One in 10 spend over an hour travelling to work - Census 2016

Census figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today show that in April 2016 the number of people travelling to work, school or college was 9.3% higher than the 2011 figure.

The figures show 2,962,550 commuted in that period, with 1,875,773 of those travelling to work, an increase of 10.7% on 2011.

There were large increases in bus and train use (up 22% and 19.7% respectively), while the number cycling to work rose by 43% on 2011.

"This report presents detailed statistics on and analysis of the commuting patterns of workers and students in April 2016," said Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician.

"It examines how we travel to work, school and college; the times we leave to get there and the length of time we spend commuting. It is particularly timely as we move into Autumn and the return of students to schools and colleges across the country."

Highlights from Profile 6 – Commuting in Ireland

Car still the most common mode of transport for workers

In April 2016, 65.6% (1,229,966) of those commuting to work either drove or were passengers in a car.

While just under half of working commuters living in Dublin city and suburbs commuted by car, more than 6 in 10 did so in Cork and Limerick (city and suburbs). In rural areas 7 in 10 people used the car to get to work.

Increase in bus and rail commuters

There were 111,436 commuters using the bus to get to work and 63,133 rail commuters. Just over 9% (174,569) of working commuters used public transport in April 2016, compared with 8.5% in 2011. In Dublin city and suburbs 22% of working commuters used public transport (bus or train) compared with only 8% in Cork (city and suburbs).

Significant increase in cycling

In April 2016, 56,837 people cycled to work, an increase of 43% since 2011. Three quarters of these were males. Two thirds of all cyclists were in Dublin city and suburbs, with 38,870 persons cycling to work. In contrast, just 2,330 people cycled to work in Cork city and suburbs, 1,874 in Galway, 968 in Limerick and 395 in Waterford.

Walkers comprise almost 10% of working commuters

The numbers walking to work increased by 4,570 to 175,080, accounting for 9.3% of the commuting population. While those walking and cycling accounted for 22% of commuters in 1986 (196,750), this had fallen to just 12% (231,917) in April 2016.

Primary school children

Among primary schoolchildren, 59.8% went to school by car, compared to 59.2% in 2011. Commuting by bus fell by 7% on 2011. Overall, those walking and cycling accounted for 25% of primary school commuters in 2016, compared with almost 50% in 1986.

Secondary school children

Among secondary schoolchildren, 43.3% went to school by car, while 28.4% used the bus. Over 42% of rural secondary students were reliant on the bus to get to school, compared to nearly 1 in 5 urban students.

Third level

While driving was the most popular means of travel for third-level students in 2011, the numbers fell in 2016 to 44,771, accounting for 23.5% of college commuters. The 45,943 third-level bus commuters accounted for 24% of all third-level commuters, an increase of 5,473 (13.5%) on the 2011 figure. Walking was the most common means of travel to college, accounting for 26% of students (48,812).

Travel times increasing

Commuting times rose in every county and the national average commuting time in April 2016 was 28.2 minutes, up from 26.6 minutes in 2011. Commuters in counties bordering Dublin had the longest average commuting time, with those in Meath and Wicklow travelling for almost 35 minutes.

Almost 200,000 commuters, (1 in 10), spent an hour or more commuting to work, an increase of almost 50,000 (31%) on 2011. Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington, where 28% of 4,565 workers were commuting an hour or more, had the highest percentage, followed by Skerries (1,092) and Greystones-Delgany (1,855).

In 2016 there were 81,897 parents with children under 15 who spent an hour or more commuting to work. Of these 43,372 were parents of pre-school children, an increase of 8,000 (23%) on 2011. In Wicklow, Meath, Laois, Kildare and Westmeath one in five parents of 0-4 year olds had a commute of over an hour.

The number of early leavers (before 7.00am) increased to 365,000 (+34%) since April 2011, with 25% of male commuters and 13% of females leaving before 7.00am.

Increase in mobile workers and those working at home

There were 94,955 persons working ‘mainly at or from home’ in April 2016, an increase of 14%. Over 174,000 workers stated that they had no fixed place of work, up 26,000 (18%) on 2011.

Increase in daytime working population

The number of people working in Dublin city and suburbs surpassed the half a million mark in 2016, with a daytime working population of 512,449, an increase of 9% on 2011. Excluding mobile workers, Dublin city and suburbs accounted for 29% of the State’s workforce.

The workforce in Cork city and suburbs increased by 10.8% to 102,139 persons and in Limerick city and suburbs the workforce increased by 7.8% to 44,624. Galway city and suburbs’ workforce increased by 9.7% to 44,376 while Waterford city and suburbs increased by 4.5% to 24,375 workers. These five urban areas combined account for 58% per cent of all daytime workplace destinations (excluding mobile workers), down from the 72% recorded in 2011.

Cross border commuters

Census 2016 recorded people who crossed the border to the North for work or school. The number of workers crossing the border was 7,037 in 2016, up from 6,419 in 2011 (+10%). The number of students stood at 2,299, down from 3,117 in 2011 (-26%).

Working abroad

Some 3,531 people stated on the 2016 Census form that their place of work was outside the island of Ireland. The most popular overseas working destination was Great Britain, with 2,144 commuting to England, Scotland and Wales, and a further 1,387 commuting elsewhere in the world.


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