The Northern Ireland Repute workshop -a great success!!
On the 21st October Action Renewables and South West College hosted the Northern Irish REPUTE Workshop in Dungannon.
Prof. Denise Morrey, from Oxford Brookes University and partner in the REPUTE project, provided the audience with an insight into the REPUTE Guide. The final version of the guide is to be available in June 2015. Denise explained that once complete, it is expected to be the go-to guide on developments in the area of renewable and efficient energy use in public transport. Denise also unveiled the REPUTE index, which will form a rational basis for comparing regional issues and actions across Atlantic Area regions, in the realm of renewable energy use in public transport.
Ciaran Doherty, General Manager of bus services from Translink, gave an overview of their strategy for future delivery of public transport services in Northern Ireland. By implementing this strategy, Translink aims to have 80 million bus passenger journeys by 2025, and 20 million train passenger journeys by 2020. Ciaran explained that at present, Translink carries the population of NI on their bus and rail services in 1 week. In addition, their Translink metro service is the only one outside of London experiencing growth in its usage, with their Goldline services realising 40% growth in the last 7 years.
Mark Mitchel, product director at Wrightbus, showcased the breadth of energy efficient and renewable transport solutions the company offers. It was clear from Mark’s presentation that Wrightbus is an excellent example of how implementing renewable energy in public transport can successfully stimulate enterprise. Wrighbus currently have export markets in UK, Ireland, USA, Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore. Mark illustrated Wrightbus’ continued commitment to innovation in this field, by informing the audience about their involvement in a demonstration project in Milton Keynes. Wrightbus have provided induction transfer solar powered buses to the project, which boast a 90%+ high efficiency transfer and an annual cost saving of £0.777 million.
Ciaran de Búrca, from the Department of Regional Development, gave the audience an overview of the progress made on the Belfast on the Move and Belfast Rapid Transport projects (BRT). Belfast on the Move initiatives have facilitated a significant modal shift in the city, with 36% more rail and 17% more bus passengers during the morning peak times. Whilst 1,900 less vehicles enter in in the morning peak and around 10,900 less vehicles in a 24 hour period, accessibility to the city has improved, with an extra 2,200 people entering the city in the morning peak. Ciaran presented a timeline for the BRT scheme’s completion, which will include 15 different infrastructure projects (roadworks, halts and Park & Ride), procurement of Rapid Transit Vehicles and co-ordination with Translink’s Next Generation Ticketing Project.
Laura Peacock demonstrated the forward thinking nature of Oxfordshire County Council when it comes to implementing cleaner public transport solutions. The council views renewable and energy efficient transport as a way of mitigating against the issues associated with a growing population, air quality and congestion. For a start, Oxfordshire County Council are hosting the world’s first pilot of double deck buses powered by induction transfer solar power. In addition, Laura presented the Oxford Transport Laboratory (MobOX), which represents a model for local authorities, academia and business to work together to take a holistic approach to transport integration in cities.
Finally, Professor Ricardo Scarpa, Chair of the Gibson Institute of Queens University Belfast, detailed why he felt hydrogen fuelled transport was the future. Prof. Scarpa presented a model for shifting to this hydrogen based public transport system, with bi-fuel systems being implemented in the interim while the hydrogen fuelling networks are developed. He presented the economic realities of progressing to this hydrogen based public transport system, with high initial costs needed to reap the long-term rewards.