Developing Demand Predictions for a Study of Interregional Transport
O'MAHONY M and WHITNEY W, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
The island of Ireland lies off the northwest coast of Europe; it consists of two political units, the Republic of Ireland (population 3.6 million), a sovereign state and member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland (population 1.6 million), forming
The island of Ireland lies off the northwest coast of Europe; it consists of two political units, the Republic of Ireland (population 3.6 million), a sovereign state and member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland (population 1.6 million), forming part of the United Kingdom. Its most unusual feature in external transport terms is the absence of a fixed link (road or rail) to the European mainland; since the 1994 completion of the Channel Tunnel, this renders Ireland the largest and most populous island in the EU, and the Republic its only member state, without such a link.
The transport of passengers and freight between the island of Ireland and the rest of the EU is thus entirely dependent upon air and sea-based modes. The literature indicates that this may have adverse effects on transport costs for Irish firms relative to European competitors, although it must be pointed out that locational decisions may obscure the full implications of this, i.e. firms whose products are particularly costly to transport may avoid locating in the country because of its poor external links, thus depressing the average figures. It appears that transport time-related costs contribute as much as, if not more than, direct expenditure on transport to the problem. In passenger transport, the heavy dependence on aircraft poses environmental problems- and, potentially, economic and competitiveness ones too, if (as seems likely) taxation on fuel is introduced on a Europe-wide basis. It is also clear that multi-modal chains are involved in the vast majority of both passenger and freight trips, which contributes both to transport costs and to the complexity of modelling the system.
It must also be taken into account that the present Irish access transport system (i.e. the links between Ireland, Britain and the continent of Europe) has contributed to the uneven distribution of development on the island, and particularly its concentration (in both the Republic and Northern Ireland) along or close to the east coast. In the Republic in particular, as national wealth increases, the emphasis of public policy has shifted from bringing the nation as a whole up to European living standards to bringing the poorer western regions into line economically with the east coast.
Association for European Transport