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Transport Bulletin

01 March 2020 to 02 January 2021

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Transport Bulletin Series 9

Information on transport indicators during the COVID-19 period

Key findings

  • Latest traffic counter data shows that the volume of cars on Irish roads increased consistently in the three weeks before Christmas but dropped off dramatically in the week commencing 27 December
  • Car traffic volumes in the week commencing 20 December were just 13% lower in Dublin, and 13.8% lower in regional locations, compared to the same week last year
  • Car volumes for the week commencing 27 December were 45.5% lower in Dublin and 45.1% lower in regional locations than the same week in 2019
  • The volume of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) on Irish roads in the week commencing 20 December 2020 was 33.1% higher in Dublin and 34.5% higher in regional locations than the comparable week last year
  • There were eight more fatalities on Irish roads in 2020, an increase of 5.7%, compared with 2019
  • The volume of petrol fuel excise clearances in the first eleven months of 2020 was 27.0% lower than January to November 2019
  • The number of journeys taken by bus and rail, following the return to Level 5 restrictions on 24 December, is now 21.7% of the journeys taken at the start of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Increase of 3.0% in the volume of cyclists in Dublin city during off-peak hours in December 2020 compared to December 2019
  • There was a 12.4% decrease in the number of new private cars licensed in November compared with the same month last year
  • COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on airport passenger numbers

Road Traffic Volumes

Source: Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Following the lifting of Level 5 restrictions in early December, car traffic volumes while still lower than last year grew in the first weeks of December. There was an increase of 8.9% in week beginning 6 December compared with previous week in Dublin sites. Regional sites also showed an increase of 9.3% in car traffic volumes in the same period. While there was a decrease in car traffic volumes in the week commencing 20 December compared with the previous week in both Dublin and regional sites of 15.4% and 14.6% respectively, overall traffic volumes were just 13% lower than the comparable week last year. However, the latest data available for the week commencing 27 December indicates that traffic volumes at the selected Dublin sites were down by 39.6% on the previous week, and volumes were 45.5% lower than the corresponding week in 2019.

The data, which is illustrated in figures 1 and 2, shows the impact of COVID-19 on traffic volumes since the beginning of March. In the weeks when restrictions were most stringent (from 29 March to 2 May) the volume of cars on the roads was more than 70% lower than in 2019. The volume of private cars for the week commencing 27 December was 45.1% lower in regional locations than the corresponding week in 2019. See table 1 and figure 1.

Table 2 and figures 3 and 4 provide an insight into HGV traffic volumes. The impact in HGV traffic due to COVID-19 restrictions has not been as pronounced as for cars. 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. Over the course of April and May, Dublin saw a greater decrease in HGV traffic than the selected regional locations. The year-on-year comparisons of HGV volumes for the weeks commencing 12 and 19 April 2020 are both affected by the timing of Easter (21 April 2019 and 12 April 2020).

HGV traffic volumes in 2020 have exceeded 2019 volumes since 21 June in Dublin and for 23 of the 28 weeks since 21 June in the case of the regions. Following the lifting of Level 5 restrictions in early December, HGV traffic volumes for week commencing 6 December were 11.9% higher in Dublin and 8.8% higher in regional sites compared with the same period last year. The volume of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) on Irish roads in the week commencing 20 December 2020 was 33.1% higher in Dublin and 34.5% higher in regional locations than the comparable week in 2019.

