Rush hour car use continues to decline in central Dublin — cycling, walking, bus use up

Commuters using cars are now far outnumbered by sustainable transport users in Dublin City Centre, with bus use alone now matching car use.

The new data is according to the 2017 Canal Corden Count, morning rush hour traffic count taken yearly in November at entry points into the city centre.

Just over 50% of commuters entering the city centre are using public transport, while 11.8% walk across the counting points and 5.9% cycle.

The count shows that the number of car users has now dropped to under 30% of those counted amounting to 61,694 commuters.

The number of car users, which includes an estimate of drivers and passengers combined, has decreased 15,156 people in 10 years and down 27,812 since 1997, according to historic data. At the same time the number of commuters overall across all modes combined has increased from 180,000 in 1997 to nearly 211,500 commuters.

The “canal cordon” is actually a ring mainly using the Grand Canal, a section of the South Circular Road, half of the North Circular Road and the Royal Canal east of Mountjoy.

Commuters who start their trips within the canal cordon are not counted but the Census shows that walking and cycling are relatively high in many of these areas. The count also excludes those using the vast majority of DublinBikes stations and rail commuters who cycle from central train stations.

On cycling the report states: “The upward trend of cyclists crossing the canal continued between 2016 -2017 with numbers increasing by 3%. There has been a steady year on year growth in the number of cyclists crossing the cordon since 2010. In 2017 almost 12,500 cyclists crossed the cordon in the AM peak period. This represents an increase of 157% when compared with 2006, and represents an increase of over 57% in the last five years.”

Owen Keegan, the city manager of Dublin City Council, said: “Dublin City Council very much welcomes the fact that in 2017 more people than ever before crossed across the Canal cordon in the Morning Peak, the total numbers now recorded exceed the previous high recorded in 2006.”

He added: “Considering that this was achieved against a background of Luas Cross City construction, it shows the commitment of DCC and the NTA to multi-modal travel and particularly the incredible value of the additional bus priority measures in the City Centre implemented on the north and South Quays and the resultant reduction in journey times for bus users.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

7 Comments

  1. So, good news for cycling and for city centre business, because more people (in stead of cars) are entering. Are LUAS figures including the Luas Cross City influence or is the count date before December 2017?

  2. It’s after Luas works took space and time away from car commuters and after the related bus priority message on the quays.

    But it was before Luas Cross Ciry entered into service, so, this has likely lowered car capacity again while increasing people-carrying capacity.

  3. Where can we get info on the specific counts at specific locations? I’m going to try and do a count at Portobello Bridge in the next 2 weeks. I suspect numbers on bikes are higher in May/June than November.

  4. It’s worth noting that the weather in November is probably the least cycle friendly. We can all see the numbers cycling increases significantly when the clocks change in March, and continues to grow into the Summer. The number of cyclists in May is probably double the number in November.

    Also interesting to see the number cycling is greater than the number on the Luas, for the first time. This was achieved at a tiny fraction of the investment cost. The Luas count will increase next year with commuters coming from DNS, but the cost of the extra capacity was €368m! Imagine what could be achieved with 10% invested in cycling infrastructure. Cycling is definitely better value for money.

  5. How does it take so long to publish the data?

  6. So cars are only transporting 30% of the people, yet when I am walking I seem to spend a disproportionate amount of my time waiting patiently at pedestrian light while a queue of cars files slowly past.

    I also hope this challenges the frequently trotted out idea that nothing can be done which in any way restricts car drivers until alternate means of transport are good enough. if 70% of people can manage to access the city centre without their cars then I think the alternative means are good enough already.

  7. Conor Faughnan on Matt Cooper dropped his reasonable observer schtick and somehow managed to initially praise this news as being positive before going on to take a swipe at our “pathetic” public transport provision that only allows a little over 50% of people to use it while the poor put-upon motorist is “attacked” by council projects designed to have them treated as pariahs for driving and to eradicate them from the streets.
    Funny how any signs progress always tends to be greeted an even more aggressive response from the motoring lobby after the usual lip service has been paid.

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