The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has revealed travel behaviour trends for last year based on the results of the National Travel Survey, which was carried out in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to a statement published on the CSO's website.
According to the statement published on CSO.ie, the detail in this publication is a subset of the broader data collected, and this is the first of four publications, the others of which will be titled "Sustainable Mobility and Transport 2021", "Passenger Mobility and Road Safety 2021" and "Impact of COVID-19 on Travel Behaviour", with the travel behaviour trends publication focussing on our travel behaviour, where respondents were asked to provide information on journeys taken on the travel reference day assigned to them.
When this survey was last carried out in the fourth quarter of 2019, it was pre-COVID-19, with the global pandemic occurring in the intervening years between the 2019 survey and the survey carried out in the fourth quarter of last year, and, consequently, when comparing changes in travel behaviour over that time, the varying levels of COVID-19 restrictions that were in place during the fourth quarter of last year should be borne in mind, the CSO said.
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The statement published on CSO.ie revealed the following data:
- in 2021, 77% of persons aged 18 years and over took a trip on the day for which they provided travel information and of those who did not, 11% were working from home;
- journeys by car decreased in 2021, falling to 71% of all journeys, either as a driver or passenger, compared with 74% in 2019;
- active travel, such as walking and cycling, increased in 2021, with walking being up from 14% of all journeys in 2019 to 17% in 2021, while cycling journeys increased from 1.5% in 2019 to a little more than 2% last year;
- public transport usage decreased in 2021, accounting for 4% of all journeys last year, compared with close to 5% in 2019, while rail/DART/Luas journeys accounted for a little more than 1% of all journeys (close to 2% in 2019);
- trips to visit friends or family and trips for the purpose of entertainment/leisure/sport both decreased last year;
- and Tuesday was the busiest day of the week last year for making a journey, with the weekend being the least busy time for taking journeys between 16:00 and 18:59.
Statements By Statistician
The statement published on CSO.ie included a statement from statistician Maureen Delamere that said, "This is the first survey on travel behaviour carried out by the CSO since the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, the last one having been carried out in the fourth quarter of 2019, pre-COVID. When the 2021 survey was carried out, there were still varying levels of COVID-19 in the community, with related restrictions in place. Society and the economy had started to return to a new normal.
"More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents had taken a trip on the day for which they provided information on their travel pattern. The average number of trips taken by persons over 18 years was 2.9. Tuesday was the busiest day of the week for taking a journey, and the weekend was the least busiest. More than one-quarter (26%) of all journeys taken in 2021 were on a Tuesday, compared with 25% in the same period in 2019. Journeys taken on Saturdays accounted for one in sixteen (6%) of all journeys taken (6% in 2019), while trips made on Sundays accounted for more than one in fifteen (7%) compared with 6% in 2019.
"Although car usage has decreased in 2021, private car remains the most common mode of travel. Journeys by car (whether as driver or passenger) accounted for more than seven-in-ten (71%) of journeys taken, albeit decreasing by three percentage points on the same period in 2019 (74%). Trips where the respondent was the driver accounted for 64% of all journeys, compared with 65% in 2019.
"With some COVID-19 restrictions still in place in Q4 2021, for example on public transport, and more persons working from home, journeys on public transport decreased in 2021. Journeys taken by bus were down from 5% of journeys in 2019 to 4% in 2021, while rail/DART/Luas journeys accounted for 1% of all journeys, compared with almost 2% in 2019.
"Active travel, such as walking and cycling, increased in 2021. The percentage of trips where the main mode of travel was walking, increased by more than three percentage points on the same period in 2019 - one in six (17%) of all journeys made in 2021, compared with almost 14% of journeys taken in the same period in 2019. Cycling journeys also increased – just over 2% of all journeys made were by bicycle in 2021, compared with 1.5% in 2019.
"A quarter (24.7%) of journeys taken were for shopping, an increase of three percentage points on 2019. Work-related journeys account for almost one quarter (23.8%) of journeys also in 2021, a marginal increase from the same period in 2019 (23.6%). For work-related journeys, getting a lift or car-pooling was an option for only 2.8% of such journeys. Walking was a more preferred option for one in nine (11.4%) of such journeys.
"Only one in sixteen (6%) journeys were visits to friends or family, down four percentage points on the same period in 2019 (10%), which may reflect the varying levels of COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time. Similarly, although gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres, etc. had reopened at this time, some restrictions still remained in place. Less than one in twelve (8%) of journeys were for the purpose of entertainment/leisure/ sports, compared with just over 9% in 2019."
Regarding those who did not take any trip on the travel reference day, Delamere added, "More than one in ten (11%) were working from home, while more than half (54%) said they were fully occupied with home duties or had no need or wish to travel outside the home."
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