Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Policy Context: Transportation Policy
In the latter half of the 1990s there was a marked change in transport policy in both Great Britain and in Northern Ireland. “The Way Forward” document, published in 1995 by the Department of the Environment indicated a new approach to dealing with transportation issues. Concerns about increasing car ownership and usage, and the need for sustainable development influenced the emerging transport policies. “The Way Forward” document defined a new direction for transport planning. It sought to:
- reduce, where possible, the need for travel;
- encourage the use of alternatives to the private car; and
- provide an efficient, safe and accessible transportation system which offers better choice and mobility for all its users.
In the United Kingdom the Government produced the White Paper in July 1998, ‘A New Deal for Transport’. The focus of this document was the promotion of integration within transport, with the environment, with land use planning and with wider policies for health, education and wealth creation. This document is considered the ‘mother’ document for subsequent publications on transport policy.
The ‘Northern Ireland Transport Policy Statement: “Moving Forward’ published in November 1998, was an important step in developing a new transport strategy. It signalled a desire to move away from a transportation system dominated by the private car to a more balanced and integrated system, in which public transport together with cycling and walking would play a greater role than at present. It articulated the principles of the UK White Paper in a way that reflected the current and future circumstances of Northern Ireland. It also set out a need for the development of a Regional Transport Plan, which would provide short-term guidance on transportation within the context of the 25-year Regional Development Strategy.
In January 2001, the Department for Regional Development issued a Consultation Paper “Developing a Regional Transportation Strategy”. The Strategy, which will reflect the principles set out in “Moving Forward”, has as its vision “a modern sustainable, safe transportation system which benefits society, the economy and the environment and which actively contributes to social inclusion and everyone’s quality of life”. The Strategy will identify what can be achieved over the next 10 years in moving towards the transportation vision.
This Plan has been prepared in the context of the measures outlined in the ‘Moving Forward’ document, which support the principles of the White Paper, and of the Regional Transportation Strategy for Northern Ireland 2002-2012 (RTS), which was published in July 2002.
The RTS supports the RDS and makes a significant contribution towards achieving the RDS vision for transport. The RTS is now being delivered through the preparation and implementation of more detailed Transport Plans.