A hike in city centre parking charges of up to 300% is among recommendations in a new study published by the Department of Transport.

It is one of several recommendations contained in The Five Cities Demand Management study, which is focused on helping the State achieve its target of halving transport emissions by the end of the decade.

The department said the report, which was conducted by Systra LTD, helps it to better understand what drives transport demand.

It wants to encourage a greater shift to more sustainable forms of travel in Ireland's five largest urban centres - Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway.

"The findings from this study will constitute a valuable resource for national and local authorities as they work to implement complementary demand management policy measures at national and local level over the coming years," the department says.

CEO of Dublin Town Richard Guiney said while he thinks people will be largely behind the recommendations outlined, suggesting a 300% hike in city centre parking charges is effectively "putting in a prohibition".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said there are other measures such as the provision of free car parking that should be looked at first.

"That is where we are going to get our biggest bang for our buck."

He said more people travel into Dublin as commuters than as shoppers, and yet there is free car parking being provided by the State and other employers.

"What they have done in places in the UK is introduced a levy which the employer pays and it has been effective in reducing the number of cars coming into the cities.

"If we want to be real about it, that is where we have to be."

He also said there needs to be an acceleration of the roll-out of public transport.

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Retail Excellence's Duncan Graham has said a 300% hike in city centre parking charges could push people away from cities.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Graham said: "I guess I'd be very surprised if this became a reality anytime soon. I think if you started to talk around, bringing in car parking charges of €10 or €15 an hour or more, it would result in the closure of most car parks.

"I think the problem at the moment is there is simply no credible alternative, all we would actually be doing is pushing people away from our cities."

"I think anything like this being brought in needs to be really considered and needs to be brought in over time, and to close up access and exit from any part of the city centre at this moment in time, or indeed over the next five to 10 years, would be a backward step."

He said that any measures that facilitate more people strolling through city centres and being able "eat and shop and all of that in comfort and in safety" are to be welcomed.

But he added that the introduction of pedestrianisation during over the summer was a boost for the hospitality sector, but done without any consultation with retail.

"It certainly brought a bit of footfall to the city centres, which was badly needed, but it also did create issues in terms of access, blocking off entrances to car parks, making it difficult for deliveries and so on and so forth," he added.