Covid-19: Car numbers fall again – but not as far as first lockdown

Limerick’s Southern Ring Road sees this lockdown’s sharpest drop in car figures

The number of cars on the State’s main roads has dropped significantly since the recent move to a Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. File photograph: The Irish Times

The number of cars on the State’s main roads has dropped significantly since the recent move to a Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

The number of cars on the State’s main roads has dropped significantly since the recent move to a Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions, but the decline in is not as sharp as that seen during the first lockdown last year.

When the restrictions were first imposed on March 27th, the number of cars on the main roads initially fell by up to 70 per cent.

Volumes recovered somewhat later in the year, to within about 15 to 20 per cent of the typical figures for 2019.

Since the move to Level 5 around Christmas the highest drop in car traffic, measured on Monday, was on the M7 Limerick Southern Ring Road.

Volume were 57 per cent below the numbers for the same day last year at 10am, according to vehicle counters monitored by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Car traffic on the M50, between Junction 6 (Galway) and Junction 7 (Blanchardstown) was down 40 per cent on last year; numbers on the M1 between Dublin Airport and Swords were down 42 per cent; volumes on the M11 at Bray, Co Wicklow, were down 52 per cent on last year; and traffic on the M4 between Celbridge and Maynooth was down 33 per cent.

TII said car traffic just south of the North Border on the N1 at Jonesboro showed a decrease of 39 per cent on Monday when compared to a similar date last year.

In the case of the non-motorway Border counter sites, changes in traffic volumes since the move to Level 5 range from being down 48 per cent on the N16 east of Manorhamilton to being down 29 per cent on the N13 on the Donegal-Derry border. The figures for these roads come with a caveat, however, as TII says traffic numbers are relatively small and can fluctuate.

In the case of the regional cities, the changes in car traffic volumes when compared with the start of Level 3 restrictions on October 5th were down by 29 per cent on the N6 Bóthar na dTreabh in Galway, down 42 per cent on the N40 in Cork and down 36 per cent on the M9 in Waterford.

Lorry traffic has remained fairly stable since since before the first lockdown as supply chains are considered an essential service.

TII operates a network of more than 350 traffic counters and sensors across the national road network as well as barriers and camera-based sensors at toll plazas, the M50 Eflow site and the Dublin Port Tunnel. These traffic counters provide an overview of traffic movements across the national road network.