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Survey: More people cycling and taking Luas to work in Dublin

A survey by the Dublin Transport Authority showed that while public transport is still the preferred option, more people are travelling by bicycle and Luas across the ‘canal cordon’ area in Dublin than before.

The Luas in Dublin
The Luas in Dublin
Image: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland

MORE PEOPLE ARE travelling by bicycle in Dublin than in previous years, a new survey has shown.

The National Transport Authority carried out the survey, which focused on people crossing the Canal Cordon into Dublin’s city centre in the morning  between 7am and 10am.

The surveys were taken at 33 locations along the cordon and data came from a number of sources, including Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann and the Railway Procurement Agency, all of whom carry out an annual survey on a single day in November.

The survey showed that the number of people crossing the canal cordon by bus, rail, car, foot and motorcycle has decreased between 2006 and 2011. However, the number of people travelling by bike and Luas has increased.

In 2006, 9,029 people travelled by LUAS, whereas 9,949 travel by LUAS in 2011. Bus is by far the most popular form of public transport, with more than 50,000 people travelling by that mode every year. In 2006, 59,874 people travelled by bus, which dropped to 54,251 in 2011. However, that is an increase on 2010, when 50,420 travelled by bus.

When it came to cycling, 4,839 people travelled by bike in 2006, a figure which rose steadily and reached a peak of 6,870 in 2011. The number of people travelling by motorbike dropped from 2,395 to 1,485 in 2011, dropping every year.

Broken into percentages, nearly one-third (29.55 per cent) of people travel by bus, with 47.47 per cent travelling by public transport, compared to 37.96 per cent travelling by car. The next highest percentage is 12.49 per cent travelling by rail, followed by 7.93 per cent of people walking.

The total number of people entering the city centre over the canal cordon has dropped by 12 per cent between 2006 and 2010 (with a slight rise of 1.4 per cent in 2011). The NTO said this “reflects the general economic downturn and the resultant rise in unemployment”.

The report also stated the economic downturn is reflected in the drop in commercial vehicle traffic entering Dublin City Centre, which halved between 2006 and 2011. However, the majority of this reduction is attributable to the ban on heavy goods vehicles entering the City Centre introduced in 2007.

Despite the general drop in the number of people crossing the cordon in the morning peak time, the share of the total carried by public transport has only dipped slightly over the period 2006 to 2011, from 49.4 per cent to 47.47 per cent.

The NTA said that this overall performance of public transport hides two contributing factors:

  • Buses and trams have both increased mode share of total travel over the period 2006  – 2011, 28.87 per cent to 29.55 per cent and 4.35 per cent to 5.42 per cent respectively, but at the same time
  • Suburban rail has lost a significant share of travel into Dublin city centre (16.17 per cent to 12.49 per cent)

Despite significant suburban rail loss of mode share, the fact that overall public transport mode share has shown only a small decrease reflects the improvements in the attractiveness of bus and LUAS over the period.

The number of cyclists entering Dublin City has increased by a significant 42 per cent over the period 2006 to 2011, which reflects a number of measures introduced in the past six years to promote cycling in the city. This includes the Dublinbikes bike rental scheme, new cycle lanes, public awareness campaigns to promote cycling and the introduction of the 30kph city centre speed limit.

The number of pedestrians has decreased overall in the last six years – according to the NTA, his may reflect a transfer from walking to other modes such as cycling,  LUAS and bus.

The number of people travelling in taxis across the Canal Cordon has almost doubled over the past six years, which the NTA believes reflects the large increase in the availability of taxis in recent years.

Read: Rail journey times between cities could be slashed ‘by up to 30 minutes’>

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