Majority of commuters still turning to the car

Despite Government efforts to get more people to walk, cycle, or use public transport, three out of every four journeys are still being made by car, according to a new overview of the country’s transport sector.

‘Transport Trends — An Overview of Ireland’s Transport Sector’ also raises concerns at underinvestment in the transport network and the implications this could have at a time when transport demand is increasing significantly.

Overall, the Department of Transport, which authored the report, found that 74% of all journeys are being taken by car, with bus accounting for 4.4%, and rail/Dart/Luas for 1.4%. Walking represents 14.8% of all journeys, with cycling at 1.6%.

Reliance on the car is decreasing, however, down from almost 77% in 2012.

At the same time the number of people using public transport went up by 3.6%, or 7.7m to 224.1m between 2014 and 2015.

The number of people walking or cycling has risen from 14.8% in 2012 to 16.4% in 2014.

In terms of the nature of the journeys being taken, the report finds that both average distance and the time spent of getting from A-B both increased between 2012 and 2014.

The average journey distance across the country rose from from 13.6km to 14.6km while the average journey duration increased from 21.7 minutes to 22.7 minutes.

Furthermore total road kms driven was up by 1.7% in 2014 to 42.5bn km. The average speed nationally increased from 37.6 kph in 2012 to 38.5kph in 2014.

The overall increases raise a note of concern for the authors who said the cut in transport investment since 2008 had been “significant”.

“It is now the case that Ireland is investing less than it historically has — less as a proportion of GDP than other OECD states and less than the estimated level needed to maintain the current system,” said the report.

“Thus, as transport demand returns to significant growth, investment in the sector is still constrained.”

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said €10bn in capital investment has been earmarked for the transport sector up to 2022.

Elsewhere, the report shows public bike schemes are proving successful, at least in the capital.

The number of journeys on Dublin Bikes has increased from 1.2m in 2010 to 4.1m in 2015.

Last year, the number of journeys in Cork was 289,426 and for Limerick and Galway respectively it was 40,118 and 19,934.


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