Residents disappointed after their research in to traffic flow ignored

by Mark O'Brien
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A local residents group have said that they are disappointed that their own research into traffic flow at the proposed Lidl development in Castleknock was ignored.
Members of Kirkpatrick, Rockfield and Coolmine Residents’ Association carried out their own traffic survey at the proposed site and found that traffic flow was considerably higher than what was predicted in the planning application.
Planning applications in Ireland use a software system called TRICS to estimate traffic flow.
Doubts have been cast in the past on the reliability of TRICS to estimate traffic flow.
A 2008 study carried out by University College Cork found that while TRICS estimates of traffic flow into office developments is generally accurate, it usually underestimates traffic flow into retail outlets, particularly discount stores.
A statement from the Residents’ Association said that it was disappointing that this paper had not been referred to in the planning decision.
The report acknowledged that the TRICS system could be open to manipulation but said that it was satisfied that it had not been manipulated in this case.
The issue of the accuracy of TRICS has previously been raised with Fingal County Council with all councillors from the Mulhuddart/Castleknock area noting that there were problems with the system.
The Residents’ Association have previously met with officials from Fingal County Council and presented their findings.
Fingal County Council said that they have amended their approach to traffic surveys since meeting with the residents but would continue to use TRICS data.
A spokesperson for Fingal County Council said: “TRICS is the best available database of trip attractions and generations as it is based on literally thousands of traffic counts.
“It is therefore a very useful tool.
“As with all computer applications, it is subject to the adage “Garbage in – garbage out”.
“For that reason, the council checks both inputs and outputs whenever TRICS is used as part of a planning application.
“Following a meeting with two residents who conducted their own surveys, the council has amended its approach to TRICS and has asked developer’s engineers to amend theirs.”
An Bord Pleanala said that they do not comment on decided cases but added that the file on the decision to grant permission for the Lidl development was available to the public should they wish to view it.

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