Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Primary and Childhood Education, investigated issues of transport disadvantage in Ireland. Transport disadvantage refers to the lack of access to varied, frequent and economically viable modes of transport. It is a phenomenon that contributes to social exclusion and acts as a barrier to employment, education and public services. It is disproportionally evident in rural and semi-rural areas where the burden of forced car ownership is a feature of the broader phenomenon of transport disadvantage.

Research into transport disadvantage in selected districts within County Tipperary, Ireland, provides useful insights into local realities. Outcomes reflect wider trends for populations living beyond Dublin and its commuter hinterland who, by and large, depend on cars to ensure access to goods, services and employment. For some, car ownership compounds issues of poverty and disadvantage more generally, whilst lack of access to transport is detrimental to the health and well-being of the wider community. In the medium to longer term the National Development Plan and the re-visioning of the Rural Transport Programme may contribute to positive transport developments.

Whilst the government needs to make good on pledges to rural communities it also needs to plan strategically to mitigate the environmental impacts associated with road building and car ownership. Concerns about climate change and the impetus provided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals may ultimately prompt a holistic and integrated approach to transport planning.

For details on this project, please contact: Maureen O’Shaughnessy [email protected].