X-axis label20192020
01-Mar566875564047
08-Mar571127508750
15-Mar529787333658
22-Mar582231274879
29-Mar586954142579
05-Apr583726137812
12-Apr587824131479
19-Apr543564155289
26-Apr580888159124
03-May560744166742
10-May593643197908
17-May596373256576
24-May602191285690
31-May566180284275
07-Jun591983356707
14-Jun598739393315
21-Jun595749414166
28-Jun596223441264
05-Jul588187458565
12-Jul587682469970
19-Jul584826475946
26-Jul589395478502
02-Aug558483466785
09-Aug586713464072
16-Aug592552458005
23-Aug600065465282
30-Aug584258474074
06-Sep589759474191
13-Sep590510469427
20-Sep586499418614
27-Sep576446424329
04-Oct585985391286
11-Oct583358380571
18-Oct583354354488
25-Oct565614275461
01-Nov569756331666
08-Nov578926344156
15-Nov577454352537
22-Nov573399362781
29-Nov583011412816
06-Dec581846449582
13-Dec587133478034
20-Dec464436404216
27-Dec447753244013
X-axis label20192020
01-Mar183536190841
08-Mar186325169578
15-Mar177464104224
22-Mar19158189044
29-Mar19365047120
05-Apr19315045754
12-Apr19316342924
19-Apr18848650543
26-Apr19291752611
03-May19012953634
10-May19599464763
17-May19684984340
24-May20160492978
31-May19069392538
07-Jun194947115419
14-Jun198237126622
21-Jun194043134399
28-Jun196666151991
05-Jul198875160634
12-Jul197912165950
19-Jul195551170096
26-Jul206284174155
02-Aug195066170392
09-Aug202747169402
16-Aug205022164493
23-Aug205840167927
30-Aug196702165900
06-Sep198926166383
13-Sep205020168257
20-Sep196499158499
27-Sep193209156046
04-Oct195370140481
11-Oct195518131301
18-Oct193632117735
25-Oct19673687705
01-Nov191900107174
08-Nov195208111474
15-Nov194885114970
22-Nov196257118758
29-Nov199182137358
06-Dec194398150137
13-Dec194628159431
20-Dec157929136158
27-Dec15575985516
Show Table: Table 1 Average weekly volume of cars for selected traffic count sites, 01 March to 02 January

X-axis label20192020
01-Mar4286246280
08-Mar4268947238
15-Mar3707440529
22-Mar4361244610
29-Mar4333028171
05-Apr4299526082
12-Apr4284723169
19-Apr3332927371
26-Apr4218528749
03-May3680826011
10-May4263430078
17-May4299938816
24-May4256341786
31-May3788537984
07-Jun4423943693
14-Jun4398543908
21-Jun4381143935
28-Jun4342045046
05-Jul4280944793
12-Jul4255244045
19-Jul4182044327
26-Jul4110043546
02-Aug3690038057
09-Aug4277943806
16-Aug4278543223
23-Aug4330243973
30-Aug4412944756
06-Sep4470845049
13-Sep4482146268
20-Sep4528445927
27-Sep4435246515
04-Oct4456945840
11-Oct4468546572
18-Oct4566147100
25-Oct3969641301
01-Nov4345746944
08-Nov4373846805
15-Nov4309947225
22-Nov4318448012
29-Nov4415848691
06-Dec4405549309
13-Dec4548449575
20-Dec1979726355
27-Dec1789416024
X-axis label20192020
01-Mar1524915620
08-Mar1524415932
15-Mar1343813952
22-Mar1601515219
29-Mar1581311225
05-Apr1582810787
12-Apr155819405
19-Apr1278911166
26-Apr1559611470
03-May1385410386
10-May1589112054
17-May1558913604
24-May1568214221
31-May1393512980
07-Jun1594615144
14-Jun1581415313
21-Jun1494415366
28-Jun1537115469
05-Jul1556615749
12-Jul1544115912
19-Jul1524315924
26-Jul1536515417
02-Aug1342213392
09-Aug1523215502
16-Aug1519815128
23-Aug1532115430
30-Aug1529415376
06-Sep1539115992
13-Sep1512515974
20-Sep1519915691
27-Sep1532515909
04-Oct1542616038
11-Oct1539916179
18-Oct1570516149
25-Oct1364413909
01-Nov1531916060
08-Nov1571716209
15-Nov1534916267
22-Nov1545016211
29-Nov1616416909
06-Dec1601317419
13-Dec1615817333
20-Dec71519621
27-Dec65445742
Show Table: Table 2 Average weekly volume of heavy goods vehicles for selected traffic count sites, 01 March to 02 January

Fuel excise clearances

Source: Office of the Revenue Commissioners

The Revenue Commissioners collect statistics on the volumes of fuel clearances covered by excise taxes. Clearances reflect the excise duties paid on oil removed from tax warehouses. Clearances data provide a proxy for sales and the associated level of consumption but do not reflect actual consumption per se. 

