Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Urban studies (Planning and development), Transport planning and social aspects of transport


Orbital routes are often considered a costly idea that is unpopular with transport users. Yet many cities provide them in a successful, often revenue-generating context. Those that do take a Network Effect approach to service design. The idea of orbital routes within the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) transport network has been around for some time, referenced for example in the 2002 Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) “Platform for Change” Strategy, the 2006 MVA “Dublin Bus Network Review” consultants’ study and most recently the National Transport Authority (NTA) Greater Dublin Area Draft Transport Strategy 2011-2030, where two notional orbital Quality Bus Corridors (QBCs) are referred to (Figure 1 below). This paper examines current strategies to serve orbital demand and looks at the potential for and barriers to delivering such services. Future demand models indicate that strategic mode share targets cannot be met without orbital services. Analysis of residential and employment land-uses in a quadrant of the GDA indicates potential for effective orbital services. Further study is recommended to analyse the optimum design and routing of any such services. These need to be efficient and direct with high levels of transferability between services. They should also closely reflect the urban structure (or “Core”) strategy recently adopted by Dublin City Council. Current (draft) transport strategy appears to exclude key development centres, notably in disadvantaged areas, which could be integral to an effective and socially accessible transport network.