Irish Transport Sector
Transport represents the second-largest source of GHG emissions in Ireland with over 11.6 million tonnes of GHGs emitted in 2022, accounting for 19.1% of total emissions. The transport sector has shown the greatest overall rise in GHG emissions with an increase of 113.7% since 1990. Under the Climate Action Plan sectoral emission targets, the transport sector must reduce its emissions by 50% to 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide gas equivalent (CO2e) by 2030 and net zero by 2050. This highlights that the path to a decarbonised Irish economy must pass through a decarbonised transport sector.
Achieving the sectoral emissions target for transport can only be achieved by a shift to sustainable modes of transport, with an increase in active travel and an expansion of public transport journeys. Ireland’s public transport network is a key enabler of the National Development Plan 2021-2030 (NDP), Project Ireland 2040, National Sustainable Mobility Policy, 2023 Climate Action Plan (CAP), the Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan. The implementation of these policies will require cross cutting sectoral measures and well-designed urban and spatial development.
What is CIÉ Group's role?
As Ireland’s largest public transport provider, our mission is to work alongside our stakeholders, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Department of Transport (DoT) to offer a low-carbon transport option, connecting communities, maximising accessibility, and supporting compact growth. CIÉ Group is working to offer high quality, frequent services to stimulate modal shift and provide a sustainable alternative to private car use across the country.
CIÉ Group plays an important role in delivering the objectives of the CAP and National Sustainable Mobility Policy by providing safe, green, accessible and efficient alternatives to car journeys. The CAP plans for a 130% increase in daily public transport journeys by 2030, which CIÉ Group is working to facilitate with support of the NTA through the expansion and upgrade of our networks via BusConnects, Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan, and DART+. CIÉ Group is also developing our land and property assets to deliver transit orientated development and accommodate residential and commercial use around key transport hubs.
CIÉ Group is also exploring the feasibility of increasing renewables in our energy mix. The shift from a low cost, flexible fossil fuel-based fleet to a zero-emission service presents risks, opportunities as well as operational challenges. It will greatly increase our electricity demand and require a sustained investment and planned upgrades of stations and depots to support electrification.
CIÉ Group is exploring alternative technologies where electrification is challenged. We are supporting the development of green hydrogen in transport, working with partners to develop a hydrogen valley for Ireland. In 2021, Bus Éireann and the NTA deployed three hydrogen-fuelled buses in Ireland, providing insights into the use of hydrogen fuel cells as a complementary technology to battery electric vehicles under operating conditions.