Swiftway Bus Rapid Transit. Photo: Brady Shipman; Swiftway Bus Rapid Transit. Photo: Brady Shipman;

Swiftway Bus Rapid Transit, Dublin

Flexibility and adaptability to meet changing transport demands in the future

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has emerged in recent years as an effective, cost efficient and high quality public transport system, which offers fast, reliable, predictable and comfortable commuter journeys in modern, high quality vehicles. Swiftway, as the BRT system in Dublin is called, seeks to emulate the service, performance quality, and amenity characteristics of a modern light rail-based transit system at a reduced cost. 

This high quality integrated public transport mode uses buses on roadways or dedicated lanes to transport passengers quickly and efficiently to their destinations, while offering the flexibility and adaptability to meet changing transport demands in the future.

Arup has been appointed as the lead consultant to provide multidisciplinary engineering consultancy services for the Swords/Airport to City Centre BRT project. The project involves the provision of all elements of a bus rapid transit system to service the Swords to City Centre corridor (approximately 20km in length), including serving Dublin Airport. The scheme also incorporates a high quality cycle facility along the length of the route.

We are responsible for managing and coordinating the outputs from several sub-consultants inputting into the design of the scheme as well as preparing key inputs including the preparation and coordination of the route option assessment report, preliminary design and associated reporting, environmental studies and associated environmental surveys.

The three proposed corridors to be developed as Swiftway routes are Swords/Airport to City Centre, Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght.

The Swiftway system will provide an attractive alternative to car transport, with fast and reliable journey times and will form a key part of Dublin’s overall public transport system.

The Swords/Airport to City Centre corridor is a major transport artery with several key destinations along, or close to, the preferred route. These include Dublin Airport, Santry, Dublin City University, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City Centre, several hospitals, as well as the major growth area of Swords itself.

Key features of a BRT system are frequency of service and fast, reliable journey times. The proposed Swiftway service is intended to initially operate at a frequency of approximately every four minutes during peak commuter periods on the busiest sections of the route. It is likely that there will be a separate Swiftway service starting and terminating at Dublin Airport and running to the city centre.

The introduction of a BRT is also intended to deliver overall benefits to the bus network in terms of efficiency and capacity. This will include for some complementary bus network reorganisation, while other bus services will also benefit significantly from the BRT priority infrastructure provided on the corridor.

The proposed Swords/Airport to City Centre Swiftway scheme will also provide overall enhancements and benefits to pedestrians and cyclists traveling along or intersecting the route. This will include the provision of segregated cycle tracks or improved cycle lanes along the route, cycle parking, as appropriate, at Swiftway stops and improvements to permeability and pedestrian routes from surrounding areas to stops.

A planning application for the Swiftway scheme is scheduled to be lodged before the summer of this year and, subject to the planning approval process and funding being made available, construction on the Swiftway priority infrastructure on the route will commence in early 2016, with the Swiftway service becoming operational in 2018.