Sunday 18 November 2007

Numbers driving to work up 22pc

The number of persons driving to work by car, lorry or van increased by over 225,000 between 2002 and 2006 - an increase of 22% - according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

This information is contained in Census 2006 Volume 12 - Travel to Work, School and College, which gives further detailed results of the census conducted on 23 April 2006. The report gives the final population figures classified by means of travel to work, school and college, the time of leaving home, the time taken, distance travelled and the number of cars per household[1].

Of the 1.9 million workers in the State in April 2006, almost 1.1m (57%) drove a car to work - up from 55% in 2002. When combined with workers who travelled to work as car passengers or as van/lorry drivers, seven out of ten of workers were private vehicle users in 2006.

While the overall number of bus users increased slightly, the share of public transport by bus fell from 6.7% in 2002 to 6.1% in 2006. The number of persons commuting to work by rail increased by over 66%, compared with 2002 - reflecting the introduction of the LUAS.

Train usage by workers was highest in Dublin's north county area, with Donabate (26%), Skerries (24%), Portmarnock and Malahide (both 20%), most prominent.

Of the 247,000 primary school children who were driven to school in 2006 (55% of the total), 44,000 were driven 1 kilometre or less. A further 105,000 were driven 4 kilometres or less.

Among secondary school students, there was a marked difference in transport use between urban and rural dwellers - with over half of children in rural areas taking the bus, compared with one in five in urban areas. In all, 45% were driven 4 kilometres or less to school, representing 43,000 car journeys.

Workers travelled, on average, 15.8 km from their homes to their workplaces in 2006 - little change on 2002. Rural-based workers travelled an average of 20.9 km compared with 12.8 km for workers living in urban areas.

The average journey time to work was 27.5 minutes in April 2006 - slightly up from 26.8 minutes in April 2002. Even though urban workers travelled shorter distances to their workplaces than workers living in rural areas, traffic congestion meant that they spent longer periods commuting (27.9 minutes compared with 26.8 minutes for rural workers).

Almost 285,000 workers left home before 7 am to get to work in 2006, with 113,000 leaving before 6.30 am. Three out of four of these early commuters were men. Women dominate the later time slots, with 40% departing between 8 and 9 am - the time slot which accounts for 65% of departing primary schoolchildren and seven out of ten secondary students.

Close on 1.2 million households had at least one car each in 2006 - an increase of 170,000 compared with 2002. Meath (90%), Cork County (88%), Waterford County and Kildare (both 87%) had the highest proportions of households with at least one car. Four out of ten households in Dublin City had no car in 2006.

[1] The publication Census 2006 - Principal Socio-economic Results - released on 28 June 2007 - contains a summary at State level of data from Volumes 5-7, 9-10 and 13 of the detailed census reports. The publication just released - Volume 12 - provides figures for travel to work, school and college at a more detailed geographical level.

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