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Paper 20th October 2005 - TTSAC(05)4


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1. Introduction

1.1 The purpose of this paper is to seek the views of Members of the Committee on the "Transport" part of the Scottish Executive (SE) Statistics Plan for 2006-07.

1.2 It should be noted that, as the Statistics Plan covers (essentially) only the Government Statistical Service work of SE, the "Transport" part will cover only the work of the SE Transport Statistics branch: it does not cover numerical work which is the responsibility of others within SE, such as surveys to collect data for the Transport Model for Scotland, the development of the Scottish Roads Traffic Database and the monitoring of congestion on trunk roads. The other SE representatives at the meeting may wish to mention their plans.

1.3 A copy of the current draft of the Transport Statistics plan is provided as an Annex. It is subject to revision in the light of developments and the advice of the Committee. For example, Members' views on the timing of the publication of Scottish Transport Statistics (see paper T&TSAC[05] 3) may lead in changes to the months in which some of the publications appear.

1.4 Members should also note two other points. First, paper T&TSAC(05) 6 describes the development of the Scottish Household Survey, to which the branch will contribute. Second, in the short-term, the day-to-day work of the branch should not be greatly affected by the creation of the national transport agency and the consequent reorganisation of SE Transport staff and responsibilities (e.g. the branch will not be split between the agency and department). However, it is expected that the branch will move from the Development Department Analytical Services Division and form part of a Transport Analytical Unit within a Transport Policy Division. In the longer-term, of course, developments such as the establishment of statutory regional transport partnerships may lead to increasing demands for statistics.

1.5 Members of the Committee are invited to comment on any of the points in the plan.

1.6 Members of the Committee may feel that that the SE Transport Statistics branch should also do some other things. Of course, the branch's ability to collect more data, and to produce new publications or other outputs, is limited (it has only 4½ full-time equivalent posts, and a lot of its time is committed to tasks which continue from year to year - e.g. the collection of road accident statistics data). However, there is some capacity for new work (which could be increased if the more "specialist" publications appeared biennially rather than annually - see paper T&TSAC[05] 3), and we are therefore interested in Members' comments and suggestions on how they would like us to improve SE's Transport statistics.

1.7 Members of the Committee are asked for their views on what other work the SE Transport Statistics branch might consider for the plan. For example:

  • do they feel that particular information gaps or needs should be addressed, for example by the collection of statistics on new topics?
  • if so, how feasible would it be to obtain the data, and what might be the costs to both the suppliers and the collectors of the information?
  • if there are a number of possible developments, which do they feel should have priority?


1.8 The SE Transport Statistics branch's draft plan for 2006-07 will be amended as appropriate in the light of the discussion of this paper and the previous papers. Are Members of the Committee content with the plan on that basis?


SE Transport Statistics branch plan


1. Transport Statistics (TranStat) provides statistical support to colleagues in Transport policy divisions and professional units. This includes providing statistical advice and analysis to inform policy development, providing information for briefing, PQs and research projects, and answering ad-hoc requests (e.g. for data for transport researchers and modellers).

2. TranStat manages two major sources of detailed statistical data:

  • Scottish Household Survey (SHS) - transport is one of the SHS's main topic areas, and it provides information on households' transport facilities, some types of travel by their members, and adults' views on various aspects of transport. TranStat obtains the data from the contractors who conduct the survey for SE. TranStat contributes greatly to the development and analysis of the SHS, and the TranStat Assistant Statistician is the SHS Statistical Database Administrator, who maintains the SHS database and supports its use by colleagues;
  • road accident statistics returns - these provide information on the circumstances of each "personal injury" road accident, and about each casualty and each vehicle involved. TranStat obtains the data from Police Forces.

3. For its publications, TranStat also draws on a wide range of sources managed by other collectors and providers of statistics on Transport, such as a number of other branches within the Executive, the Department for Transport (DfT) and many others - see section 7.

4. TranStat consults its customers through:

  • the ScotStat Transport and Travel Statistics Advisory Committee (T&TSAC: it includes representatives of TS&LD-S&PT, TS&LD-TS&TRT, TRNMD and external users and providers of statistics);
  • the Liaison Group on Road Accident Statistics (LGRAS: it includes TD3-2, TRNMD, police forces, local authorities and other users of the statistics);
  • "analytical strategy" and "business planning" meetings with policy colleagues;
  • the process of clearance and publication of its annual statistics plan; and
  • ad-hoc discussions on particular issues.

5. Targets and indicators - the branch

  • collects the road accident data, which have been used for many years to monitor progress towards casualty reduction targets;
  • obtains the figures for the "rail" and "bus" targets;
  • publishes figures relating to some of the other targets in Scottish Transport Statistics;
  • provides most of the figures which appear in Transport Indicators for Scotland.

6. Main tasks for the Transport Statistics branch in 2006-07

6.1 Household / personal travel:

  • publish the first year's results of new SHS questions on Transport, added in 2005. These cover topics such as views on motoring taxes and charges; views on traffic growth; experience of, and views on, traffic congestion; non-users' views of aspects of rail services; use of Traveline Scotland; frequency of use of concessionary fare passes; motorcycling; and some other topics;
  • publish further analyses on SHS Transport-related results in quarterly articles in the Scottish Transport Review;
  • contribute to the development of the SHS for January 2007 onwards - e.g. to the selection of the contractor(s) who conduct the survey, to consultation with users regarding possible changes to the questions, to decisions on the content of the questionnaire, to the drafting of new questions and the piloting of the new questionnaire, and (as and when the data become available) to the scrutiny of the first month's results from the new questionnaire;
  • contribute to other SHS developments and outputs - (e.g.) assist as required with the Transport-related Topic Reports and parts of the SHS Annual Report;
  • if appropriate, consider detailed follow-up surveys on Transport-related topics.