Excise clearances of unleaded petrol were 37.7% lower in November 2020 compared with November 2019 (see Figure 5). The figure for unleaded petrol of 53 million litres was the lowest excise clearance figure for the month of November in the 2000-2020 series reflecting: the impact of Covid-19; a change in the fuel type composition of licensed vehicles, and the move towards hybrid and electric vehicles.

The volume of excise clearances of autodiesel was 16.9% lower in November 2020 compared with November 2019 (see Figure 5). The cumulative total for autodiesel volumes for January to November 2020 was 14.9% lower than the equivalent period for 2019. See full release Fuel excise clearances November 2020.

AutodieselPetrol
January1.9-5.4
February5.3-1.7
March-8.9-22
April-55.3-72
May-39-49.5
June-16.8-33.3
July-5.9-15.6
August-8.1-15.1
September-2.7-10.7
October-13.2-28.7
November-16.9-37.7
Show Table: Table 3 Monthly excise clearances of autodiesel and unleaded petrol (million litres), January to November

Vehicles Licensed

Source: Department of Transport

In the first eleven months of this year, the number of new cars licensed was 83,277, a drop of 26.0% (29,299) when compared with the same period in 2019. The number of new hybrid and new electric cars licensed between January and November grew by 1,712 (15.8%) and 542 (16.4%) respectively despite an overall drop in new cars licensed for the period. There was an annual decrease of 12.4% in the number of new cars licensed in the month of November. See full release Vehicles licensed for the first time November 2020.

20192020
January2227920665
February1417813263
March1440410239
April137941338
May91261490
June38582189
July1874115329
August72027360
September41045747
October32144189
November16761468
Show Table: Table 4 Number of private cars licensed for the first time, January to November

Road Fatalities

Source: Road Safety Authority

There were 148 road fatalities in 2020, an increase of 5.7% compared with 140 in 2019. Note: data is provisional.

Show Table: Table 5 Number of road fatalities per month, January to December

Public Transport Volumes

Source: National Transport Authority

The number of passenger journeys on public transport has dropped dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 crisis and has fluctuated predictably with the recent changes in restrictions. Data relating to bus and rail journeys is presented in table 6 and figure 7.

The use of bus and rail services had fallen significantly since the introduction of Level 5 restrictions in Ireland on 22 October. However, there were consistent increases in passenger journeys across all public transport modes in the weeks leading up to Christmas following the easing of restrictions. The total number of bus and rail journeys taken during the week commencing 06 December was slightly over half (51.6%) of that taken in early March. The number of bus journeys outside of Dublin in the same week was 57.7% of pre COVID-19 levels. The corresponding level for bus journeys within Dublin is 54.1%. However, in the week immediately before Christmas and following the return to Level 5 restrictions from 24 December public transport passenger journeys have fallen once more. The latest data shows that for week commencing 27 December, the total number of rail and bus journeys is 21.7% of that taken in early March. The corresponding figure for bus journeys outside of Dublin is 23.2%

The data indicates that rail was the mode of transport that was most severely hit since the onset of the crisis. In the week commencing 05 April the number of journeys undertaken was 97.2% lower than it was in the first week of March of this year. The latest available data, for the week 27 December - 2 January, shows that the number of journeys by rail was 87.3% lower than pre COVID-19 levels. Rail data includes passenger journeys on Intercity and DART services. 

Data on Luas journeys taken is presented in table 7 and illustrated in figure 8. The data indicates that the impact of COVID-19 on the Luas red and green lines, while very similar, has been slightly greater on the green line. Data for week beginning 28 December shows that there were 76.5% fewer journeys taken on the green and red lines than in the corresponding week in 2019.

It is worth noting that the number of journeys taken on public transport is not recovering at the same rate as road traffic volumes. Rail continues to be the most severely affected mode of public transport.

