The Role of Smart Data in Building a Unified Framework for Greenways Development in NI: TRANSPORT Smart Class, Northern Ireland 2023 Retrospective


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Perla Mansour is the Routes and Networks Programme Manager for Sustrans Northern Ireland. Her role focuses on the design, development and delivery of greenways schemes and active travel corridors to achieving better connectivity in both the physical and the natural environments.

Perla joined us at TRANSPORT Smart Class, Northern Ireland 2023 to discuss the ways in which Sustrans employs data to enable collaboration between local and cross-border government and engage communities to inform the development of innovative models for delivering greenway schemes:

“With our towns and cities facing the crises of climate change and biodiversity decline, it is crucial for us to strengthen cross-sectoral collaborations to develop local solutions to these global challenges. Consistent, precise, and reliable data enables organisations and governments to do just that.

Through the design of smart frameworks derived from qualitative and quantitative data, we can involve a wide range of stakeholders in our ‘Paths for Everyone’ and ‘Liveable Towns and Cities’ programmes, tailoring the context to fit rural and urban settings. This enables an engagement and understanding of on-going challenges and opportunities and allows an evidence-based development of active travel projects.”

Summary of highlights from Perla’s opening keynote presentation:

  • Sustrans Strategic Priorities – A UK-wide network of traffic free paths for everyone, connecting cities, towns and countryside; Places that connect us to each other and what we need, where everyone can thrive without needing a car;
  • Transport as the second highest GHG emitting sector in NI;
  • The Climate Emergency – Substituting 41% of short car trips with walking or cycling to save 10% of CO2;
  • The Biodiversity Emergency – Landscape corridors; restoration areas; sustainable-use areas; linear corridors; buffer zones; core areas; stepping stones;
  • Physical Activity & Social Disparities – 34% of people in NI without car access; average journeys per year; the health and wellbeing challenge; the growing mental health problem; health risks from inactivity; road safety;
  • National Greenways Strategy – Greenways in development; developed framework for route status assessment;
  • ‘Paths for Everyone’ Programme – Existing greenways: routes auditing and barriers auditing;
  • ‘Liveable Cities and Towns’ Programme – Cross-sector collaboration; stakeholder engagement; nature-based solutions;
  • Evidence-based Development of Active Travel Projects;
  • Benefits of Active Travel Infrastructure – Safe and accessible roads; connecting communities together and to key service areas; designing with green infrastructure to alleviate flooding, reduce air pollution, increase accessibility to nature and create green corridors & improve biodiversity;
  • Design solutions – Low-traffic neighbourhoods; 20 minute neighbourhoods; traffic calming measures; traffic free zones; school streets; designing with nature; sustainable travel journeys; tactical design;
  • Designing for all users

If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at Cultra Manor, Holywood, for the live in-person event on February 9th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Perla’s keynote).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.

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TRANSPORT Smart Class, Northern Ireland 2023

On February 9th we will be casting a spotlight over Northern Ireland, hosting our speakers discussions on how the latest digital innovations can help overcome the transport and mobility challenges faced by Belfast; Derry City and Strabane; Lisburn and Castlereagh; Antrim and Newtownabbey; Ards and North Down; Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon; Causeway Coast and Glens; Fermanagh and Omagh; Mid and East Antrim; Mid Ulster; Newry, Mourne and Down; and beyond.


   Belfast (Holywood), UK

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