The number of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians travelling into Dublin city centre during the morning rush hour has decreased significantly from pre-pandemic levels with almost 40,000 fewer daily commuters last year, according to a new report.
The latest results of the annual Canal Cordon Report conducted by the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council reveal an 18 per cent reduction in all forms of transport used to commute into the city since 2019.
They include a 31 per cent drop in the number of pedestrians entering the city centre in 2022 as well as a 28 per cent decrease in cyclists compared with pre-pandemic levels.
The decrease was not confined to sustainable transport modes as there was also a 13 per cent reduction in use of private cars over the same period.
The report noted that there had been a shift in the traditional five-day working week patterns to hybrid and working-from-home patterns which emerged during the pandemic.
The survey, which was conducted last November, measures the transport modes used by inbound commuters at 33 locations around the cordon formed by the Royal Canal and Grand Canal during peak morning traffic between 7am and 10am.
It recorded a total of 177,243 people crossing the cordon in 2022 compared with 217, 223 in 2019, with 55 per cent of the total using public transport including Dart and Luas services – the highest percentage rate in 17 years.
The latest figures also show an expected increase across all transport modes following the removal of most Covid-19 restrictions in 2022 compared with the two previous years apart from goods vehicles.
Comparisons in the survey are mostly made with 2019 due to the large-scale restrictions on movement introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic that affected commuting levels in 2020 and 2021.
Separate figures published by the Central Statistics Office show that 30 per cent of employees in Dublin now usually work from home.
One of the most dramatic decreases in transport modes since pre-pandemic levels was found in relation to pedestrians, with 7,740 fewer people crossing the cordon in 2022 compared with 2019 – a decrease of 31 per cent.
A total of 16,951 pedestrians commuted into the city last year, which was the lowest annual total since 2011 excluding the years affected by the pandemic.
The report shows a steady growth in the number of people commuting into the city centre by bicycle since 2010 was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest figures show 9,486 cyclists crossed the canal cordon last year – almost 3,500 below the 2019 peak, representing a 28 per cent decrease.
The report shows the number of buses crossing the cordon has decreased by 11 per cent since 2019 to 1,642. However, it noted that the number of services operated by Dublin Bus had increased by 4 per cent over the period but there had been a 41 per cent drop in the number of buses run by Bus Éireann and private operators.
Figures show the number of cars crossing the cordon in 2022 was 40,207 – down over 6,000 since 2019 or 13 per cent. The number of cars entering the city during the morning rush hour has now declined by 32 per cent from a peak of almost 58,900 in 2008.
Separately, there was also a dramatic drop in the number of taxis crossing the cordon in 2022 – down 25 per cent or 1,055 vehicles to 3,327 – while the number of motorcycles was down 38 per cent to 928.
In terms of modal shifts, the latest figures show a greater proportion of commuters are using buses, private cars and taxis compared to pre-Covid levels, with fewer people using other forms of transport including walking and cycling.
The report said the NTA believes the Bus Connects project, increased rail capacity and the development of a network of cycle routes in Dublin will all help to increase numbers using sustainable transport modes.