All Irish cities see an increase in cycling despite large increase in work-from-home

— Over 7,110 extra people cycling as their main mode of transport in Dublin City and Suburbs.

Despite the level of working from home when Census 2022 was taken at the start of April last year, both the number of people cycling and the modal share of cycling have increased in all Irish cities and their continuous suburbs since 2016.

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According to the CSO there was a large increase recorded in the number of people who work mainly at or from home, up 173% to nearly 260,000 between 2016 and 2022.

As with all Census data, the usual limitations apply — the Census only captures people’s main mode of commuting to work or education. It does not include people who for example mainly drive or take the bus or mainly work-from-home but cycle the odd day. It also does not count any non-commuting trips, including for shopping or leisure.

The highest percentage increase was in the Fingal County Council area at 37%, while the lowest increase was in the Galway City and Suburbs area with a 5.7% difference.

But it should also be noted that lower percentage increases are expected in areas where there’s already a higher number of cyclists. The areas with already higher levels of cycling could include Galway, Dublin City, and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown — in this case, Dún Laoghaire has outperformed Galway by a longshot, but it’s hard to account for Dublin City being at a notably larger modal share.

Cork City underwent a boundary change between the two years and the data and mapped area available are not comparable.

All the data used in the article excludes the ‘no stated’ and ‘work from home’ numbers as shown in the graphs below, as the former cannot be determined and the latter is not commuting.

It should be further noted that the post-Covid patterns have changed further since early 2022, including public transport numbers in Dublin confirmed in recent weeks as exceeding pre-Covid levels. The Census is — as it always is — a snapshot in time.

Dublin City and Suburbs

Total commuters to work or education: 736,153 (770,240) Percentage cycling: 8.3% (7.1%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Dublin City and Suburbs increased from 54,009 in 2016 to 61,125 in 2022. Which amounts to a 13% increase between censuses.

Dublin City

Total commuters to work or education: 324,912 (325,366) Percentage cycling: 11.4% (10%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Dublin City increased from 34,501 in 2016 to 37,063 in 2022. Which amounts to a 7.4% increase between censuses.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

Total commuters to work or education: 140,381 (136,344) Percentage cycling: 7.9% (6.6%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council increased from 9,017 in 2016 to 11,135 in 2022. Which amounts to a 23.5% increase between censuses.

Fingal

Total commuters to work or education: 207,666 (189,910) Percentage cycling: 3.7% (3%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Fingal County Council area increased from 5,604 in 2016 to 7,686 in 2022. Which amounts to a 37% increase between censuses.

South Dublin

Total commuters to work or education: 185,591 (172,645) Percentage cycling: 4.6% (4%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in South Dublin County Council area increased from 6,899 in 2016 to 8,503 in 2022. Which amounts to a 23.2% increase between censuses.

Cork City and Suburbs

Total commuters to work or education: 185,591 (NA) Percentage cycling: 1.9% (NA)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Cork City and Suburbs in 2022 was 3,525.

Previously Cork City has 4% modal share but between the 2016 and 2022 cencues, Cork City Council’s boundary massively expanded to include towns and rural areas around the city. This clearly cannot be compared with the new area. Also, with the mapping and other tools currently available the changes in the old area cannot be looked at.

Limerick City and Suburbs

Total commuters to work or education: 55,061 (53,587) Percentage cycling: 3.3% (3%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Limerick City increased from 1,620 in 2016 to 1,807 in 2022. Which amounts to a 11.5% increase between censuses.

Galway City and Suburbs

Total commuters to work or education: 49,981 (48,579) Percentage cycling: 6.2% (6%)

The number of people cycling as their main mode of transport in Galway City has increased from 2,961 to 3,131 in 2022. Which amounts to a 5.7% increase between censuses.

Waterford City

Total commuters to work or education: 33,717 (30,151) Percentage cycling: 2% (1.7%)

The number of commuters who mainly cycle in Waterford increased from 520 in 2016 to 685 in 2022. Which amounts to a 32% increase between censuses.

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