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64% of Dubliners walk at least once a week, compared to 25% who cycle

During the pandemic, more Dubliners started walking rather than cycling

During the pandemic, more Dubliners started walking rather than cycling

The new Walking and Cycling Index shows that an overwhelming majority want to live in 20-minute neighbourhoods

Yesterday, Ireland’s National Transport Authority published the Walking and Cycling Index, the largest assessment of walking and cycling in the Dublin metropolitan area. The report is based on data from 1,100 people on their daily and weekly habits in 2021, compared to 2019.

One of the biggest takeaways from the study is that more people opted to become frequent pedestrians last year and the number of cyclists fell. Nevertheless, this result is not necessarily indicative of a change in people’s long-term attitudes, as the survey focuses on comparing pandemic habits with pre-pandemic times.

At the same time, the report showed that an overwhelming majority of people support the expansion of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, as well as more public spaces in neighbourhoods. In fact, 84% of people support the creation of more 20-minute neighbourhoods, meaning areas where people have access to everything they need in the span of a 20-minute walk from their home. This distance roughly translates to 800 metres each way.

Active mobility is climate efficient and good for your health

According to the study, an impressive 95% of people in the Dublin Metropolitan area walk at least during some of their journeys, with 64% doing that at least once a week, while a quarter cycle at least once a week. However, these metrics shine even brighter, when compared to the 38% of people who use a car at least five or more days a week.

Furthermore, the data from the report suggests that those trips save around 69,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. That is the rough equivalent to 980,000 people taking flights from Dublin to London. Moreover, due to the health benefits of active mobility, these walking and cycling numbers are estimated to prevent around 589 early deaths annually.

Interestingly, however, there seems to be a significant gender gap between men and women who cycle. Around 33% of men cycle at least once a week, compared to 18% of women. Nevertheless, the number of men who cycle once a week fell compared to 2019 by 2%, while the number of women jumped by 4%.

The Irish Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan explained that the Walking and Cycling Index is a great tool to help guide the hand of local policymakers when crafting new concepts for neighbourhood infrastructure. He added that these policies should help make active transportation and sustainable mobility become even more attractive in the years to come.

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