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"Is it time Douglas drops the 'Village' moniker?"
David Teixeira-Lynch wants to use data to back up something that anecdotally is well-known: car is king in Cork city.
David Teixeira-Lynch counts cars. And lorries, and bikes, and pedestrians in Douglas. But mostly it’s cars. Thousands and thousands of them.
Earlier this month, David, who’s originally come Cork, set up a Telraam device facing a road in west Douglas to count traffic. The device uses a nifty little mirco-computer and a low resolution camera to collect data, which David then collates using free software.
Beginning this month on November 4, David’s Telraam has recorded over 104,000 vehicles (cars, vans and heavy goods vehicles) using the road which leads to the underpass on the South Douglas Road. (The camera only records during daylight and the same vehicle could be recorded multiple times).
By comparison, David’s data for the road, which serves a number of schools, shows that the modal share of pedestrians and cyclists is, as he says, “startling.”
“There’s too many cars,” says David. “Since I've started there has been over 102,000 cars (plus vans/HGVs etc). Less than 9,000 bicycles and less than 3,000 pedestrians. We are a short cycle, a 45-minute walk to the city and have a choice of multiple, reliable bus routes. Yet this figure is astronomically high, in my own opinion.”
David shared some of the data with Tripe + Drisheen, data which is all accessible online here.
Some of the key takeaways David pointed out include:
The % breakdown of the modal share:
2.35 % - Walking
7.77 % - Cycling
89.27 % - Cars
0.61 % - Vans and HGVs
There is movement throughout the day and the most popular direction is travelling city bound for all hours of the day with the peak being 8.00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Bicycle trips peak in both directions at school start and finish times with home time being the most popular headed away from the city.
There is also a peak of bicycle trips around dinner time with delivery riders taking orders from premises nearby.
Walking is most popular at school times but there are low numbers of walkers despite proximity to Saint Columba's, the Gaelscoil, Douglas Community School, St. Luke's and others further afield.
Average traffic speeds are 30 kilometres per hour and below but this is due to congestion and not to do with any traffic calming.
David moved back to Cork from London in 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic. He quickly set about getting involved in advocacy promoting active travel (cycling and walking) and campaigning to make the city more liveable. David also set up the Twitter account Cork Air Quality.
“As a Cork native, I've slowly watched the anecdotal shift to cars replacing walking and cycling. Cycling and walking were the only way I got to and from school (primary and secondary) and then to college in UCC until I left for London for over five years,” says David.
Now in his early thirties he wants to do back up the anecdotal evidence with “actual data”. Hence the Telraam.
David explains that he got outside funding for the Telraam, and he’s using it very much as it was intended: to put the power of traffic counting in the hands of ordinary citizens through citizen science. (Online the movement has its own hashtag #CitizenScience).
David hopes that the data will help inform local authorities to act on reducing traffic and make more liveable streets. As far as he’s aware the traffic counters set up by the city council either measure vehicles or pedestrians and cyclists, but not both.
Through the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS), Cork City Council want to significantly drive down the number of car journeys, by getting more people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
But, as we reported earlier this year, the target figures were most likely outdated already, at least for cycling. Under CMATS, the modal share for cycling was targeted at 4%, which had most likely been exceeded according to Conn O’Donovan of Cork Cycling Campaign.
This is another lesson in why data, and the correct data, is important, especially when it comes to driving policy.
David would like to see the traffic counting devices used on more roads throughout the city, with councillors using local funds to purchase the devices (they cost between €80-€100). Dublin, David says, is “miles ahead” with the counting initiatives they have implemented.
Douglas, at least the shopping centre which straddles the centre of Douglas, still clings to the village moniker. Butm as David points out, with so many cars pouring into the clogged arteries, is it really a village anymore?
“The over-reliance on driving to and from places needs to shift to make roads safer, more pleasant for commuters, people going to school and above all the locals who live and work in Douglas itself,” says David.
For more information on Telraam, costs and how to set one up visit this website.