated that motorists’ behaviour needed to improve.

There were concerns that motorists do not respect pedestrian crossings and drive at excess speed along the routes with pathways/cycle lanes. The enhanced usage of these areas by the public heightened their awareness of the problems of speed and driver behaviour.

Project Details:

2011 – 2014.

Further information
Available from Leitrim County Council