The Northern Ireland Transport Statistics 2019-2020 statistical report has been published today

Date published: 08 October 2020

The latest edition of Northern Ireland Transport Statistics, containing statistics for 2019-2020, is now available.

DRD statistics publication

This compendium publication is produced by the Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch (ASRB) of the Department for Infrastructure and contains information on the road network, public transport and accessible transport in Northern Ireland.

The publication is available on the DfI website at:


The key points for 2019-2020 are:

Road Network

  • At 1 April 2020, there were 25,770 kilometres of public road in Northern Ireland.  Unclassified roads accounted for the largest proportion (61%) of all roads followed by C roads (18%), B roads (11%), A roads (9%) and Motorways (less than 1%).
  • Analysis of the urban/ rural split of the road network reveals that 23% of carriageway road lengths are urban (speed limit of 40 mph or less) and 77% are rural (speed limit of more than 40 mph). 
  • During 2019-20, new construction and improvement accounted for 31% of the £447 million spend on our roads.  Maintenance (structural & bridges, routine and winter) accounted for 31% of the money spent, while public lighting accounted for 4%.  There was an increase of 2% in expenditure on the roads when compared to 2018-19 (£437 million); this was mainly due to increased expenditure on new construction and improvements.

Public Transport

  • At the end of 2019-20, there were 1,098 Ulsterbuses, 275 Metro buses and 32 Gliders on the roads which were, on average, 10.5 years, 8.3 years and 1.7 years old respectively.
  • During 2019-20, there were a total of 83.4 million bus and rail passenger journeys; 68.3 million bus passenger journeys (Ulsterbus, Metro and Glider), a decrease of 0.6% from 2018-19 (68.7 million), and 15.1 million rail passenger journeys, a decrease of 4% from 2018-19 (15.8 million). It is worth bearing in mind COVID-19 lockdown commenced on 23rd March 2020, so there will have been an effect on passenger numbers during and possibly before that period.
  • Of the 68.3 million bus passenger journeys during 2019-20, 37.9 million were on Ulsterbus, a decrease of 2% from 2018-19 (38.7 million) and 22.7 million were on Metro, a decrease of 13% since 2018-19 (26.2 million).  This decrease is likely explained by the introduction of Glider. There were also 7.7 million passenger journeys on Glider services (3.7 million Glider journeys were taken in 2018-19, however Glider services only launched in September 2018 so 2018-19 figures were not a full twelve month period).

Transport and Disability

  • At 31 March 2020, 330,557 SmartPasses were held by older people (60+ SmartPass and Senior (65+) SmartPass).  Comparing this to the 2019 mid-year population estimate of those persons aged 60 and over (420,528 persons), there was an approximately 80% uptake of these SmartPasses.
  • At 31 March 2020, 1,310 buses and coaches were used as Public Service Vehicles in Northern Ireland, an increase of 0.5% from 31 March 2019 (1,303).  Of the 1,310 buses and coaches, 1,144 (87%) were low-floor wheelchair accessible buses and 154 (12%) were wheelchair accessible coaches. 
  • At 31 March 2020, 143 railway carriages were used as Public Service Vehicles in Northern Ireland; this was equivalent to the figure at 31 March 2015.  Of the 143 railway carriages used as Public Service Vehicles, all (100%) were wheelchair accessible.
  • In 2016-2018, one sixth (17%) of persons aged 16 and over, who responded to the Travel Survey for Northern Ireland (TSNI), reported having a mobility difficulty. On average those with a mobility difficulty made 562 journeys per year in 2016-2018, 43% less than those without a mobility difficulty (991 journeys per year). 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Background to Transport Statistics Publication

Northern Ireland Transport Statistics is an annual compendium publication and contains a variety of transport information.  The management information and statistics are collated from DfI, DfI Roads and Translink.

  1. Official Statistics

This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice at: Statistics Authority

  1. Additional Information

For more information relating to this publication, including alternative formats, please contact:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch,
Room 4.13c,
Clarence Court,
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,


  1. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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