Ministers for Health and Transport launch pilot campaign

The National Transport Authority and Healthy Ireland are launching a new pilot campaign today which encourages people to make walking part of their daily commute.

The campaign is a first step in taking a more joined-up approach across Health and Transport, linking health and sustainable travel polices together for the benefit of the commuter. The pilot will be assessing what it is that will motivate commuters to introduce more physical activity into their daily routines.

By getting off a stop early or walking to a further stop while taking the bus, Luas, or train, commuters can add a ten-minute walk to their morning or evening routes. The short-term benefits are potentially reduced stress levels, a boost in energy, and improved concentration and mood.

Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said: “I’m delighted to support this initiative. Small changes can make a big difference and making a small change in our daily commute can help us all to achieve a healthier lifestyle. This is a great initiative and empowers people to take greater control over their wellbeing by being more active in their daily lives and by gradually introducing additional exercise into their commute and indeed all other journeys over the next two weeks and beyond.”

Minister Simon Harris TD, said “I am delighted that we’re taking this step making the healthier choice the easier choice by helping people to be more active in their daily lives. The health benefits of walking are well-known and weaving a walk into your daily commute is the best way to make a habit of it and to make sure you’re fitting in your daily 30 minute recommendation. I encourage everyone to try to get on or off one stop earlier.

“I would like to acknowledge former Irish Heart Foundation CEO, Paddy Murphy and to thank him for initially bringing this idea to my attention. Paddy has long been an advocate for promoting healthier lives and initiated the well-known Sli na Slainte walks and we look forward to assessing the progression of this concept.”

Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, said: “We are proud to take part in this campaign as walking is a key aspect of sustainable travel, one that the NTA focuses on as part of its future plans. Public transport can be unavoidably crowded at peak times, so getting off a stop early or walking to a different stop can make all the difference for a happier, healthier start or finish to the day.”

Increasing physical activity can seem like a daunting task, especially in the colder months. But when you’re already out and on the way to work or college, it’s easier than you think to make small changes to established routines.

The pilot campaign will be found on transport advertising carried on bus, train and Luas routes throughout the greater Dublin area from November 3 to 16. The feedback from the pilot will inform further campaign activity.

More information can be found on Transport for Ireland’s website here.