Publication of Northern Ireland Transport Statistics 2017-2018

Date published: 27 September 2018

The latest edition of Northern Ireland Transport Statistics, containing statistics for 2017-18 is now available. 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.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is available on the ASRB website at:


Road Network       

  • At 1 April 2018, there were 25,714 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 (<1%).
  • Analysis of the urban/ rural split of the road network reveals that 22% of road lengths are urban (speed limit of 40 mph or less) and 78% are rural (speed limit of more than 40 mph).  This varies between the different road types with C roads having the highest proportion (94%) of rural road length and unclassified roads having the lowest proportion (71%) of rural road length.
  • During 2017-18, new construction and improvement accounted for 29% of the £367 million spend on our roads.  Maintenance (structural, routine and winter) accounted for 27% of the money spent, while public lighting accounted for 5%.  There was a decrease of 5% in expenditure on the roads when compared to 2016-17.

Public Transport

  • At the end of 2017-18, there were 1,087 Ulsterbuses and 296 Metro buses on the roads which were, on average, 9.4 years and 8.8 years old respectively.
  • During 2017-18, there were 38.1 million passenger journeys on Ulsterbus, a decrease of 1% from last year (38.4 million) and a decrease of 6% from 2013-14 (40.5 million).  For Metro services, 28.0 million passenger journeys were taken in 2017-18, an increase of 2% since 2016-17 (27.3 million) and an increase of 6% from 2013-14 (26.4 million).
  • There were 15.0 million rail passenger journeys made in 2017-18, an increase of 6% from 2016-17 (14.2 million).

Transport and Disability

  • At 31 March 2018, 316,880 SmartPasses were held by older people (60+ SmartPass and Senior (65+) SmartPass).  Comparing this to the 2017 mid-year population estimate of those persons aged 60 and over, there was an approximately 79% uptake of these SmartPasses.
  • At 31 March 2018, 1,246 buses and coaches were used as Public Service Vehicles in Northern Ireland, similar to 31 March 2017 (1,245).  Of these, 1,079 (87%) were low-floor wheelchair accessible buses and 137 (11%) were wheelchair accessible coaches.  143 railway carriages were used as Public Service Vehicles in Northern Ireland at 31 March 2018, the same since 31 March 2014.  Of these, all (100%) were wheelchair accessible carriages.
  • In 2014-2016, almost a fifth (18%) of persons aged 16 and over, who were surveyed, reported having a mobility difficulty. On average those with a mobility difficulty made 593 journeys per year in 2014-2016, 39% less than those without a mobility difficulty (980 journeys per year).

Notes to editors: 

  1. Northern Ireland Transport Statistics is an annual compendium publication and contains a variety of transport information.  The data are collated from DfI, DfI Roads (formerly TransportNI) and Translink.
  2. 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:
  3. For further information please contact: Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch, Department for Infrastructure, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8GB.

All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email : or out of hours please contact duty press officer on 022 9037 8110

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