Stephen Wood, the department’s head of Transport and Modelling, told a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on Monday evening that the Belfast Metropolitan Study, which extends to the borough, estimates a rise in traffic volume of between 19 and 21 per cent.
He told councillors that Antrim and Newtownabbey may benefit from improved “Park and Ride” facilities with “strategies to improve long and short-term stay” as well as improved bus services and traffic management schemes.
“These are the type of schemes DfI thinks are necessary,” said Mr Wood.
“We want to try to reduce the amount of travel needed by bringing homes closer to jobs and shops and key services to reduce the need to jump in the car.”
Mr Wood also indicated that public transport may need to “respond to demand” rather than operate “fixed routes”.
He noted that improved broadband may reduce the need for travel.
Meanwhile, 29 locations have been proposed for the installation of new bike stands across Antrim and Newtownabbey to be established at a cost of £18,000 in a bid to improve “green infrastructure”.
The installation of bicycle stands has been earmarked for key locations across the borough’s towns and villages.
These will include the main shopping area at Rathcoole, Whiteabbey village, Merville Garden Village; Monkstown village, three locations in Glengormley, in Ballyclare, Doagh, Crumlin, Toomebridge and Randalstown.
Walking routes and parks such as Antrim Castle Gardens and Antrim Lough Shore, V36, Newtownabbey and Wallace Park, Templepatrick and at trains stations in Whiteabbey, Mossley West and Antrim are included in the provision.
The project is part of a proposal being forwarded to the Department for Communities in a £363,000 funding bid.
The local authority is also seeking funding to improve the cycle route within Glas na Braden Glen in Newtownabbey and for bike hire.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
Click here to read: New bike hire proposal part of £363k ‘green’ vision for Antrim and Newtownabbey
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.