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Guideline Document for applicants to the National Smarter
Travel Area(s) Competition
To support the Government’s Sustainable Travel Policy,
SmarterTravel (http://www.smartertravel.ie/index.html), a national
competition has been established to deliver outstanding examples of
sustainable travel in urban and rural areas.
SMARTER TRAVEL AREAS – THE CONCEPT
The concept adopts a multi-dimensional approach to transport and
spatial planning so that reliance on car use is dramatically reduced
and where alternative options are made available and promoted. It
prioritising mobility management, through:
o providing better facilities and infrastructure for walking
o active traffic management to limit car use;
o suppressing the need to travel, through for example,
providing “e-working” opportunities;
o providing better public transport services, where travel
enhancing civic spaces and streetscapes, and encouraging pride
of place and healthy travel:
using “softer” measures to encourage sustainable travel, such
o workplace travel planning;
o personalised travel planning;
o promoting car clubs and car sharing;
o information and marketing campaigns;
o promoting sustainable travel.
SMARTER TRAVEL AREAS - THE AMBITION
The Government’s vision for Ireland is to have a sustainable travel
and transport culture and system fully in place by 2020. The guiding
policy, which can be downloaded from www.smartertravel.ie
contains demanding targets to meet this vision. The ambition for the
national competition is to demonstrate delivery of targets at local
level, and showcase innovative and high quality travel solutions and
transport systems, creating better rural and urban spaces, and
contributing to healthier and more active populations, and more
competitive and amenable commercial centres.
Many local authorities already have in place or are engaging in
initiatives, which fit with the new Smarter Travel sustainability
agenda. The potential to build on and link existing initiatives to
create a fully integrated approach to travel and lifestyle choices is an
ongoing process. Existing e-working, cycle to work schemes, car-
sharing clubs and work place travel plans all have positive impacts
for the working population. Similarly, the Green Schools Travel
programme has engaged the country’s school children and can be
held up as one of the most successful “green” initiatives ever
undertaken. 317 schools are now involved in this programme, which
translates into involvement by 70,000 pupils. By 2012 265,000 pupils
will be involved in the programme. The engagement created by this
programme is not limited to the pupils. Their involvement in the
various actions, which promote walking, cycling, carpooling and use
of public transport in turn engages parents and the wider community,
raising awareness and highlighting what can be achieved. So far, the
2008 nationwide rollout of the programme saw a reduction of 18% in
pupils being driven to school, a 31% increase in walking to school,
and a 52% increase in cycling to school.
The challenge set out in the Smarter Travel Areas competition is to
build on the engagement and enthusiasm exemplified through these
individual initiatives and actively design a scheme to deliver a
Smarter Travel community. Authorities should look to examples of
sustainable travel initiatives abroad, such as Freiburg im Breisgau,
Copenhagen, Utrecht, where sustained investment and innovative
thinking has led to a significant modal share for walking, cycling and
public transport, with a corresponding decrease in car use. This will
involve not just the provision of transport infrastructure, but
consideration of land use and planning measures, active travel and
travel demand management and intensive community engagement.
Smarter Travel should deliver not just a change in travel patterns, but
a change to more active lifestyles.
When undertaking a review of travel patterns in their jurisdiction
local authorities should consider how significant modal shift to
walking and cycling can be achieved through the reallocation of road
space, altering supporting services such as priority, speeds and
signalling and through the enhancement of facilities for non-
motorised modes. Interventions and infrastructural changes should
be put in place so that short journeys of up to 3-4 km can be safely
undertaken by walking and cycling, and journeys of up to 8km can be
safely undertaken by cycling. Walking and cycling should become
the default choice for such journeys. Safety is a key concern in
relation to cycling and walking and integration of these different
modes with local town centres and public transport is very important
to meet the ambition of having a large number of people walk and
Authorities should also consider longer journeys of more than 8 km.
For some these journeys will still be achievable by cycling, but not
for all. Authorities should consider how to better manage motorised
travel, from options such as suppressing the need to travel, to car
clubs, car sharing, or public transport including demand responsive
SMARTER TRAVEL AREA BIDS
Local authorities will coordinate and submit bids for area(s) in their
authority. Authorities can submit multiple bids, but only one bid per
Smarter Travel Area is allowed. Joint bids from authorities are
welcome, where a proposed Smarter Travel Area crosses authority
To achieve the vision, all members of the local community need to be
engaged and involved. Smarter Travel Areas have the potential to
transform local lifestyles and local areas. The challenge for local
authorities will be to devise a strategy which also engages,
encourages and incentivises the participation of workplaces, schools,
community groups, sports clubs, leisure facilities (cinemas, sports
clubs), private land holders, public car parks, and individuals.