X-axis labelDublin Metro BusBus excluding DublinRail
01-Mar3118388759099856295
08-Mar2558064608088912353
15-Mar889683202304658934
22-Mar62620114997697413
29-Mar3625518540526427
05-Apr3787059223724019
12-Apr3545528425626808
19-Apr40871510025532728
26-Apr42639510579935270
03-May45154710906637642
10-May49689812204943357
17-May61376414646265923
24-May72808016915895072
31-May726144170657103530
07-Jun861573216191130802
14-Jun1001001248019170729
21-Jun1052931258414200664
28-Jun1191210300688244513
05-Jul1289296336563261970
12-Jul1313755343314275425
19-Jul1345114359881289544
26-Jul1386355367623303230
02-Aug1343514355596322643
09-Aug1411115385771303273
16-Aug1362931353142257459
23-Aug1436786387797279886
30-Aug1580513419330333834
06-Sep1630993428665333173
13-Sep1618445432162345327
20-Sep1502915437676286524
27-Sep1533592442461297248
04-Oct1515680406840267040
11-Oct1537559383087265885
18-Oct1346619330082214392
25-Oct876747206039113250
01-Nov1148715286110184547
08-Nov1171793290151175989
15-Nov1200377300783191122
22-Nov1239144307185198651
29-Nov1531864394477277354
06-Dec1686019438256316210
13-Dec1725502437984330387
20-Dec1145902286827188230
27-Dec740525176137108780
Show Table: Table 6 Passenger journeys by public transport, 01 March to 02 January

X-axis label20192020
02-Mar941919914613
09-Mar924998684508
16-Mar868205172062
23-Mar1003871109378
30-Mar93357551655
06-Apr94566251695
13-Apr84218649393
20-Apr80129655246
27-Apr91925553321
04-May81793362327
11-May90498370288
18-May90241597318
25-May973025121645
01-Jun826269116454
08-Jun925516162187
15-Jun883208198036
22-Jun905636212109
29-Jun982288260302
06-Jul919158272181
13-Jul903958281255
20-Jul926491299837
27-Jul832452329980
03-Aug807393324687
10-Aug868677327981
17-Aug862939332762
24-Aug897355352046
31-Aug933362364177
07-Sep969818385884
14-Sep990123359756
21-Sep1031937322384
28-Sep986159334649
05-Oct1054749350028
12-Oct1014017338183
19-Oct1028522283638
26-Oct924586186287
02-Nov1019705227605
09-Nov1038825237979
16-Nov1062275244276
23-Nov1113668259772
30-Nov1080791394613
07-Dec1151098443719
14-Dec1173473460029
21-Dec538511276844
28-Dec602998141651
Show Table: Table 7 Passenger journeys by Luas per week

Bicycle Counter Data

Source: Dublin City Council

Dublin City Council operate cycle counters at five locations across the city to aid traffic planning and gauge demand for cycling. The cycle counter automatically counts cyclists passing in both directions and relays information to Dublin City Council’s traffic control centre. Data from these counters is presented in table 8.

The data for peak hours shows a different pattern to that of the off-peak data. The volume of cyclists on weekdays between 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm decreased significantly when restrictions were most stringent. In April 2020 there was a drop of 75.6% in the volume of cyclists measured. Volumes are recovering slowly but data for December shows that volumes remain 44.9% lower than the same month last year.

The volume of cyclists during off-peak hours has remained close to or exceeded 2019 levels with the exception of the month of April, when there was a 40.1% drop compared to April 2019. Volumes for December were 3.0% higher than in the same month in 2019.

2019 Peak2020 Peak2019 Off-Peak2020 Off-Peak
March115310774248934969526
April119395291329001253875
May13846444703104042109746
June1137885737598131107804
July14619064701113917109296
August13114759803106829117408
September14026278388108352115860
October14133365151102779103662
November121607577029184593118
December84714466527683979108
Show Table: Table 8 Monthly volume of bicycles at selected Dublin sites

Aviation data

Source: Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry airports.

Air passenger data shows a dramatic fall in passengers handled by Irish airports due to COVID-19 restrictions. Data on airport passengers is presented in table 9 and illustrated in figure 10. The number of passengers travelling through Dublin, Cork and Shannon and Knock airports in the first eleven months of 2020 is 77.4% lower than the same period last year.

The total number of passengers handled by those airports in November 2020 fell from 2,516,035 to 174,766, a drop of 93.1% when compared with the same period in 2019.  Data for Kerry and Knock airports was not available at the time of publication. 

DublinCorkShannon
Percentage change-77.0-78.6-82.1
Show Table: Table 9 Number of passengers handled by main airports, January to November 2019 and 2020

For further COVID-19 related information go to the CSO COVID-19 Information Hub

Further Information

Contact
E-mail: transport@cso.ie
Noreen Dorgan
021 4535260
Kieran Riordan
021 4535320