Up to 25%, on leaving home in the morning, opt to walk, compared to a national average of 15%.
However, the city’s huge third-level college population prefer the comfort of a car and 40% drive to their lectures, while 39% walk, 12% use public transport, and 5% cycle.
The figures are contained in a report titled ‘Limerick Metropolitan District (LMD) Movement Framework Study’, which was commissioned by Limerick City and County Council and carried out by ARUP.
The area covered in the report has a population of just over 90,000 and includes the greater city area, stretching between Mungret Village on the southside and Annacotty village on the northern side.
It has a labour force residing in the area of over 40,000, and about 20,000 of these commute into the city daily.
Just over 65% of this workforce travel into the city by car and the average travel time is 20 minutes.
The report says Limerick City must overcome a number of key transportational challenges, adding: “These challenges are not unique to Limerick City and the Mid-West Region; on a national basis, traffic growth and travel patterns are assuming unsustainable characteristics. Ireland’s cities must consider a new approach to their role and function as urban centres.”
In the current economic climate, the report says, the provision of additional major infrastructure is no longer a viable solution to urban congestion.
It adds: “A fundamental shift towards sustainable travel is therefore necessary. This new approach must have at it’s heart an emphasis on sustainability-achieving behavioural change with a focus on walking, cycling and public transport as real alternatives for travelling within larger urban centres.”
However, in trying to move Limerick on foot, the report identifies locations where footpath widths were insufficient for the safe and comfortable movement of pedestians.
The report is also critical of Bus Éireann’s Limerick city bus service.
“While the majority of the city bus services are cross-city, it is evident that a number of these services do not allow for connectivity to important destinations within LMD,” the report says.
It was presented yesterday to the Transport Strategic Policy Committee of Limerick City and County Council.