6.2 Road accident statistics:

  • test the final parts of the new road accident statistics system, as and when they are made available by CISD AST;
  • liaise with data suppliers to resolve any remaining "teething problems" with their returns, following the "2005" changes to the "Stats 19" specification;
  • publish the first results from the Contributory Factors and the other new data collected with effect from 2005;
  • consult LGRAS as and when appropriate - e.g. if views are needed on possible improvements to Road Accidents Scotland.

6.3 Other work, including general user liaison / dissemination:

  • National Transport Strategy:
  • contribute to the analytical work required to inform and monitor the strategy;
  • advise on any consequent needs for transport statistics for Scotland;
  • assist with the preparation of the next edition of Transport Indicators for Scotland, and/or whatever other "measuring and monitoring" documents the Executive decides to produce;
  • liaise with DfT, NAW and NI through the (UK) Transport, Travel and Tourism Theme Working Group, the (GB) Standing Committee on Road Accident Statistics, the (GB) Road Safety Advisory Panel Statistics sub-group and meetings on specific topics;
  • contribute to any DfT-led Quality Reviews of GB-wide Transport statistics systems;
  • consult T&TSAC as and when appropriate - e.g.:
  • at appropriate stages in the review of Transport Indicators for Scotland and/or any other "measuring and monitoring" documents; and
  • to obtain views on possible improvements to our publications and other outputs;
  • if requested, prepare a presentation for the annual Transport Statistics Users Group / Napier University Transport Research Institute joint seminar;
  • improve further Scottish Transport Statistics, in the light of users' views and the advice of T&TSAC;
  • produce the branch's publications and other main outputs within the timetable set out below subject to (a) the availability of resources and (b) data suppliers providing data of sufficient quality in good time. Improvements will be made in the light of (e.g.) users' comments, changes in the availability of data and our identifying other information that we feel it would be useful to include.

6.4 Statistical publications and other main outputs planned for 2006-07:

6.4.1 Statistical publications:


Target (#)

Key 2005 Road Accident Statistics

June 2006

Scottish Transport Statistics, 2006 edition

August 2006

Household Transport in 2005

November 2006

Road Accidents Scotland 2005

November 2006

Travel by Scottish residents in 2004 and 2005 (*, $)

January 2007

SHS Travel Diary results for 2005

March 2007

Bus and Coach Statistics 2005-06

March 2007

Key Transport Statistics "fact card"

If/when appropriate

short articles for the Scottish Transport Review


(#): some targets may be revised in the light of the advice of T&TSAC on the "best" timing for the publication of (e.g.) Scottish Transport Statistics. Any of the targets might have to be revised if suppliers do not provide data of sufficient quality in good time, or if the branch is badly affected by staff changes and/or vacancies

(*): this is not published annually, because one year's sample is too small for the analyses.

($): this provides some Scottish results from DfT's GB-wide National Travel Survey

6.4.2 On the SE Website - spreadsheet versions of

  • all the tables from each publication;
  • updated versions of some Scottish Transport Statistics tables (in some of the cases where a further year's data are available several months before the next edition is published); and
  • extra road accident statistics tables.

6.4.3 Other main outputs:

  • send new and amended road accident statistics records to DfT and WDM (the consultants who maintain the database used by the TRNMD AIP Unit) every month;
  • send "final" (for the purposes of initial publication) road accident statistics data for 2005 to DfT in accordance with the timetable specified by DfT;
  • update and enhance the SHS "for analysis" database, when more data become available;
  • provide anonymised SHS Travel Diary records for use in transport modelling, as and when appropriate; and
  • provide figures for PQs, other bodies' publications, and in response to requests from policy colleagues, researchers and other internal and external enquirers, as and when required.

7. Some topics for which statistics are collected and/or provided by others

  • Figures on some (but not all) of these topics appear in TranStat publications (principally Scottish Transport Statistics):
  • Statistics from various GB/UK-wide systems and surveys (e.g. on vehicles, bus industry and patronage, road freight, overall road traffic volumes, ports and waterborne freight, personal travel, etc) - Department for Transport (DfT);
  • Rail - Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), rail freight companies, Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT), Network Rail;
  • Aviation - Civil Aviation Authority;
  • Trunk road traffic and congestion measures, road lengths returns - TRNMD;
  • Transport Model for Scotland (outputs and underlying data) - TS&LD-TS&TRT;
  • Budget and expenditure - Finance Transport and RPGFD-F&BT;
  • Environment-related statistics - Environment Statistics branch;
  • Commissioned external research - Transport Research branch, TS&LD-TS&TRT and TRNMD;
  • Numerical information on a range of topics (e.g. numbers of proposals approved, numbers of projects funded, measures of trunk road maintenance, etc) - policy and trunk roads colleagues;
  • Numerical information on a range of topics (e.g. traffic and journeys on particular routes, concessionary travel, school transport, condition of local roads, operational information, etc etc) - SPT, local authorities, bus and ferry operators, etc etc.