Traffic on Irish roads plummets in wake Level 5 restrictions

New CSO figures also points to drop-off in bus and rail travel

Traffic on Irish roads is 45 per cent below normal since the introduction of tougher Level 5 restrictions after Christmas.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show car traffic volumes increased consistently since the beginning of November, gathering pace in the early weeks of December with the easing of restrictions.

However, the figures show they began to decline again during the Christmas holiday period and more so after Christmas when the Government reintroduced Level 5 restrictions in response to rising infection rates.

In the week beginning December 27th, car traffic volumes were 45.1 per cent lower in regional locations and 45.5 per cent lower in Dublin when compared with the same week in 2019.

“Obviously, this decline in road traffic volumes coincides with the holiday period and the return to Level 5 restrictions from December 24th,” the CSO said.

The number of journeys by bus and rail are 78.3 per cent lower than pre-Covid-19 levels.

The figures also highlight an increase of 3 per cent in the volume of cyclists in Dublin city during off-peak hours in December 2020 compared to December 2019.

HGV traffic volumes remain largely unaffected by the changes in restrictions.

For the last two weeks of December, HGV traffic volumes in regional locations were 12.2 per cent higher in regional locations and 12.4 per cent higher in Dublin locations when compared with the same period in 2019.

The CSO's Noreen Dorgan said: "The number of passenger journeys on public transport has dropped dramatically since the start of the Covid-19 crisis with journeys by rail most severely affected."

“Despite some recovery in the lead-up to Christmas, the holiday period and the return to Level 5 restrictions has seen public transport volumes fall back to just over one-fifth (21.7 per cent) of volumes seen in early March.