Authorities who demonstrate local political, business, and public
support will receive higher grading in the evaluation of bids.
Chapter 5 of the SmarterTravel policy framework will be a useful
reference point when considering actions to promote and deliver
alternative ways of travel. Authorities should look to this policy
framework as a menu of options, and should consider which and how
many of these options would be appropriate solutions to the travel
problems in their areas. Smarter Travel Areas are not just about
infrastructure. Provision for walking and cycling definitely needs to
be introduced. However, authorities should also consider soft
measures that will promote more sustainable travel.
Authorities should also consider the timelines for delivery of their
Smarter Travel plans. Bids must be ambitious and radical, but also
realistic and practical. Those bids identified as being most achievable
in terms of practical delivery of the schemes will receive a higher
Successful authorities will be expected to monitor and evaluate their
progress in delivering Smarter Travel objectives. The Department
will provide advice and support on evaluation of bids, with the
detailed work to be undertaken by authorities.
The assessment of bids will be a two-stage process set against a range
of qualifying critera. Evaluation of bids will be undertaken by an
interdisciplinary team, which will include an independent expert. The
bids selected by the evaluation team will be submitted to the Minister
for consideration, approval and subsequent announcement.
Stage 1 will assess the suitability of bids in terms of ambition, local
support and commitment and potential effectiveness of the proposed
package of measures. In accordance with the criteria in Annex 2 local
authorities whose bids are shortlisted will be awarded “pump-
priming” funding by the Department of Transport to enable them to
develop bids to a greater level of detail. The Department will also
provide feedback and steering advice at the shortlisting stage.
Authorities will have a month to submit written questions regarding
the Smarter Travel Competition guidelines and rules. These should be
submitted by post or email to Denise Hyland (address given below),
to be received by 5pm on 14th August 2009. The Department will
publish these questions along with answers and any forthcoming
clarifications to the competition rules on Monday 31st August, 2009.
Stage 1 bids will be submitted to the Department of Transport no
later than 5pm on Friday 30th October, 2009.
Stage 1 bids should provide an overview of local travel patterns, an
analysis and identification of barriers to change in travel behaviour,
and propose the range of Smarter Travel measures that will be
included in the Smarter Travel Area.
In assessing bids at Stage 1 the assessment panel will:
examine the level of ambition, innovation, radical thinking and
actions contained in the overall proposal. Proposed projects
should display a desire by local authorities to push the
boundaries in terms of what can be achieved, and commitment
to delivering a radical change in travel culture.
expect to see clear targets for increases in walking and cycling;
reduction in car modal share; increase in public transport use,
where appropriate; and redistributing road space and giving
priority of road use to walkers and cyclists;
focus on the level of importance each local authority attaches
to engagement with the wider local and business community in
achieving the goals outlined in their proposal on a long-term
Stage 1 bids should include an indication of matched funding from
the local authority. Bids should also indicate the level of “pump-
priming” funding required from the local authority to develop a full
business case for Stage 1 bids. However the pump-priming funding
levels will be decided by the Department with reference to the
specifics of each bid.
Annex 2 provides a detailed breakdown of the assessment criteria for
the Stage 1 bids.
Stage 2 bids will be submitted to the Department of Transport no
later than 31 March, 2010 for final assessment against the criteria for
Stage 2 selection as set out in Annex 3.
Stage 2 bids should include:
a full business case, setting out in detail the proposed Smarter
Travel plan for the area;
detailed costings of individual measures – including human
resources, infrastructure costs and soft measures;
targets for modal shift, specifically a reduction in car-use;
analysis of the benefits forthcoming from delivery of the plan;
project plan and timelines for delivery of the scheme;
detail of matched funding from local authority and local
detail of the local networks and partnerships that will assist in
delivering the plan.
Stage 2 selection will focus on a local authority’s:
understanding of existing travel demand and mobility patterns;
fully developed integrated travel and mobility management
capacity to deliver Smarter Travel infrastructure and policy
capacity to deliver significant behavioural change;
creation of delivery partnerships and community engagement;
identification of the benefits which will accrue in terms of
travel patterns; health; employment; local environment and
other relevant issues;
cost and value for money.
