Analysing the best time to go shopping in Galway City?

What is the best time to go shopping in the Headford Road area of Galway City to avoid the traffic? We examine Galway City traffic data and attempt to find out. The simple answer is... after lunch from 2pm onwards every day except Sunday. That is not to say that parking will be easily available at these times as many of the earlier shoppers will still be around. The worst time to go shopping is from 10am to 1pm.

Headford Road Junction

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway in partnership with Galway City Council has examined detailed traffic data as part of the H2020 EU project, Your Data Stories. The data in question looks at the Bodkin junction exit onto the Headford Road in the direction of the Cathedral. This area is the home of Galway Shopping Centre and the adjacent Retail Park. We examine data from before and after smart traffic lights replaced the Bodkin Roundabout and examine the impact on shoppers as we attempt to find out how to beat the traffic blues. As a result of the new traffic system, we have seen a 20% increase in traffic on the Headford Road in that direction since 2012.


Despite the 20% increase in traffic, the traffic pattern has remained remarkably consistent from 2012 to 2016 when the traffic surveys were carried out as can be seen from the graphs below.

Wednesday Traffic Counts       Saturday Traffic Counts          







On Sunday however, there is a real opportunity for early birds to avoid the traffic rush with less than half the traffic from 9am to 11am compared to the following two hour period from 11am to 1pm and for most of the rest of the day. Despite the former tradition in Ireland of Sunday being a day of rest, this only seems to apply to the early morning hours. If we compare the figures from 11am onwards, we actually find that there are now more shoppers on a Sunday than on a Saturday. Times have changed.

Sunday Traffic Counts             Sunday Traffic Figures



Tags:galway headford road bodkin shopping best