Traffic congestion levels see an 'impressive improvement' in Cork, report shows

Traffic congestion levels see an 'impressive improvement' in Cork, report shows

Traffic on the South Link Road in Cork shortly after 8:30am on a Tuesday in June last year. Cork has experienced an "impressive improvement" in traffic congestion levels and has gone from being the world’s 75th most congested city in 2019 to its 100th in 2020. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Cork has experienced an "impressive improvement" in traffic congestion levels and has gone from being the world’s 75th most congested city in 2019 to its 100th in 2020.

This is according to the location technology specialist TomTom, who created a traffic index which details the traffic situation in 2020 in over 400 cities in 57 countries.

Meanwhile, Dublin ranked 21st on their index and Limerick ranked 71st.

The latest traffic index report shows that the global Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on traffic congestion in Ireland, dropping on average by 17% compared to 2019.

When 2020 began congestion levels were consistent with 2019, however, levels began to reduce in March and plunge in April as Ireland’s first national lockdown came into force, the report shows.

Congestion levels steadily rose over the course of the year, peaking in December 2020. 

However, they remain below the traffic levels of 2019.

The TomTom Traffic Index data shows that the pandemic and widespread remote working has had a flattening effect on rush hour traffic throughout the country. 

Overall, Ireland saw a 27% average decrease in congestion during rush hours. 

Stephanie Leonard, Head of Innovation and Policy at TomTom, said the country is now "moving in the right direction in the fight against congestion". 

"The pandemic of course has had a dramatic impact, but it coincides with a raft of ambitious policies designed to lower traffic levels across the nation. 

"This includes the rolling out of new bicycle pumps and lanes across Dublin roads, new Bus Connect routes, and the continued development of the Cork North Ring Road," she said.

However, she stressed that the work "isn’t done yet". 

"As Covid-19 vaccines continue to be created and industrialised, we may see traffic levels shoot up again – as people get back to work and back into old routines. 

"The early morning peak largely remains intact and will continue to plague Irish drivers. 

"Without a concerted and deliberate change in driver behaviour, supported by policymakers and employers, we’re unlikely to see a permanent end to the rush hour. 

"That’s why we need action from Ireland’s city planners, policymakers, employers and drivers to ensure flexible working hours, working from home, and a smart approach to using traffic data to determine the best travel times," she said.

For more information or to access the TomTom Traffic Index, visit tomtom.com/TrafficIndex

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