Cork transport plan for the next 20 years is launched

Cork transport plan for the next 20 years is launched
A conceptual image of Cork's proposed new light-rail system on Washington street.

The numbers of journeys undertaken by people using public transport in Cork will grow significantly between 2011 and 2040 under the Cork Transport Strategy launched today.

As reported in The Echo this week, the plan proposes a new LUAS system for Cork along with a major upgrade of the city's bus, rail, cycle and pedestrian networks.

Details of the plan:

  • New stations and enhanced train services will see 20% of people and 30% of jobs within walking distance of the suburban rail network.
  • A new east-west Light Rail line between Ballincollig and Mahon will provide a new transport choice for Cork, with 30% of people and 60% of jobs across the enlarged city region located within the walking catchment of the tram stops.
  • By 2040 over half of all journeys in the morning peak will be by sustainable transport modes (public transport, cycling, walking) compared to just 33% at present.

The Strategy published today by The National Transport Authority (NTA), in association with Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), will provide a framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services in the Cork Metropolitan Area over the next two decades.

Computer generated image of a light rail system operating in Blackrock, Cork on the 'old railway' line, now a popular walking and cycling Greenway.
Computer generated image of a light rail system operating in Blackrock, Cork on the 'old railway' line, now a popular walking and cycling Greenway.

National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham said: “The Cork Transport Strategy 2040 is great news for Cork from social, economic and environmental points of view.” 

“It will deliver an accessible, integrated transport network that enables the sustainable growth of the Cork Metropolitan Area as a dynamic, connected, and internationally competitive European city region as envisaged by the National Planning Framework 2040.

The Strategy covers proposals for walking, cycling, bus transport, suburban rail, light rail and road.


A central objective is to get more people walking more of the time, either as part of a linked trip with other modes or as a trip in its own right. Key outcomes for walking in the Strategy include:

  • An increase in walking levels for work, education and leisure;
  • Addressing the safety issues and barriers that prevent citizens and visitors from walking more in Cork;
  • Supporting a high quality and fully accessible environment for all abilities and ages by continuing to develop a safe, legible and attractive public realm;
  • Facilitate walking’s role as part of linked trips, particularly with rail and bus journeys; and Promote a far higher standard of urban design in new developments, and in highway design, in a fashion that consistently prioritises pedestrian movement and safety over that of the private car.


Cycling is a low cost, sustainable and growing mode of transport in the Cork Metropolitan Area. The NDP 2018-2027 commits to the delivery of walking and cycling networks for all of Ireland’s cities.

Concept image of a possible greenway across the Chetwynd Viaduct ion the old Kinsale Railway line from the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.
Concept image of a possible greenway across the Chetwynd Viaduct ion the old Kinsale Railway line from the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.

Some key primary cycle routes to be improved within the Cork Metropolitan Area include:

  • Segregated routes along waterfront areas;
  • Sallybrook/Glanmire – City Centre via Lower Glanmire Road;
  • Model Farm Road to Glasheen Road;
  • Old Youghal Road;
  • Kinsale Road – Airport;
  • Douglas Road;
  • Skehard Road;
  • Station Road, Carrigtwohill;
  • Northern Distributor Road; and Southern Distributor Road.

Bus transport 

An over-arching objective is to prioritise the early delivery of bus services and bus priority. Prioritising bus services over general traffic will be critical to the delivery of an efficient, frequent and reliable bus system and forms a major part of the overall BusConnects programme.

A computer-generated view of Douglas village. The CMATS plan includes proposals for the major upgrade of Cork's bus network.
A computer-generated view of Douglas village. The CMATS plan includes proposals for the major upgrade of Cork's bus network.

Buses are an extremely efficient mode of transport and will continue to be the backbone of the public transport system in Cork.

Their flexibility means that routes and frequencies can be adapted to support phases of new development or as circumstances dictate. Buses will also provide an increasingly important interchange service between the InterCity, suburban rail and light rail stations and the Park and Ride network.

The enhanced BusConnects network will comprise of a significantly increased bus network, bus priority and around 220 new double decker vehicles. In total, the network will comprise of 200km of cross city routes, 50km of orbital routes and 150km of radial routes and will provide interchange with the Cork Suburban Rail Network, Light Rail network and proposed Park and Ride services.

Suburban Rail 

The rail network provides direct and reliable access to Cork City Centre from a significant portion of its east and northern Metropolitan Cork catchment area. This Strategy proposes to maximise opportunities offered by the existing suburban rail network to support the travel needs across the area. New stations are planned at 

  • Tivoli Docks;
  • Dunkettle;
  • Water Rock;
  • Ballynoe;
  • Carrigtwohill West;
  • Blackpool / Kilbarry;
  • Monard;
  • Blarney / Stoneview.

Light Rail / LUAS

Following detailed analysis of projected travel demand, this Strategy has determined that the East-West Transit Corridor is best served through the provision of a new Light Rail Transit (LRT) tram system. 

The topography and distribution of existing trip generators and attractors, combined with the proposed development opportunity areas within Cork City and its suburbs, indicate the desirability for a linear route from Ballincollig in the west to Mahon in the east, via Cork City Centre. The catchment area of the future light-rail system will be included places such as:

  • Ballincollig;
  • The proposed Cork Science and Innovation Park (CSIP);
  • Cork Institute of Technology (CIT);
  • Cork University Hospital (CUH);
  • University College Cork (UCC);
  • Cork City Centre;
  • Kent Station / Cork North Docklands;
  • Cork South Docklands; and Mahon.

Maximising the potential of the rail corridor will support better integration of land use planning and public transport.

The LRT will be preceded by a high-frequency bus service between Mahon and Ballincollig. This will be delivered in the short-term to underpin higher development densities along the corridor including the regeneration of the Cork City Docks.


The first priority for road investment in the Strategy will be to maintain, renew, manage and operate the existing road infrastructure in a more efficient manner. Other priorities reflect a need to provide multi-modal travel particularly on new roads within urban areas; increasing the liveability and place-making functions of the urban street network; and to manage the network to discourage through traffic in built up areas. For Cork to grow sustainably as forecast, its street network must facilitate more walking and cycling.

Its arterial routes must also prioritise the movement of buses. Within Cork City Centre, metropolitan centres and inner neighbourhoods, streets will have more of a place function and will require a greater emphasis on liveability, motor traffic restraint and traffic calming.

New roads will be required in some cases to unlock housing and commercial development and to support local access in planned growth areas. New developments will therefore, be served by existing and/ or planned public transport and designed to maximise connectivity to local networks and services.

Public consultation will run for six weeks from Wednesday 15 May until Friday 28 June 2019 on the draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS). Consultation material will be available to view at Cork City Hall and Cork County Hall for the duration of the consultation period.

Documents can be viewed and downloaded at and comments and feedback sent to us as follows:

Email:, Post: Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, Jacobs Transport Planning Team, Mahon Industrial Estate, Blackrock, Cork.

As part of the six-week public consultation five public information days will be held from 3pm to 8pm at the following locations:

  • Wednesday 5th June, 2019: Imperial Hotel, South Mall
  • Thursday 6th June, 2019: Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig
  • Wednesday 12th June, 2019: Radisson Hotel, Little Island
  • Thursday 13th June, 2019: Carrigaline Court Hotel, Carrigaline
  • Wednesday 19th June, 2019: Blarney Castle Hotel, Blarney

All submissions will be reviewed and relevant feedback incorporated into the final CMATS which will be published later this year. The NTA, along with Cork City and County Councils, are committed to continuously engaging with stakeholders and we encourage feedback as we work through the development of the CMATS.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more