THE Cork transport plan set to be published in the coming weeks will cost more than €3 billion to implement but has the potential to benefit the economy by almost three times the cost.
The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) was due to be published last month but is now set to released for public consultation early this year.
A Luas-style light rail system, new rail stations and park and ride, continuous bus lanes, a full cycling network and new road projects are all included in the strategy which will take years and even decades to implement in full.
The cost to implement the entire strategy will be €3.1 billion but the project has a positive benefit to cost ratio of 2.9.
While major changes are taking place to the Cork transport network in the short term through the ban on cars on Patrick's Street, improvements to the bus network and further changes planned for MacCurtain Street, the CMATS aims to provide a thorough strategy to guide future development as the city's population is set to increase by 50% by 2040.
The overall objective of the CMATS is to achieve a significant increase in the use of public transport as well as cycling and walking.
It is understood that the development of residential accommodation in the Docklands will be crucial for the viability of any light-rail tram system linking Ballincollig to Mahon via the city centre and Kent Station.
It is also understood that the adoption of a Land Use Strategy would be crucial to the success of CMATS by ensuring that development would occur in areas which could be well served by public transport.
The Southern Regional Assembly recently published a draft spatial strategy for the entire southern region up until 2031 and said the CMATS is a "game changer" for metropolitan Cork.
It also said that delivering a high capacity Luas line will be the key new transformative project and is a key ambition.