■ Traffic on the way back to pre-Covid 19 levels:
People reluctant to return to public transport, according to new CSO figures
Traffic volumes for cars and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are returning to pre-Covid-19 levels, but people are slower to return to public transport as restrictions are lifted, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.
According to the CSO travel bulletin, published yesterday, the volume of cars on the roads was more than 70 per cent lower in the weeks when restrictions were most stringent (March 29th-May 2nd), when compared to the same period last year. As restrictions eased, car traffic volumes increased but not to 2019 levels.
Data for June 21st-27th shows car traffic volumes at regional sites and in Dublin almost one-third lower than for the same week in 2019.
The number of passenger journeys on public transport has dropped “dramatically” since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. The CSO said it was “worth noting” that the number of journeys taken on public transport was not recovering at the same rate as road traffic volumes.
In the week beginning March 1st, there were more than 5.5 million passenger journeys on public transport, compared to 1.7 million during the week of June 21st.
The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on HGVs was not as pronounced as for cars or public transport.
In the first three weeks of March, leading up to the severest restrictions, HGV traffic volumes in Dublin and in regional locations were higher than in 2019, although HGV traffic volume was decreasing in those weeks.
Between March 29th and May 9th, the volume of HGVs on Irish roads was 30 per cent lower when compared with the same period last year.
However, since May 24th, HGV traffic in Dublin has returned close to 2019 levels and the volume of HGV traffic measured in regional locations last week was just 2.3 per cent below 2019.
The year-on-year comparisons of HGV volumes in mid-April was affected by the timing of Easter, the bulletin added.
Meanwhile, the CSO report also acknowledged that the number of road fatalities between January and June was higher in 2020 than last year, up from 70 in 2019 to 73 this year.
The bulletin was compiled using traffic counter data from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the National Transport Authority and the Road Safety Authority.
A TII spokesman said traffic growth had been “pretty consistent” across the network since April.