Chapter 7 - Sustainable Mobility and Transport

Open2 Sep, 2023, 12:00am - 16 Oct, 2023, 5:00pm

7.1 Movement and Accessibility

The NPF, RSES and the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 seek to reduce dependency on the private car and secure a shift towards sustainable modes of transport, including walking, cycling and public transport. The importance of integrating safe and convenient alternatives to the car into the design of our local communities will play a primary role in meeting ambitious climate action targets to support the transition to a low carbon society. 

Patrickswell has a significant proportion of commuter based car usage travelling outside the settlement on a daily basis. Given its ease of access to the M20 Motorway network, it is not surprising that motorised modal usage is high.  However, there are a number of developing/progressing national road schemes and local road improvements, which will directly affect the village of Patrickswell and enhance regional accessibility, including active travel infrastructure. Alongside the achievement of strategic road-based travel efficiencies, a number of projects focusing on sustainable mobility and the delivery of walking and cycling infrastructure, connecting Patrickswell to the outer region are at design/route selection stage.

Policy SMT P1 - Integration of Land Use and Transport Policies: It is policy of the Council to: Support and facilitate the integration of land use and transportation policies for Patrickswell, as a means of reducing the impact on climate change. The Council will ensure the delivery of a sustainable compact settlement, which can be served by various modes of transport with a focus on reducing the need to travel.

Policy SMT P2 - Transport and Movement - Promotion of Sustainable Patterns of Transport Use: It is policy of the Council to:

Seek to implement in a positive manner, in cooperation with other relevant authorities and agencies, the policies of the NPF, RSES, the National Sustainable Mobility Policy (2022) and the Department of Transport’s Active Travel publications, to encourage more sustainable patterns of travel and greater use of sustainable forms of transport in Patrickswell, including public transport, cycling and walking.

7.1.1 Avoid/Shift/Improve Concept  

In line with the Limerick Development Plan, the Draft Plan promotes the Avoid-Shift-Improve (A-S-I) approach to transport planning. The A-S-I approach seeks to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gases, energy consumption, congestion and enable more livable environments, by creating alternative mobility solutions and developing sustainable transport systems. The ‘avoid’ means reducing the need for travel by integrating land use and transport planning, creating an environment where the need to travel and trip length is reduced. The ‘shift’ refers to moving away from energy consuming transport modes to more sustainable transport. The ‘improve’ means improving the efficiency of transport modes including energy efficiency and enhancing the attractiveness of public transport. In line with the Limerick Development Plan, the Plan focuses on integrating land use and transportation to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, facilitating the transition to a low carbon society, the promotion of the 10-minute town/neighbourhood concept and the move towards sustainable transport options. In addition to the policies and objectives contained in the Limerick Development Plan and Table 7.1 of the plan, the following table outlines this Draft Plan’s policy approach to A-S-I.






Overall Strategic Development Objectives

Policy SMT P2: Transport and Movement - Promotion of Sustainable Patterns of Transport Use

Objective CH O1: Climate Change

Policy SMT P1: Integration of Land Use and Transport Policies

Objective SMT O3: Supporting Modal Split and Behavioural Change

Objective SMT O1: Public Transport Provision

Objective TCF O2: Active Land Management

Objective CH O6: Blue Green Infrastructure

Objective SMT O2: Sustainable Travel Infrastructure

Policy C P1: Social and Recreational Infrastructure Community and Recreational Facilities

Objective SMT O4: Freight Rail Network:

Objective CH O1: Climate Change

Objectives IU O8: Energy Generation

Table 7.1: Approach to Avoid Shift Improve

7.2 Public Transport

7.2.1 Existing Public Transport Provision

Patrickswell is served by a number of public transport routes. These include daily provision into Limerick Bus Station and additional links to Adare/Listowel/Tralee (8 times daily), Killarney (6 times daily), Charleville (5 times daily) and one service daily to Rathkeale/Newcastle West. Designated bus stops are located outside the Grotto, opposite and outside the Rehab Care and opposite Well Done Restaurant. There is also an additional local link service, connecting Patrickswell to the Crescent Shopping Centre, Childers Road Shopping Centre, Adare and Croagh. This service runs bi-weekly on a Monday. 

