Northern Ireland

Belfast on the Move: Road scheme cuts city traffic by 11,000 vehicles

Bus lane in Belfast city centre
Image caption The Belfast On The Move project created a number of new bus lanes in the city centre and the scheme gives priority to public transport, pedestrians and cyclists

There are almost 11,000 fewer vehicles in Belfast city centre each day, after a major re-organisation of its traffic system.

The BBC has seen the findings of a government impact study on its 'Belfast on the Move' project.

The scheme, completed last year, included 2.6km of new bus lanes on main thoroughfares like Oxford Street.

It states that more than half of the people coming to the city centre now use public transport or cycle or walk.

Rush-hour

Media captionCafé owner Tomas Morris believes the new bus lanes put people off coming into Belfast

The estimated 10,900 fewer vehicles coming into central Belfast is a 16% reduction on 2010.

The report states that morning rush-hour levels have fallen by 32%.

Traffic levels on the Westlink have increased by 6,000 vehicles per day, "indicating that some city centre traffic has re-routed to more strategic roads", according to the findings.

The report adds that residential areas like Hamilton Street, Sandy Row and Barrack Street are less busy.

Traffic jams

Increasing the number of bus lanes was a controversial step.

When one bus lane opened in May Street in 2012, for example, motorists and city centre retailers complained of severe traffic jams.

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