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The National Travel Survey (NTS) is a household survey on the travel behaviour of respondents. It was conducted as a module of the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in the fourth quarter (October – December) of 2016 and a similar module was included in the QNHS in the fourth quarter of 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The NTS results will be used to compile statistical indicators for journey purpose and modes of travel, which will help monitor the implementation of existing transport policy and will inform future transport initiatives. This report presents the results for 2016 with comparative analysis for 2013 and 2014.

The NTS was conducted by computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). All participants were aged 18 years and over. The questionnaire was designed by the Central Statistics Office in consultation with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS) and the National Transport Authority (NTA).

It is internationally accepted that the most comprehensive method to collect data on travel behaviour is to have respondents complete a seven day travel diary. However, to reduce respondent burden and increase response rates, many countries have adopted an alternative method of collecting data for a 24-hour period. This methodology was used for the collection of the NTS 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 data. To ensure that data was collected for all seven days of the week, each person participating in the NTS was assigned a selected ‘travel reference day’.  The travel reference day was a maximum of three days prior to the day on which the interview was conducted to ensure that recall was not compromised.

The NTS is one of the most comprehensive household studies of travel patterns ever to be conducted within the State. In 2016, detailed information on travel was collected from 11,027 respondents. These respondents provided information on 19,630 journeys. The information collected included the following:

• number of journeys made

• reason for making each journey

• mode of transport used

• the duration of each journey

• distance travelled

Only travel within the island of Ireland, made by residents of the State, was included in the survey. While the NTS collected information on work-related travel for most occupations, it excluded the business related travel of professional drivers (e.g. bus and taxi drivers) and other occupations where travel is integral to the role (e.g. postal delivery workers). It is important when interpreting the figures and comparing them to other data sources to note that the NTS journey purpose of 'work' includes both commuter and business travel.

All results on individual travel contained in this publication are grossed at the level of sex, five year age group and region to independently determined estimates of the population aged 18 years and over for the fourth quarter of 2016.

As all estimates from sample surveys are subject to a margin of error, the 2011 Census of Population travel to work, school and college dataset (Place Of Work, School or College Census of Anonymised Records - POWSCAR) should be used as the definitive source of data on travel to work, school and college. It is also worth noting that the results contained in this publication are based on travel patterns for a particular quarter, which may not be fully representative of the year as a whole. Therefore, particular care should be taken when interpreting the results, especially if extrapolating them to annualised results. For further guidelines on using the NTS data, please refer to Background Notes.


For further information contact:

Maureen Delamere (+353) 21 453 5081

Anne McGrath (+353) 21 453 5487





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