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Road Traffic Volumes

Road Traffic Volumes

In 2021, Irish licensed vehicles travelled a total 41.9 billion kilometres

Online ISSN: 2009-5643
CSO statistical publication, , 11am
COVID-19 Release Information

This publication has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this publication reflect some of the impacts of the COVID-19 situation.

Main results

  • Road traffic volumes have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, Irish licensed vehicles travelled a total 41.9 billion kilometres, compared with 36.2 billion kilometres in 2020 and 47.1 billion in 2019.
  • Each vehicle travelled, on average, 14,434 kilometres in 2021, a decrease of 14% compared with 2019 (pre COVID-19 pandemic).

Note: The data are estimates created by combining different data sources. Differential traffic patterns caused by COVID-19 may have affected the assumptions from which estimates for this time period are derived. More information on the methodology can be found in the Background Notes.

Figure 5.1 shows the average vehicles kilometres travelled by vehicle type in 2021.

Figure 5.1: Average vehicle kilometres by vehicle type, 2021

Private cars accounted for over 78% of the total number of licensed vehicles and 72% of the total distance travelled in 2021. On average, each private car travelled 13,436 kilometres in 2021, a decrease of 18% compared with 2019 (pre COVID-19 pandemic).

Figure 5.2: Average vehicle kilometres for private cars, 2019-2021

The average annual vehicle kilometres travelled was higher for diesel cars compared to petrol cars.

Table 5.1 Road traffic volumes of national fleet by vehicle type and type of fuel, 2021
 PetrolDieselOther Total
Vehicle typeVehicleskm (million)Average km Vehicleskm (million)Average km Vehicleskm (million)Average km Vehicleskm (million)Average km
Private cars830,5978,0769,723 1,300,12220,81816,012 118,1971,32211,185 2,248,91630,21613,436
Goods vehicles6881217,189 379,6908,76923,096 17673117,469 382,1448,81223,059
Motorcycles45,6111102,418 9802,806 14302,908 45,8531112,421
Tractors and machinery390411,327 86,0491,24814,506 3008,270 86,4691,25314,489
Small PSVs8361820,950 14,49836625,239 2,7747828,041 18,10846125,470
Large PSVs5020,002 10,53425624,301 101442,275 10,63926024,469
Exempt vehicles5,7756310,971 22,14829113,158 2,0112612,878 29,93338112,717
Other vehicles26,732853,187 52,4612985,685 14914,232 79,3423844,841
Total910,6348,3699,190 1,865,60032,04717,178 125,1711,46211,681 2,901,40441,87814,434
Source: CSO
1 Vehicle population represents annual average for each year
2 The totals on this table may vary slightly due to rounding
3 Vehicle kilometre estimates and average kilometre estimates for motorcycles, tractors and machinery maybe unreliable as minimal odometer data is available for these categories of vehicles
4 Vehicle kilometre estimates and average kilometre estimates for private cars less than four years old are based on the extrapolated trends of older private cars (private cars less than 4 years are not subject to the NCT)

Goods vehicle traffic volumes in 2021 have exceeded 2019 volumes as traffic for goods vehicles was less impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. On average, each goods vehicle travelled 23,059 kilometres in 2021, an increase of 4% compared with 2019.

Figure 5.3: Average vehicle kilometres for goods vehicles, 2019-2021

Additional data

More detailed statistics on Road Traffic Volumes can be found under “Data”.