Dublin: How Much Could the Draft Network Change?

While our Dublin network redesign is open for public comment, I’ll be posting some frequently asked questions here.

How much change could we make to the plan in response to public comment?

In a July 18 article in the Irish daily The Independent, Paul Melia wrote that “Only minor changes can be made to a radical restructuring of the Dublin Bus network unveiled last week or it will “fall apart”.  The headline is “Only ‘minor changes’ can be made to radical plan for Dublin Bus.”

“Minor” is the reporter’s word, not mine.  I did say that if you change more than about 15% of the network it will fall apart.  But 15% is not minor.  While the plan is a dramatic change, at least half of it consists of service on streets served now, doing something much like what it does now.  So compared to the amount of the network we’re actually changing, 15% is very substantial.

Under the plan, 77% more people can get to DCU in 45 minutes, and someone living near there can get to 44% more jobs in that time. (You can find these for many point around Dublin at busconnects.ie)  But this isn’t the result of certain routes. It’s the result of a whole network of connections involving many possible routes you could use.

Why is there a limit to how much we could change the network?

The defining feature of a network the interdependence of its parts.  We did not just design a set of routes.  We designed a pattern of connections.  The connections, as much as the routes, governs how much of Dublin people can get to in a reasonable amount of time.  So we will resist changing a route in a way that destroys or damages a connection, because the connections — the ease of getting off this bus and onto that one so that you can get to more places — are the essence of how the plan achieves its benefits.

Having said that, we will make changes.  Quite possibly lots of them.  But we will be mindful of this principle when we do.

One Response to Dublin: How Much Could the Draft Network Change?

  1. Steven July 18, 2018 at 9:57 pm #

    Hi Jarrett, thanks for sharing.

    Where would dublin be on the ridership/coverage spectrum be after the redesign? It seems 100 routes still seem a lot.

    Do you think that in larger and denser cities, say like in London, since the pace of life is faster, and metro systems typically are very frequent, the definition of “frequent bus” should be more stringent in these places (Like every 5 min or better rather than 15)? In that case it seems the number of bus routes would be reduced by much more.

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