Car remains transport king but walking hot on its heels

75 per cent of travellers preferred to make their journey by private car

Travelling by car remains the dominant choice of transport for Irish people rather than using public transport, a new report shows.

The report showed 75 per cent of travellers preferred to make their journey by private car in 2013, an increase of 1.2 per cent since 2011.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue said the increasing use of private cars for journeys was "unsustainable".

“The private car is still the mode of transport favoured by the majority of the travelling public. This becomes even more unsustainable as traffic volumes increase, our roads get busier and the congestion and environmental impacts are realised,” he said.


Mr Donohoe said the need for investment was "now was greater than ever". As a result of increased car journeys, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork are seeing increased congestion.

Almost half of the journeys taken by car were less than 2km in 2013 and 72 per cent of the journeys are between 2-4km in distance.

The next most popular mode of transport is walking; the report found that 15 per cent of journeys were on foot in 2013. Bus trips account 3.8 per cent of total trips, rail and Luas 1.5 per cent and cycling 1.3 per cent.

Walking decreased its share of all journeys between 2009-2013 at 0.6 per cent while the number of people cycling as a percentage of overall trips rose slightly (0.3 per cent) over the same period.

Work accounted for 25 per cent of the reason for taking journeys, 25 per cent were for shopping, food and drink, 20 per cent for socialising and 30 per cent for other purposes.

The figures showed more people outside of the capital relied on their cars for travel at 77 per cent compared to 61 per cent in Dublin.

The report also showed Irish car ownership is below the European average at 425 cars per 1000 people.

The largest ports for 2013 for freight activity were Dublin, Shannon Foynes, Cork, Rosslare Bantry Bay and Waterford. Dublin remains Ireland's primary airport handing more than 20 million passengers in 2013. Cork and Shannon airport had more than one million travellers in the same year.

More people were using the Dublin bus in 2014 ,up by 3 per cent to 118.6 million from 115.2 million in 2012 and Bus Éireann numbers have also grown from 2012. There are 2,422 buses in operation for licensed services in the State- Dublin Bus’s fleet is 928 and Bus Éireann at 637.

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is an Irish Times journalist