Rush hour returns

[16th April] This week has seen the highest level of traffic congestion in 2021, across Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Limerick according to TomTom’s traffic index.

Congestion in Belfast averaged at 35% for the first four days of this week, compared to 20% year to date. This means that a 30-minute journey across the city now takes 35% more time (10 minutes) than it would during uncongested periods.

This pattern is evident in Irish cities, following the relaxation of travel boundaries in ROI. Dublin’s congestion averaged at 40% across this week, with levels reaching 36% in Cork and 35% in Limerick.

Driving increases another 5%

The increased traffic volumes are also represented in the Apple Mobility Data, with average driving in Northern Ireland at 106% of the pre-covid baseline, an increase of 5% week on week. As restrictions continue to ease and more people return to places of work, this is upward trend is likely to continue.

In retail and recreation environments, footfall has stayed steady, according to Google mobility information. This data has a slight lag in reporting, with the most recent figures until 11th April. Non-essential retail was permitted to operate click and collect services from 12th April, so we would anticipate uplift in these environments next week.

Easter was a peak shopping period in grocery locations, resulting in a large jump in footfall. With a week of ‘normal’ activity, it’s evident to see how the footfall has levelled off, returning to an average of 94%.

Parks and workplaces also saw declining activity over the course of the week, down 15% and 17% respectively. This may be due to a number of factors, including weather and school holidays encouraging more people to take time off work.