Thursday, December 18, 2014

Increased traffic points to economic growth

The Irish economy is growing but quantifying the amount of growth using the National Accounts is difficult because of various distorting effects.  This isn’t an item to determine the amount of growth but adds a factor that suggests the growth is positive.

The National Roads Authority have traffic counters at numerous locations around the country.  The data isn’t the easiest to compile but clicking the green dots on this map provides Adjusted Average Daily Traffic (AADT) figures for 2013 and 2014.  The years are not directly comparable (the data only begin in March 2013) but for most of the locations the daily averages are higher in 2014.

The site provides more detailed information and the following looks at some of the main arterial routes into Cork City for the first 16 days of the month of December.  The eight locations are shown here (click to enlarge).

Traffic Map

The data for the locations are summarised here:

Daily Traffice Volumes

For six of the eight locations daily traffic volumes are up on this time last year.  It should be noted that no attempt is made to account for differences between the two years.  These could be road works, road improvements, the weather or other factors.

There is a noticeable difference between the changes to the weekday and weekend averages with greater increases seen for weekend volumes.

Only the N27 (Cork Airport-Kinsale) shows volume decreases on all measures.  This may be the result of job losses in the Airport Business Park.

In aggregate across the eight locations traffic into and around Cork city is up around 3 per cent on last year.  Weekday (or working day) volumes are up 2 per cent and weekend volumes are up 5 per cent.

It is hard to know what a 3 per cent increase in traffic volumes means in economic growth terms but at the very least we can say that there is increased activity around Cork.

Although not looked at in the same detail, one location on the M50 (Dublin) shows a daily volume increase of 3.7 per cent and a location on the M7 (in Limerick) recorded an increase of 5.7 per cent.  It looks like traffic volumes are higher in many locations.

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