7.2.2 Future Public Transport Provision

Although the village is served by public transport with exiting connections to Limerick City and the region, public transport services to and from Patrickswell are still to a degree limited and the times and allowance for connections limits the quality of service. The National Transport Authority’s ‘Connecting Ireland: Rural Mobility Plan’ is a major national public transport initiative that will increase connectivity, particularly for people living outside the major cities such as Limerick. The plan aims to improve mobility in rural areas, including settlements such as Patrickswell. It will provide better connections between villages and towns by linking these with an enhanced regional network connecting into cities and regional centres. Improvements will be focused on enhancing existing services, adding new services and enhancing the current Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) network (local community transport provision). 








Figure 7.1: Bus stop Facilities


It is also important that those in the rural areas surrounding the village, are connected into the existing services. The Council supports the National Transport Authority’s service provision through the Local Link Rural Transport Programme and any further planned development or expansion of these services.  

Policy SMT P3 - Rural Mobility: It is a policy of the Council to continue to:

Support the implementation of the National Transport Authority’s ‘Connecting Ireland: Rural Mobility Plan’ and the ‘Local Link’ rural transport service and to encourage operators to improve the service to meet the social and economic needs of Patrickswell.

Objective SMT O1 - Public Transport Provision: It is an objective of the Council to:

Support and facilitate implementation of an integrated, multi-modal and accessible public transport network in Patrickswell and its hinterland, including any investment in public transport in Patrickswell.

7.3 Walking and Cycling

Given the compact nature of Patrickswell, the provision of active travel infrastructure and design of future developments to increase connectivity and permeability for active travel usage is a critical objective of the Plan. Much of the settlement has the provision of pedestrian infrastructure however, improvements and increased priority for active travel modes are required in order to meet climate change objectives and make Patrickswell a more attractive place to live. Improving the pedestrian environments of Limerick’s metropolitan villages is a priority provided for in the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS), which outlines an objective to ‘Complement the consolidation of development around existing LSMA town and village centres with public realm improvements that facilitate a greater level of safer walking trips’.

The Inter-Urban Cycle Network proposed within the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area (LSMA) connects the Metropolitan towns to Limerick City which includes Patrickswell. Connectivity from the village has been improved with the provision of the Patrickswell to Limerick Cycle Route Scheme implemented as part of a national programme for the development of cycling infrastructure and greenway development. The Scheme is located on a 4km stretch on the R526 between Limerick and Patrickswell.

The key walking and cycling objectives for Patrickswell aim to create an environment conducive to active travel and to enable and encourage a shift to sustainable transport modes. The provision of additional active travel links for both commuter and leisure use is a critical component in transitioning to a more climate resilient society. A number of additional actions have been identified as part of the Draft Local Area Plan to be implemented within the lifetime of the Plan. These are set out in Chapter 11 Monitoring and Evaluation and include the implementation of pedestrian/cycling safety on Main Street as part of the Patrickswell Village Renewal Scheme, realignment of road space, improved pedestrian access at Patrickswell National School and the provision of a cycle scheme linking Patrickswell to Croom, which is at concept stage. In addition, permeability and improved connectivity will be prioritised for any future development proposals. 

The N/M20 Cork Motorway Scheme also includes the provision of active travel infrastructure ensuring that sustainable development principles are core considerations in the scheme. The Scheme will not just enhance Patrickswell’s motorised connectivity, but also create improved active travel linkages and connections from the village to the south of the country.  The project is set to deliver approximately 80km of active travel (walking and cycle) infrastructure and will connect Patrickswell to the proposed national cycle network in the south of the country. A reduction in traffic will provide opportunities for reallocation of road space for shared use. Such schemes have a direct impact on enabling appropriate integration between different modes of transport to support the use of sustainable travel choices and in turn minimise effects on the environment, including potential climate change effects. 

Objective SMT O2 - Sustainable Travel Infrastructure: It is an objective of the Council to:

Maintain and expand active travel infrastructure to provide for accessible safe pedestrian and cycling route networks in Patrickswell. This includes the following:

(a) Support the provision of improved active travel infrastructure to Limerick City and dedicated greenway networks linking Patrickswell to Rathkeale, Croom, Buree and Charleville.

