Ballybrophy rail debate – The Role of Town Planning



Rail Planning. Much reporting recently regarding the continued viability and public subsidy of a railway line between Limerick and Ballybrophy by the National Transport Authority and Iarnród Éireann.


The rail line in question is serving a city hinterland and rural population between larger urban centres.  Whilst public expenditure in capital transport infrastructure needs to be accountable, is this an issue arising from a dispersed rural settlement pattern of development and an Irish desire to live in the countryside, or, does this reflect the desirability of living in smaller village settlements?


The graphic below illustrates different sets of spatial data employed by Town Planners in spatial development and planning through GIS analysis.  In this instance, the Census of Population data (Census 2011 – small area statistics representing the smallest popultion information available) is displayed by density colour relative to the exact location of the national rail network and rural train stations.   Further population analysis can then be undertaken by proximity from the rail stations.

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A clear example of why and how spatial (and particularly) rural development must be responsive toward the location and availability of of public infrastructure to achieve effective and efficient use of resources and public spending.

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