Rapid Transit Enabling Measures Phase 1 - Belfast


Construction scheme (future)
To modify streets in Belfast City Centre to accommodate the pilot rapid transit system.
Total Length

Proposed as part of "Belfast on the Move" scheme - 30 Sep 2010
Implementation could begin "end 2013" (as of Dec 2012)
To be in operation by 2017/18 (as of Nov 2012)

None currently
See Also
Official web site for Belfast On the Move - DRD
Belfast Rapid Transit System - on this site
1. Streets Ahead Enabling Measures Phase 1 - on this site
2. Sustainable Transport Enabling Measures - on this site
4. City Centre Ring Road Southern Section - on this site
5. Streets Ahead Enabling Measures Phase 2 - on this site
6. Transforming the City Centre Ring Road - on this site

Belfast is currently undertaking a long-term scheme to redirect general traffic flows out of Belfast city centre, in order to permit a greater role for buses, rapid transit, pedestrians and cycling. Called Belfast on the Move, the work is being carried out in six phases, of which this is the third:
  1. Streets Ahead Enabling Measures Phase 1
  2. Sustainable Transport Enabling Measures (STEM)
  3. Rapid Transit Enabling Measures
  4. City Centre Ring Road Southern Section
  5. Streets Ahead Enabling Measures Phase 2
  6. Transforming the City Centre Ring Road

Phase 2 is underway at the time of writing (Nov 2012) and sees road space in the city centre re-allocated away from general traffic and towards public transport and cycling. While these proposals involve creating new bus lanes, they do not provide sufficient infrastructure to allow rapid transit vehicles to traverse these streets. This will require additional work, concurrent with the construction of the wider rapid transit system which is (as of Nov 2012) expected to be in operation by 2017/18.

The map below dates from early 2011 and shows the proposed routes for rapid transit in the city centre and the locations of the five planned halts. As of November 2012, this plan is still accurate EXCEPT that WWAY is now confirmed to run on Divis Street. Hence the lower green arrows will not be needed.

DRD image from here


12 Dec 2012: In a talk at the PLACE Architecture and Built Environment Centre today, Ciarán de Búrca (the head of the project) stated that implementation of Rapid Transit would begin at the end of 2013. This would obviously have to include this scheme, which sees the Rapid Transit infrastructure introduced into the city centre. As most of the work required is outside the city centre, it's unclear whether the city centre will see work beginning as early as this. But it appears to be well on its way to getting started. He also confirmed that the five halts marked on the map above are the finalised locations, not just indicative locations.

23 Nov 2012: The summary of the Outline Business Case was published yesterday. See the page on Belfast Rapid Transit for more details. The main implication for the "Rapid Transit Enabling Measures" scheme is the decision to route WWAY along Divis Street rather than Grosvenor Road. Although the rapid transit system will probably use the bus lanes being introduced as part of the STEM project of 2012/13, there will need to be additional measures. For example, STEM does not provide any bus lanes on College Square East*, or College Avenue that could be used by WWAY going north. Similarly, Divis Street (a critical Westlink junction) will have no bus lanes as a result of STEM.

*there is a northbound bus lane on College Square East, but only for turning right onto Wellington Place.