There has been a “notable” increase in traffic volumes and congestion this week since the easing of travel restrictions on Monday.
People can now travel anywhere within their own county or 20km from their home.
The rise in traffic has been attributed to this as well as the full return of schools, with morning rush hour and early evening busiest.
Lauren Beehan of AA Roadwatch told BreakingNews.ie that they had recorded “a notable increase in traffic volumes and traffic congestion so far this week, particularly in cities/towns and suburban areas during morning rush hour and early evening. The Dublin commuter routes, some parts of Cork City, and a few of the main Limerick City routes have had the most notable increases so far”.
Return of schools
“This is likely to do with the full return of schools to the classroom as well as the change to the travel restrictions. We saw some similar traffic patterns the last time the schools fully returned, especially during morning peak times,” Ms Beehan added.
Meanwhile, the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) Transport Bulletin reported a rise in traffic from March 1st to April 3rd.
The report found the volume of cars on Irish roads has been rising slowly since the start of the year following the move to Level 5 restrictions in December.
Car traffic volumes in Dublin locations were 28 per cent higher in the last week of March than the second week of January.
The volume of HGV traffic in regional locations across the first three months of 2021 is at a similar level to the same period in 2020, but in Dublin locations is lower compared to the same period last year.
Car traffic volumes
Commenting on this latest report, the CSO's Noreen Dorgan, said: “The Covid-19 restrictions continue to have a significant influence on traffic volumes, the number of journeys on public transport and travel through Irish airports, which all remain at significantly lower levels than the same period in 2019 and early 2020.
“Car traffic volumes increased in the week beginning March 21st compared with the previous week in regional locations by 10.5 per cent, though they had fallen back slightly in the previous week due to the March 17th public holiday. For the latest week beginning March 28th, car traffic volumes were 120.5 per cent higher than the same week in 2020 at regional locations and 127.9 per cent higher in Dublin.
“However, car traffic volumes were 43.9 per cent and 44.0 per cent lower than the same period in 2019 for Dublin and regional locations respectively. In the week beginning March 28th, car traffic volumes are 2.2 per cent lower in regional locations and 3.1 per cent lower in Dublin when compared with the previous week.”