(b) Improved connectivity from the residential zoned lands to the east of the Clarina Road and the School Road to allow for improved accessibility and permeability to Patrickswell National School.

(c) Support the implementation of the Patrickswell Village Renewal Scheme, including the construction of a signalised pedestrian crossing and remodelling of the road layout to improve traffic management, along the Main Street.

(d) Incorporate Sustainable Travel measures in all new developments in the village.

7.4 Modal Shift and Targets

As mentioned, by nature of its close proximity to a number of major transport routes, Limerick City and Raheen Business Park, Patrickswell is a commuter village, where the use of the private car is the predominant form of transport. Supporting and facilitating modal shift to sustainable transport options is a key focus for the Draft Plan. Active travel is the concept of travelling by walking, cycling or other non-motorised wheel based transport modes. Active Travel is usually focused on shorter trips as a natural choice for every day journeys to school, work, or for social reasons. Analysis of 2016 Census data for Patrickswell highlights that 68% of the working population travel outside of the settlement for work purposes, travel by car and 3% of those travelling for work purposes use cycling as their mode of transport. Changing the behaviour of this group to an alternative mode of transport will be most challenging, however there is potential for changes to modes, such as carpooling or public transport, through workplace travel plans/mobility management planning at destination points.

Further analysis of Educational Trips from Census 2016 Data for Patrickswell, shows that no students were recorded as cycling for educational purposes within the settlement. 23% of those travelling for education walk, while 30% travelling for education purposes go by public transport. As part of the schools consultation in Patrickswell National School, the Council undertook a school travel survey across all students to ascertain current travel trends among students attending the school. Although car passenger usage is high, there is a large percentage of students travelling on foot and by bus. However, bike usage is low with only two students in the school cycling on a usual basis for education trips. This could be a reflection on low bike ownership, low levels of promotion and lack of cycling infrastructure within the village itself.   

Figure 7.2: LCCC Travel Survey for Patrickswell National School

Limerick City and County Council are currently examining the receiving environment around Patrickswell National School and the potential provision of improved safety for pedestrian and cycle access at the school gate. This may require the reassignment of road space to maximise pedestrian and cyclist safety and the removal of some carparking spaces. This project is currently at design stage.

There are many positive health, environmental and economic benefits from participating in active travel, including reduced road congestion, improved air quality, addressing climate change, increased access to employment/education and reduced social exclusion. It is considered that achieving modal shift for short journeys within the village – for educational or sporting trips and accessing local need is the most realistic and achievable aim over the lifetime of the Plan. The measures proposed below in respect of improving infrastructure for active travel and supporting improved public transport linkages will endeavour to move towards achieving the targets set out in LSMATS to reduce car journey and increase trips by walking, cycling and bus.

There are a number of opportunities, which have the ability to address current travel trends and to examine the existing travel behaviours within Patrickswell to provide for the realisation of a more sustainable transport model:

  • The implementation of pedestrian/cycling safety measures on Main Street as part of the Patrickswell Village Renewal Scheme commenced March 2023; 
  • Improved connectivity from Main Street to Patrickswell National School as part of Patrickswell Village Renewal Scheme;
  • Upgrade of existing pedestrian link from Laurel Park to Lisheen Park at Patrickswell National School;
  • Improvement works outside Patrickswell NS for walking and cycling infrastructure and in turn, increase the number of students who cycle to school;
  • Active Travel measures as part of the N/M20 Motorway project including cycle and pedestrian infrastructure from Patrickswell to Croom, Bruree and connections into the proposed Limerick Greenway and wider national cycle network;
  • Increase permeability through future development within the settlement;
  • Change of focus to town centre first initiatives, development of infill/brownfield sites and creation of a more compact village;
  • Opportunity sites focused on improving permeability and localised access.

The Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 sets out targets for the modal shift for the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area (including Patrickswell):

LSMA Mode Share Targets (%) for Commuting to Work/Educational Purposes










Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Study Area (including Patrickswell)
















Table 7.2: Modal Shift Targets for Patrickswell

With the high levels of commuter-based travel in Patrickswell, there are significant challenges with regard to promoting a modal shift away from private car use. However, the Draft Patrickswell Local Area Plan strives to reduce the reliance on the private car, by promoting and facilitating more sustainable modes of transport, based on the principles of the 10-minute town, a compact settlement and the town centre first approach. The Council will co-operate closely with other relevant agencies and stakeholders, including the NTA, to address modal shift targets as above.

