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Number of car users increasing

Driving to work by car was the principal means of travel by Irish workers in 2002 according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

This information is contained in Census 2002 Volume 9 – Travel to Work, School and College, which gives further detailed results of the census conducted on 28 April 2002. The report gives the final population figures classified by means of travel to work, school and college, time of leaving home, time taken, distance travelled and the number of cars per household (see Editor’s note).

Of the 1.6 million workers in the State in April 2002, 887,000 (55%) drove to work - up from 46 per cent five years previously. When account is taken of workers who travelled to work as car passengers or as van/lorry drivers, 69 per cent of workers were private vehicle users in 2002. In Dublin City and its suburbs just over 47 per cent of workers drove to work.


Carrigaline had highest car usage

The town with the highest proportion of workers commuting to work by car was Carrigaline (74%), followed by Dunboyne (70%), Tramore (67%) and Naas (65%).

Train usage by workers was highest in Skerries (23%), Malahide (17%) and Balbriggan (16%).

While at a national level only 11.3 per cent of workers walked to their place of work, more than one quarter of workers did so in the following towns: Sligo , Westport and Ballina.


More young children being driven to school

At State level, one out of two primary schoolchildren was driven to school in 2002, compared with less than one in five in 1981. Walking was the main means of going to school in 1981 (47 %of primary schoolchildren) compared with 26 per cent according to the results of the most recent census.

The town with the highest percentage of school-children walking to school in 2002 was Shannon (62.4%), followed by Leixlip (61.1%), Ashbourne (59.1%) and Portmarnock (58.4%). Just over one in four primary schoolchildren living in rural areas travelled to school by bus, compared with less than 11 per cent of their urban counterparts.


Urban workers take longer to cover shorter distances to work

Workers travelled on average 9.8 miles from their homes to their workplaces in 2002, up from 6.7 miles six years earlier. Rural based workers travelled an average of 13.3 miles compared with 7.8 miles for workers living in urban areas. Rural based workers travelled almost three times as far to work in 2002 than they did in 1981.

The average journey time to work was 27 minutes in April 2002. Even though urban workers travelled shorter distances to their workplaces than workers living in rural areas, traffic congestion meant that they spent longer periods commuting (28 minutes compared with 26 minutes for rural workers).


Earlier start for male workers

More than 30 per cent of male workers leave home before 7.30 in the morning to start their journey to their place of work. Almost 40 per cent of female workers depart between 8 and 9 am, the time slot which accounts for 64 per cent of departing primary schoolchildren and 71 per cent of secondary students.


Increased car ownership

Over a million households had at least one car each in 2002 – an increase of 330,000 compared with 1991. Meath (88%), Fingal (87%) and Kildare (87%) had the highest proportions of households with at least one car. Only 58 per cent of the households in Dublin City had a car in 2002.


Editor’s note

The publication Census 2002 - Principal Socio-economic Results, released on 15 October 2003, contains a summary at State level of data from Volumes 5 - 7, 9 - 10 and 13 of the detailed census reports. The publication released today, Volume 9, provides figures for travel to work, school and college at a more detailed geographical level.

All published tables from Census 2002 are being made available on the CSO web site (Census 2002 Volume 9 - Travel to Work, School and College).


For copies of the publication contact:

Central Statistics Office, Information Section, Skehard Road, Cork
Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
Price: € 15.00
Copies can also be downloaded from the CSO website (see below).


For further information contact:

Central Statistics Office, Ardee Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
Census Inquiries (01) 498 4000 ext. 4284-4288.
Fax (01) 498 4268
Internet Census

19 February 2004

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