■ Traf­fic on the way back to pre-Covid 19 lev­els:

Peo­ple re­luc­tant to re­turn to pub­lic trans­port, ac­cord­ing to new CSO fig­ures

The Irish Times - - Front Page - SHAUNA BOW­ERS and TIM O’BRIEN

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.

Road fa­tal­i­ties

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.

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