Number of cars entering city at its lowest since figures began


THE NUMBER of lorries and vans on Dublin city streets increased last year for the first time since the opening of the Dublin Port Tunnel. However, fewer cars entered the city centre during the daily morning rush period last year than any other time since Dublin City Council began traffic counts in 1997.

The number of buses travelling into the centre was also down last year, but goods vehicle numbers, which had been experiencing a steady decline over several years, increased.

The Dublin Port Tunnel opened in December 2006 and was followed in February 2007 by a ban in Dublin city centre on vehicles with five axles or more from 7am to 7pm daily.

In 2006 the council’s annual traffic count recorded 2,291 goods vehicles entering the city in the morning peak. By the following year this figure fell to 1,445. The decline continued each year until 2010, when goods vehicle numbers slipped below 1,000 to 993.

In 2011 numbers of lorries and vans increased by almost 20 per cent to 1,176, the highest level since 2008.

However, in its annual traffic count report the council points out that volume of goods vehicles is still almost 50 per cent below the 2006 level.

The greatest number of trips into the city centre each morning are made by car with 60,607 between 7am and 10am on a typical day in 2011. Car commuting was at its highest level in 1997 at 73,561 and steadily decreased until 2005 when trips fell to 60,600.

Car numbers increased again up until 2009 but have been falling since with the 2011 figure 3.6 per cent lower than when the count was taken in 2010. Over the 10-year period from 2001 to 2011 the volume of cars coming into the city during the morning fell by almost 11 per cent.

While the number of car commuters has been reasonably stable, one of the biggest changes in commuting patterns has been the increase in cycling. Over the 10-year period from 2001 to 2011 the volume of cyclists entering the city during the morning peak between 7am and 10am rose by just over 35 per cent.

Cycling numbers hit a low of 3,941 in 2004, but since then numbers steadily increased, reaching a peak in 2011 of 6,870 – a more than 15 per cent increase on 2010.

The annual count is made in November each year, with council workers stationed between 7am and 10am at 33 locations where it is possible to enter the city.