Public and Stakeholder Consultation
At the outset of the project a number of in-person public consultation events were planned to obtain feedback from the general public and to identify the needs of those who will be using BRT2. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and Departmental guidance, in-person consultation was not considered practical nor feasible. As a result, consultations with the general public were delivered virtually using a range of media as follows:
- Consultation Website - this provided extensive information in relation to:
- Ministerial Video introducing the consultation process
- Key attributes of a Glider system
- Updates on the progress to date in development of the BRT2 proposition
- Detailed consideration of route options and the options assessment process
- Next Steps for the project
- Consultation Webinar
- Consultation Online Survey
- Scheme Brochure which contained similar material to the website
- Public Consultation Feedback Form which contained the same questions as the online questionnaire
- Freephone line which enabled members of the public to:
- Leave verbal feedback
- Request a scheme brochure and feedback form
- Scheme email address – which enabled members of the public to:
- Leave written feedback
- Request a scheme brochure and feedback form
Consultation feedback responses were collected via the consultation website, by freephone, email and by post. Across the consultation period, a total of 1197 responses were received. The public consultation process showed that there is general overall support for the BRT2 project with most respondents confirming that it will support economic growth, integration and help to encourage a modal shift away from the private car.
The selected route for Phase 2 of Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT2) will see the introduction of a G3 Glider service extending from Glengormley in the north along the Antrim Road linking through the city centre along the Ormeau Road and Saintfield Road to Carryduff. The existing G2 City Centre to Belfast Harbour glider service will also be extended to provide connections with Queens University and Belfast City Hospital.
Route Options Assessment
The route selection process included assessments to identify the route options capable of delivering a scheme which fulfils the following key objectives of BRT2:
› Provide a safe, efficient and high-quality public transport service;
› Support sustainable economic growth and regeneration;
› Provide equality through enhanced accessibility; and
› Support social inclusion and the integration of communities.
The initial stage of the Route Options Assessment was to undertake a high-level assessment of a long list of route options. This allowed unpromising options to be discarded at an early stage. The assessment included a review of:
› how the route could contribute to meeting the project objectives and wider Government policies and strategies; and
› the key viability and acceptability criteria of each route, including how the route could accommodate the necessary BRT infrastructure.
A detailed assessment was then undertaken for the most promising route options. The key issues that were assessed in order to refine the viable route options were as follows:
› the suitability of the route to provide priority lanes for the BRT2 service;
› the potential positive impact of the route on public transport journey times and reliability;
› the accessibility of the route to key locations of employment, healthcare, leisure, commerce and regeneration;
› whether or not the route would provide value for money;
› the practical feasibility of implementing the route;
› whether the project would be within available funding if the route is selected;
› the commercial viability of the route; and
› the potential of the route to encourage more people to transfer from private car to public transport.
G3 North - Antrim Road
This route runs from the existing G1/G2 network at Belfast City Hall to Donegall Place - Royal Avenue - Donegall Street - Clifton Street - Carlisle Circus Roundabout - Antrim Road - Glengormley.
From the City Centre, this option enhances access along Antrim Road, with extended and upgraded bus lanes. Service provision to Glengormley and the proposed Park & Ride/Interchange location on O’Neill Road are to be considered further.
Along the Antrim Road, the scheme passes through a mix of low (outer sections) and high (inner sections) density residential areas. The required level of bus priority can be achieved within the existing highway boundary for the majority of route (high-level of existing bus lane provision), with only some sections of the route requiring new bus lanes. Antrim Road benefits from high levels of existing bus patronage serving an established population catchment. It is also designated as a Core Quality Bus Corridor in the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan. This route would enhance access to Mater Hospital, Crumlin Road visitor attraction, Belfast Castle, Belfast Zoo and a number of education facilities.
G3 South - Ormeau Road
This route runs from the existing G1/ G2 network at City Hall along Great Victoria Street - Bruce Street - Bankmore Link - Ormeau Road - Saintfield Road - Carryduff.
Service provision to Carryduff and the proposed extension to Cairnshill Park & Ride are to be considered further.
From the City Centre, this route enhances access to/from Ormeau Road via a new bus-only connection on Bankmore Link. This link also provides dedicated cycle lanes which enhances onward connections to the proposed Lagan Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge at the Gas Works. The route makes use of and extends existing bus lane provision along Great Victoria Street and connects to the new Belfast Transport Hub from Great Victoria Street by way of a short walk.
Along Ormeau Road, the route passes through mainly high-density residential areas. The required level of bus priority can be achieved within the existing highway boundary for the majority of the route (high-level of existing bus lane provision). Ormeau Road/Saintfield Road has strong public transport patronage and is designated as a Core Quality Bus Corridor in the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan. The route would enhance access to Forestside Shopping Centre and would seek to connect to Carryduff.
This circulatory option runs from the existing G2 network at Howard Street - Great Victoria Street - Bruce Street - Dublin Road - University Road, then connects with the Lisburn Road via Elmwood Avenue and back to the City Centre via Lisburn Road and Great Victoria Street. This route forms an extension to the existing G2 service which extends to the Titanic Quarter via the City Centre network.
This route facilitates significant priority for BRT2 using the existing roads and will enhance accessibility to Queen’s University and Belfast City Hospital as well as serving the communities of Sandy Row, Donegall Pass, Botanic and Holylands. Elmwood Avenue is proposed to be converted to one-way operation in the direction of Lisburn Road with the existing on-street parking retained.
Investigation and Development of Selected Routes
Further investigations of road geometry, junction arrangements, Park & Ride and halt locations will be undertaken in order to further inform preferred route layouts. Officials will engage with residents, businesses and other stakeholders along the selected routes as detailed system design commences to gather their views which will be incorporated into the design process.
Development of Service Operations
Further refinement of bus services relating to the selected route will now be undertaken. This task will be completed in conjunction with Translink. It will include the review of existing bus services along the network and consider the integration of remaining residual services and necessary new feeder services to support BRT2.
Completion of an Outline Business Case
This work has commenced and will be completed in two distinct stages:
- Stage 1 – preparation of an Interim Outline Business Case to demonstrate viability of BRT2 and support funding bids.
- Stage 2 – preparation of a full Outline Business Case to evaluate selected route final designs, vehicle selections, halt proposals and service operating model.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get further information about the project?
You can request further information by emailing BRT2@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or by writing to; Mr Clive Robinson, Department for Infrastructure, Transport Projects Branch, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8GB.
How will Phase 2 services integrate with existing services?
The Phase 2 Glider route will provide a continuous cross city link between North and South Belfast, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, with opportunities to connect with other Glider and public transport services via interchange at various locations within the city centre and at the terminus points at each end of the route.
Will existing bus services along the chosen route be affected?
Further work will be carried out to develop Service Plans which will help identify any changes needed to optimise the overall public transport offering along the selected routes and beyond. This may include the introduction of feeder services to serve surrounding areas and the removal of existing services which currently operate along the selected routes.