M 20 Motorway – Journey Time Benefits


As the M20 scheme represents a major motorway upgrade to an existing national primary road, the potential journey time benefits for road users are expected to be significant.The analysis undertaken as part of the 2011 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the M20 scheme estimated that completion of the scheme would result in a reduction in journey time of approximately 16 minutes, compared to existing travel times on the N20.  This is equivalent to a 26% reduction in journey time.

Indecon has extended the 2011 analysis by applying the estimated percentage changes in journey times to current (2017) traffic volumes on the N20.  This would indicate potentially significant time savings from completion of the M20 in the case of a number of selected typical journeys (see table below).

In particular,  the estimated end-to-end  (Blarney to Patrickswell) journey reduction to from 63 minutes to 47 minutes will offer a substantial improvement to the connectivity of the Cork and Limerick urban centres, as well as providing shorter travel times for the surrounding hinterlands. As travel volumes on the existing N20 continue to expand with the economic recovery, the potential impact of completion of the M20 in reducing journey times would also increase.


Origin Destination Estimated Journey Time

(mins) – Existing N20

Estimated Journey Time

(mins) – with M20


Estimated Time

Savings (mins)

Limerick City Cork City 96 80 -16
Patrickswell Blarney 63 47 -16
Croom Limerick City 25 23 -2
Croom Cork City 74 59 -15
Charleville Limerick City 38 33 -5
Charleville Cork City 56 45 -11
Buttevant Limerick City 51 42 -9
Buttevant Cork City 44 36 -8
Mallow Limerick City 62 51 -11
Mallow Cork City 33 28 -5


The existing N20 corridor, due to its connectivity with major regional industrial areas and accessibility to strategic ports and airports, represents an economic corridor of strategic national importance. The M20 catchment contains a diverse economy that will benefit  from the improved transport connectivity that would be provided through completion of the motorway. In particular, the presence of large multinationals and indigenous businesses and primary producers which utilise the N20 as a supply route for production inputs as well as transporting finished product on to domestic and export markets, underscores the implications of the existing deficiencies. In its current form, the existing N20 route is considered to be not fit-for-purpose, particularly given the high level of commercial activity taking place between Ireland’s second- and third-largest cities, and given the presence of key sectors including engineering, pharma, ICT, logistics and agri-food producers in the region. Further, providing greater levels of urban clustering and knowledge-spill overs, that a motorway investment would offer, is considered by TII to offer nontrivial potential productivity gains.2

The estimated journey time reductions that would arise through completion of the M20 represent important productivity benefits for businesses and commuters, as well as general road users.  By reducing the cost of transportation, there will be a direct logistics-related productivity and competitiveness benefit for businesses which are transporting inputs and moving finished product to domestic and export markets.  In addition, by reducing commuting times for employees, the M20 would expand the supply of skilled labour which is accessible to firms in the region (this aspect is examined in detail in Section 5 of this report). It should be noted that survey research conducted by RED C Research found that over one-third (35%) of the surveyed firms’ employees utilise the N20 to commute daily to their place of work.

By addressing the existing weaknesses, the benefits of completion of the M20 in terms of productivity and reduced costs for businesses and employees would combine to enhance the competitiveness of the Mid-West and South-West Regions, improving their attractiveness for FDI and indigenous investment, and boosting potential economic growth and employment creation

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