Traffic Chaos? On yer bike!
We all know that traffic in the town isn’t the best. But what do we really know? And how does this help us to make things better?
If you’ve driven in or around Navan, there’s a good chance you’ve been stuck in traffic. Especially around nine in the morning, when everyone is dropping off kids to school, and in the evening when commuters are heading home.
Traffic can make us see red. But what do we actually know about traffic flow in and around Navan?
As always, the Census data gives us an idea – or rather, an idea of what was happening four years ago.
Meath is the worst county in the entire country for travel time. (Or at least, this was the case in 2016. Now that the fortunate among us are working remotely from home, this picture will have changed significantly)
Next, let’s take a look at some more recent information, courtesy of TomTom (the sat-nav people). First, where’s the traffic coming from? (Click on the images to enlarge).
This chart shows where traffic is coming into central Navan from. The circle labelled “Region 1” is central Navan. More traffic originates from the areas with darker colour. So you can see that in the morning, most traffic comes from nearby – the Navan electoral district. In the evening, more traffic is coming in from Dunshaughlin and beyond. That makes sense – commuters returning from Dublin (this data is from April 2019, before the Great Unpleasantness).
Let’s dig a bit deeper. Where are the journeys starting and ending? Perhaps all the traffic is caused by people going through Navan?
Here you can look at an Origin (the start of a journey) on the left, and see how many journeys ended at each Destination.
Let’s take Slane as the Origin, up at the top. Looking across the table, there are 558 journeys where Navan was the destination.
Looking at central Navan (Region 1, bottom left) as the starting point, go across to Region 1 on the bottom right. This tells us that 5119 journeys that started in central Navan also ended in central Navan.
This suggests that traffic is local, not from people passing by. Now let’s see if we can figure out more about those journeys within Navan.
This chart shows the number of journeys (vertical axis) and their length (horizontal axis). So, for example, around 6500 journeys are roughly 1km, around 33%. In fact, it looks like the vast majority of journeys are less than 6 of 7km.
So what do we know? There’s lots of traffic, it’s mainly local, and mainly short journeys.
Now let’s zoom right in and look at where the traffic hotspots are. Spoiler: this isn’t going to surprise anyone.
The good news is, if you’re heading to the M3 from the retail park roundabout, you’re laughing.
For the rest of us, it’s pretty grim. Dark orange and red means traffic is under 30km/h.
Let’s zoom in one last time, to the Athumney Road bridge.
Traffic here is doing an average of 18.69 KM/h. It’s not bad! Well, not so fast, the only data we have is between 10am-12noon. Any guesses what this looks like for 8:30am or 9am?
Finally, let’s talk about roadworks. Roadworks aren’t temporary – they’re an ongoing feature, and due to continue as part of the Navan 2030 development plan. To be fair, roadworks tend to be seasonal. So you might want to avoid driving during roadworks season. 😅
Look out, it’s the preachy bit
OK, great, so we’ve learned there’s lots of slow-moving short-journey-taking traffic. What next?
Option one is by far the simplest – all of you need to stop driving, so I can get around more quickly! From my point of view, this is a great option. So if you wouldn’t mind ..? 😀
Perhaps we could build more roads, maybe a bypass? Well, as we’ve seen above, most of the traffic is within the town, so a bypass will have a limited effect.
Wider roads? Navan is a heritage town, which is a posh way of saying that we have skinny windy roads. This means very little opportunity to add capacity this way, at least in the central area.
Another option is to increase the traffic flow.
Cycle lanes can take large numbers of polluting vehicles off the road, with a typical road lane carrying an average of 2,000 cars per hour or 14,000 bicycles”Roger Geffen, Policy Director, Cycling UK
Not everyone needs to cycle. Not every journey needs to be by bike. But every bike journey reduces the volume of traffic on the road – which makes the situation better for car journeys too.
The NTA advise people to walk, cycle or take public transport in preference to using cars. And Meath County Council are in the process of adopting Sustainable Development Goals, one of which also advocate the use of sustainable transport over private cars.
If you don’t like the traffic in Navan, do something about it. Support Navan Cycling Initiative, so that those who want to cycle can, and make it better for everyone. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram, and join our Facebook group to keep up to date.