The summary results from Census 2016 published today are a reflection of what people were doing last April when it came to getting to work, college or school and how many cars were used and how. They show what many of us suspected - that there are many more cars on the road, that school runs are a major factor in traffic flows, that the use of public transport by children has declined and car ownership is on the up. Here are findings:

There were three questions posed relating to travel to work, school or college, namely means of travel, time of departure and journey time in minutes. The results are analysed separately for those at work and students.

There are now over a million people driving to work everyday.

The overall number of people commuting to work increased from 1.70 million in 2011 to 1.88 million in 2016, an increase of 10.7 per cent. The number of people driving to work increased by 85,180 to 1,152,631 and was the largest increase of all categories.

Car passengers increased by a smaller amount to 77,335 in 2016 from 69,164 in 2011. The use of public transport to get to work has increased by 30,144 persons over the five years, bringing the total to 174,569 and representing 9.3 per cent of all working commuters.

Cycling to work has shown the largest percentage increase of all means of transport, rising from 39,803 in 2011 to 56,837 in 2016, an increase of 42.8 per cent over the five years. 

Average travel time to work up on 2011 The average stated journey time to work was 28.2 minutes in 2016, up from 26.6 minutes in 2011 and 27.5 minutes in 2006. In 2016 52.3 per cent of journeys took 30 minutes or less while 81.0 per cent of journey times were under 60 minutes.

A total of 365,369 workers left home before 7 a.m. (up from 272,864 in 2011), with 166,712 leaving before 6.30 a.m., an increase of 47,111 over the five years. Just over 68 per cent of these early commuters were men.

More women than men travelled to work between the 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. time slots (women making up 57.2%). The number of workers leaving after 9.30 a.m. increased by only 2.1 per cent, from 184,701 to 188,565 between 2011 and 2016. S

Almost 1.4 million households have a car.

Increase in car ownership:

 Car ownership among households continued its upward trend with 1.39 million households having at least one car in 2016 – an increase of 30,063 on 2011. In 2016, 76.6 per cent of households in urban areas owned at least one car compared with 91.0 per cent of households in rural areas, a pattern largely caused by the low car ownership in the cities.

For example, 33.7 per cent of households in the administrative area Dublin City stated that they did not have a car in 2016. Of those households indicating they had a car, 54.5 per cent in rural areas had two cars or more, in contrast to 33.0 per cent in urban areas. Meath had the highest proportion of households with at least one car (90.3%), followed closely by Cork County (89.0%). Meath also had the largest proportion (43.3%) of households with two cars. Cork County had the largest proportion (7.7%) of households with three cars while 1.8 per cent of households in the State had four or more cars.

The car remains the main means of travel for school students:

There were an additional 45,414 primary school students in 2016 compared with five years previously. While 10,769 of these additional students walked or cycled to school, bringing the total walking or cycling to school to 135,544, the car continues to be the dominant means of transport for this group with 327,039 children (6 out of 10) being driven to school in 2016.

Public transport use by children is falling:

The numbers taking public transport have fallen from 60,954 in 2011 to 56,846 in 2016, representing just 10.4 per cent of children. The number of secondary school students increased by 27,767 but the numbers walking or cycling increased by just 855 (from 80,538 to 81,393); those using public transport increased by 3,429 to 105,222, representing 30 per cent of journeys, while again, the car remained the main means of transport among this group with 151,794 users, of whom 5,039 drove to school themselves.

Among primary students, 69.1 per cent (377,867) leave for school between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. while 113,190 leave after 9 o’clock and 31,105 leave before 8 o’clock. The average travel time for primary and secondary school students was 12 and 19 minutes respectively

Third level student driver numbers down but rise in car passenger numbers:

The number of third level students driving to college has fallen by 8,835 to 44,771 while those who travel as a passenger has increased to 19,125 (up from 16,291 in 2011). Walking or cycling to college remains the main means of travel accounting for 59,490 students while a further 59,087 used public transport.

Average journey time to college increases Third level students typically leave for college between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. (87,132 or 45.8% of the total) while 42,150 depart after 9.00 a.m. The average journey time has increased to 33.3 minutes, up from 30.6 minutes in 2011. 

With thanks to the Central Statistics Office.