All bids should include a detailed and itemised breakdown of costs.
Again the recommendations of the evaluation group will be
submitted to the Minister for consideration, approval and subsequent
The Minister for Transport is proposing an Exchequer contribution of
up to €50 million for the period of the scheme. The Department will
be seeking matching or part matching funding from selected local
authorities, however, the detail of this element will be decided
following Stage 1 analysis of bids.
The aim is that funding of the final selected projects will commence
from 1 June, 2010 for a five year period.
Successful local authorities must negotiate a project funding
agreement with the Department of Transport. This project agreement
will contain the terms and conditions of the project funding. The key
objectives, activities and deliverables outlined in the successful
application will form the basis of the agreement. It will outline a
shared understanding with agreed milestones for delivery (between
the successful applicant and the Department) of the framework within
which the Department will support the project.
Submitting a Stage 1 bid
The format of the Stage 1 bids submitted should be in accordance
with the criteria headings listed in Annex 2. While it is appreciated
that the physical documentation submitted will vary depending on the
breadth and complexity of the package of measures being proposed
local authorities should endeavour to present their proposals in a clear
and concise manner. Additional documentation in support of bids
should be attached as an Annex to material submitted under each
An electronic version of the bid (in word format) can be
emailed to email@example.com
In addition, 7 hard copies of the bid should be posted to:
Sustainable Travel Towns Competition
National Sustainable Travel Office
Department of Transport
44 Kildare Street
All bids must be received by 5pm on Friday October 30th,
Receipt of bids will be acknowledged within one week of receipt by
Department of Transport.
Progression to Stage 2 of the selection process is not a guarantee of
success in the final competition.
Selection of an Area for Smarter Travel funding does not guarantee
funding of complete bid submitted. The Department of Transport
reserves the right to reject aspects of the bid for funding, should they
not meet the criteria.
Funding will be awarded for a five-year period, however payment of
funds will be dependent on the meeting of key milestones. The
Department of Transport reserves the right to terminate funding a
project, or any element of a project within one month’s notice to the
successful applicant, should agreed milestones be missed.
Smarter Travel Area categories
Category A Village/groups of villages or small town(s) or
peri-urban area of population less than 5,000.
Category B Medium town or groups of villages/small
towns or peri-urban area of population
between 5 – 15,000.
Category C Medium or large town or peri-urban area or
group of smaller towns of population 15 –
Category D Large town/city or groups of smaller towns or
peri-urban area of population 25 – 40,000.
Category E City or groups of towns of population above
The competition categories are established for the purpose of
comparing schemes on a like-for-like population basis.
There is no guarantee that a scheme in each category will be funded.
Criteria for Stage 1 selection
Before addressing the selection criteria local authorities should first
briefly (2 pages max) outline the background to the town/areas(s) and
issues including (but not limited to) its geography, its travel to work
area, how people in the town/area(s) travel, how the characteristics of
the area relate to this project. Maps should be provided with bids.
Criteria for selection
No Criteria Assessment
1. The proposal must relate to one of the Yes/No
categories set out in Annex 1. Criteria
2. Local Authority must be able to demonstrate Yes/No
political commitment to the programme at a Criteria
local government level.
3. Local Authority must demonstrate an Score (1-5)
understanding of local travel behaviour, weighting X
barriers to modal shift and how proposals will 2
overcome these, with a commitment to
monitor and measure outcomes.
4. Local Authority must identify key high-level Score (1-5)
measures that will be included in their smarter weighting x
travel plans, for example: 2
Km cycle path, with supporting
Traffic management measures
Area to be pedestrianised
Target number of workplaces and
schools for travel plans, and so on.
Proposed softer measures to promote
(Authorities do not need to go into detail such
as specific route locations etc, location of
workplaces/ schools etc)
5. Local Authority must demonstrate the Score (1-5)
appropriateness and the potential weighting x
effectiveness of proposed package of Smarter 2
Travel measures outlined in category 4.
6. Local Authority must be able to demonstrate Supporting
that the commitment of local partners has material
7. Local Authority must be able to explain how Score (1-5)
it will engage with the wider local community
when designing and taking package of
8. Local Authority to indicate commitment to Supporting
match funding of the project. material
9. Local Authority to give a range of indicative Supporting
costs in relation to criteria 3 above. material