Time lost in Dublin traffic costs economy €350m per year

Annual cost of ‘aggravated congestion’ in capital set to rise to €2bn by 2033, says Ross

Aggravated traffic congestion is costing €350m per year. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Aggravated traffic congestion is costing €350m per year. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin


Time lost due to aggravated traffic congestion in the greater Dublin area is costing the economy €350 million per year with the amount set to rise to €2 billion by 2033.

Aggravated congestion occurs when the number of vehicles on a part of the network is higher than the network can handle and the point at which serious traffic delays arise.

The Department of Transport’s Economic and Financial Evaluation Unit has undertaken a research project to estimate the cost of aggravated congestion across Ireland’s transport system.

The first phase of the project, which is currently being finalised, estimated the annual value of time lost to road users due to aggravated congestion in the greater Dublin area.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said a final project report will be published on the Department’s website in the coming weeks.

“However, I understand that the analysis undertaken for the report estimates that the cost of time lost due to aggravated congestion in the greater Dublin area is currently €350 million per annum and is forecasted to rise to €2 billion per annum in 2033,” Mr Ross told Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart.

“This work is an important consideration in formulating my overall approach to tackling congestion in the short to medium term and forms a key part of the case for increased public transport investment, as part of the mid-term review of the Government’s capital plan in 2017.”

The project has been carried out in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA), Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Dublin City Council.

It uses data from a number of sources to estimate activity on the network including census travel to work data, NTA surveys, car ownership data and CSO small area population statistics.

Mr Ross previously rejected a recommendation from the NTA that extra tolls be placed on the M50 to curb rising congestion on the route.

In a report published last year on the transport infrastructure needs for the capital until 2035, the NTA said limiting the number of vehicles using the key orbital route was necessary “to ensure its strategic traffic function was maintained”.

Chief among these “demand-management measures” was a series of additional tolling points on the M50. However, Mr Ross said there were no plans to introduce more tolls on the M50.

“This is not a runner. I know the NTA has a view on that. The congestion on the M50 is of huge concern, but it has to be part of a much wider investment in roads on a long-term basis and get people out of their cars,” he said. “We are not going to react in a short-term way.”

Mr Ross said the Luas cross-city, when completed, would help ease congestion on the M50.

Traffic volumes on the M50 are growing by an average of 6 per cent a year while in some sections the rate of increase is closer to 10 per cent.

The NTA said demand-management measures including extra tolls, ramp metering and restricted parking, were needed to discourage car-use and make public transport more attractive.