Objective SMT O3 - Supporting Modal Split and Behavioural Change: It is an objective of the Council to:

(a) Encourage, promote and facilitate a modal shift towards more sustainable forms of transport in Patrickswell.

(b) Support and facilitate implementation of an integrated, multi-modal and accessible public transport network catering for all members of society across Patrickswell and its hinterland, including any investment in the public transport by service providers in Patrickswell.

(c) Improve and create additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, as part of a coherent and integrated active travel network, as opportunities arise as part of new developments.

(d) Collaborate with transport providers to improve connectivity to adjacent settlements and Limerick City. 

(e) Facilitate and implement school streets and school zones, including slow zones around the school, and promote/facilitate active travel options for school children to reduce the health and safety risks associated with traffic congestion, pollution and inactive lifestyles. 

7.5 Rail Transport

The Draft settlement boundary is traversed by the existing Foynes to Limerick rail line, which runs adjacent to the M20 motorway. This rail line between Limerick and the Port of Foynes has been inactive since 2001. It is an objective of LSMATS, to reinstate the single-track Limerick to Foynes line to provide a ‘freight only’ service.

Objective SMT O4 – Freight Rail Network: It is an objective of the Council to:

Support the reinstatement of the Limerick to Foynes railway line to provide a freight service in line with the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and the Limerick Development Plan.

7.6 Roads

Patrickswell village extends along the regional road R526 and bypassed by the M20 Limerick to Cork road, which joins the N21 Limerick to Tralee road approximately 1km south of the village centre. The M20 bypass follows the line of the disused Limerick to Foynes rail line. The old Limerick to Cork road is now regarded as the ‘Main Street’ and continues south-westwards to Adare and northwards to Raheen and Dooradoyle. A junction on the eastern end of the village centre links the R526 to the L1401 to Clarina. Toward the centre of the village is the Clarina and Crecora cross-roads. The southern boundary of the plan area is the old Limerick to Foynes rail line and the M20 motorway. The existing M20/N20/N21 Attyflin Junction, which is located to the south west of the plan area and outside the plan boundary, is a Strategic Junction. Any planning applications located within the study area, shall be referred to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for comment.

Part of the Patrickswell LAP area is included within the study area for the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Project. Considered a key enabler by higher level plans for the successful economic, social and sustainable growth of Limerick, the scheme will provide better connectivity between Cork and Limerick. In line with policy included in the Limerick Development Plan, the Draft Plan supports the delivery of the N/M20 Cork to Limerick.

In relation to car parking, the majority of car parking is on-street with a small area of off-street parking provided to the rear of the existing Community Resource Centre. Private car parking areas within the village, include Centra and Gala shops car parks. The Local Authority’s Active Travel Department are implementing an EV Charging Point at the entrance to Marion Avenue off the village’s Main Street.

Objective SMT O5 - Safeguard Route Study Area and Corridor for N/M20 Cork to Limerick Project: It is an objective of the Council to:

Safeguard the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Project study area and corridor free from development that would compromise the future delivery of the relevant schemes, in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.9 of the DoECLG Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines.

Objective SMT O6 - Roads: It is an objective of the Council to:

(a) Support the delivery of the N/M20 Cork to Limerick Project, subject to all appropriate environmental and planning assessments.

(b) Protect the capacity of the regional road network from inappropriate development, having regard to all relevant Government guidance, Objective TR O39 National Roads and Objective TR O41 Strategic Regional Roads of the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 and ensure development does not compromise the performance of the network or future improvements to the network. Road Safety Audits and Traffic Impact Assessments will be required to demonstrate implications of development proposals on the national and regional road network.

(c) Support the provisions set out in the 2020 DMURS Interim Advice Note – Covid-19 Pandemic Response and the Treatment of Transition Zones to Towns and Villages on National Roads and S.I. No. 140 of 2006 Environmental Noise Regulations.

(d) Ensure all developments protect and safeguard the capacity and efficiency of the drainage regimes of the road network.

(e) Prohibit advertising signage adjacent to the national and regional road networks.