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Transport engineering, Transport planning and social aspects of transport
In recent years it has been reported that in an international comparison of children’s independent mobility that Ireland has one of the lowest rates of both children’s independent mobility and active travel among several countries (Shaw et al., 2015). Children’s independent mobility and active travel are shown to be affected by several factors including parental time pressures and lifestyle choices; societal fears (‘stranger danger’); and the fear of traffic and road safety (Shaw et al., 2015, Hillman et al., 1990; Lynch, 1977; Johansson, 2006; Shaw et al., 2013; and Zwerts et al., 2010). This research focuses on the latter – traffic and road safety – one of the key spheres of direct influence of the transport planning and engineering professional in Ireland. This research seeks to investigate the extent to which children are engaged with and considered in transport planning and engineering related decision making in Ireland. This research also sought to examine the awareness within the profession of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 12 which endeavours to ensure that children have the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them (United Nations, 1989).
Key findings from interviews with transport professionals indicate that children are seldom considered in transport planning in Ireland, and it is not common to engage with children within transport planning. This may be a contributing factor to Ireland’s low levels of children’s active travel and independent mobility. The policy review also indicated that children’s needs are not adequately recognised within transport related policy in Ireland. There are several national policies which call for the inclusion of children within planning, but these national policies have often not translated well into the local policy context. This study contributes to a significantly under-researched area within Ireland currently and establishes the state of play regarding the engagement of children and their travel needs within the transport planning and engineering profession. The findings are relevant to academia, policy development and practice.
McDonagh, S., and Rock, S., (2021). Considering Children’s Travel Needs: Perceptions of Transport Planning Professionals in Ireland. Proceedings of the European Transport Conference 2021, 13-15 September 2021 [online]. DOI: 10.21427/tnwg-1c22