The Kite Project

The Kilkenny Integrated Transport Project (KITE PROJECT)

Pictured: William Colfer, Kent Stainless; Declan Rice, CEO Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and Jackie Mealy Ring a Link.

Identifying Transport Obstacles in Rural Kilkenny

The Kilkenny Integrated Transport (KITE) project seeks to identify and address obstacles presented by public transport provision in the rural areas of Kilkenny.  Initiated and led by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) through actions in its LEADER Local Development Strategy, the Kilkenny Local Transport Action Group is a local partnership has been active in community and rural transport provision for some time.  The Group have focused on the advantages of integrating the existing modes of public transport- the traditional fixed corridor licenced services, and flexible community services. 

Kilkenny Mobility & Transport Context

  • There is weak to non-existent transport connectivity within much of Kilkenny County.  While Kilkenny county is well served by the national and regional public transport network by means of licensed, point-to-point route services mostly to and through the larger towns, the challenge for residents of the smaller towns, villages and rural areas is the connection to those larger towns.  Bus Éireann and JJ Kavanagh & Sons are the two largest providers of service.
  • Ring a Link, the community-based nonprofit company, provides a flexible ‘demand responsive transport’ (DRT) service to many parts of the county, but is not linked (with one exception to the conventional point-to-point service).
  • The connections to the rural areas beyond the few scheduled stops in some of the smaller towns and villages is dependent on private transport or taxi/ hackney hire: these options are both financially expensive and environmentally unsustainable.
  • As there is no structured integration of public transport services operating in or through Kilkenny County, the point-to-point licensed and flexible services are not timed or managed to ensure connections.  Intending travelers cannot plan journeys to optimise both types of service for a journey.
  • This lack of connectivity also means that people in Kilkenny City, especially the significant number of tourists and visitors, cannot visit locations and attractions around the County without a car.

KITE Partnership & Concept     

As a result of research and development led by KLP, the KITE project partnership between JJ Kavanagh & Sons Ltd. and Ring a Link Clg. has been developed, supported by grant and other aid from KLP and Tomar Trust in terms of hardware and software, and from Kilkenny County Council for the bus shelters and related infrastructure.  KITE aims at the coordination of services of JJ Kavanagh & Sons and Ring a Link, through support of ‘real time passenger information’ (RTPI) technology.  The National Transport Authority was briefed regularly on the project development.

How it works? 

The essence of KITE to actively develop coordination and to promote its availability and attractions.  The investment therefore both links and coordinates between the JJ Kavanagh and Ring a Link systems and promotes that linkage and coordination to the intending travellers.  The system will mean that passengers can connect the differing services and plan journeys.  This will ultimately greatly expand the range of travel options, not just around the county but also nationally. 

  1. The project’s most publicly visible part of KITE includes six new ‘real time passenger information’ (RTPI) bus stops in Kilkenny City and County. Each bus stop is to include the following within the conventional stainless-steel shelter.
    1. RTPI information on a on a dynamic digital display of the next arriving fixed corridor (point-to-point) licenced services.
    1. Linked integration options to flexible ‘demand responsive transport’ (DRT) services to extend the reach beyond the fixed corridor of the licenced route.
    1. A communications button to a transport coordination person to advise and refer intending passengers.
    1. Traditional maps and other written text on service timetables and contact numbers, booking addresses, etc.
  1. The Super Stop and the communication RTPI system are supported by an information and communication technology system of several parts, all connected and coordinated from the Ring a Link office.  These RTPI elements include:
    1. On vehicle trackers on 18 JJ Kavanagh bus TransMach ticket machines.
    1. Vix RTPI control system acting as the coordinating ‘brain’ of the system.
    1. Web and mobile phone connection to all communication elements.

[1] Ring a Link integrates with the Bus Eireann special service between Clonmel and Castlecomer at Grangemockler

[2] Other fixed license bus service operators were invited to participate, but declined at this stage.

[3] Equipping the machines rather than the vehicle itself, gives more flexibility to change the bus on the service.

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