Traffic levels dropped 70% in lockdown, according to CSO

The volume of car traffic on Irish roads plummeted by 70% during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Traffic levels dropped 70% in lockdown, according to CSO
Data shows that traffic levels plummeted during the peak of the pandemic here. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Data shows that traffic levels plummeted during the peak of the pandemic here. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The volume of car traffic on Irish roads plummeted by 70% during the Covid-19 lockdown.

A new transport bulletin from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) captures the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on traffic volumes and the number of journeys taken on public transport.

It was compiled using data collected by the Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Road Safety Authority and the National Transport Authority.

The data reveals that, while the number of cars and trucks on the road are approaching pre-Covid levels, people have been slower in returning to public transport.

The number of passenger journeys on public transport fell by more than 10-fold from in excess of 5.6m in the first week of March to just over 514,000 in the week commencing April 12.

Passenger journeys are now at 30% of the levels of early March before lockdown restrictions came into force.

The data shows that Covid-19 restrictions had a significant impact on the volumes of cars and heavy goods vehicles on Irish roads.

Traffic counter data collected from various sites across the country shows that car volumes fell dramatically between March 29 and May 9 when compared to the same period in 2019.

However, the number of road fatalities from January to June was higher in 2020 than it was for the same period in 2019 - rising from 70 to 73.

In the week beginning June 21, as restrictions have started to lift, car volumes have recovered to just 30% below the equivalent week in 2019.

The volume of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) recorded at selected Dublin sites dropped by 29% or more for six of the seven weeks between March 29 and May 16.

However, from June 21 the volume of HGVs has recovered and is now slightly higher than the same period last year and just 2.6% lower for regional sites.

Overall, the data shows that the effect of Covid-19 restrictions on traffic volumes in Dublin was very similar to the effect in regional locations.

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