Fewer staff, students are walking and cycling, survey finds
Posted on: 20 November 2023
The numbers walking fell to 20% from a high of 28% in 2018, while the cycling rate was sharply down (-59%) from 2011.
Students and staff at Trinity College Dublin are less likely to walk or cycle to the university than before COVID-19, an internal survey has shown.
Since the Healthy Trinity Smarter Travel group started measuring modes of commuting in 2011, the rates of walking and cycling by students and staff have seen a marked decline.
The group's latest survey from April 2023 showed one third of students and staff used the bus to travel to the university at the heart of Dublin city, while 20% arrived by train and 13% travelled by Luas.
A further 20% walked and 9% cycled. Car usage was minimal at just 3%.
The numbers walking fell from a high of 28% in 2018 (a drop of 29%), while the cycling rate was sharply down (-59%) from a high of 22% in 2011. Since 2011, public transport use by Trinity staff and students has increased from 49% to 66%.
The survey, conducted by email in 2011, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2023, also showed that since 2018, the proportion of students and staff travelling 4-6km to university has dropped by 14%, while journeys of 16 to 25km rose 5%.
Prof. Brian Caulfield, Professor in Transportation and the academic lead for the survey said:
“It is great to see that car usage remains low as a means of travel to Trinity. The decrease in cycling and walking is worrying but is following the national trend seen in the 2022 census results. The causes of these declines could be associated with the decrease in the cost of public transport for students and or the further distances travelled due to get to our campus due to the affordability of accommodation."
Martina Mullin, the operational lead of Healthy Trinity, said:
“We know students want to walk to Trinity and staff want to cycle but factors beyond our control make it difficult to do so. Lack of available housing and a city centre environment that’s hostile to walking and cycling mean many of our community are forced to take less healthy transport.”
The survey results have been released ahead of the Healthy Trinity Forum on 21 November, which aims to encourage Trinity’s community to engage with the Dublin City Transport Plan consultation.