TTSAC(02)1 - RECENT AND FORTHCOMING DEVELOPMENTS
1.1 The purpose of this paper is to inform members of the Committee about recent and forthcoming developments in statistics about some aspects of transport in Scotland. Because the Committee has been set up as part of the Scottish Executive (SE) National Statistics consultation arrangements, this paper covers only the work of the SE Transport Statistics branch, as this is the body whose activities are likely to be influenced most by the advice of the Committee. However, other branches within SE and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) also have statistics about transport in Scotland, and their representatives at the meeting may wish to mention developments in their areas.
1.2 Members of the Committee should receive a copy of each of the branch's publications within a few days of it being published. Please contact the Secretary if you did not receive a copy of any of the publications listed in Section 2.
2. Recent developments (SE Transport Statistics branch only)
2.1 Road Accidents Scotland 2000 was published in November. It included a new five page section on statistics related to the casualty reduction targets for 2010 (the 1994-98 average, 1999 and 2000 figures for various road user types) and a few other improvements.
2.2 Users of Road Accidents Scotland were invited to comment on proposals for changes, and to suggest any improvements that they would like made, for the "2001" edition, which will be the first to include detailed comparisons with the baseline figures for the targets for reductions in casualties by 2010 (instead of the previous comparisons with the baselines for the targets for 2000). Fifteen external users completed the questionnaire which was distributed with the printed copies and made available from the Web version of the publication. (In comparison, 38 external users responded to a similar survey of readers of Scottish Household Survey publications.) Their responses have been brought together into a paper, which will be put to the next meeting of the Liaison Group on Road Accident Statistics, along with details of the additional changes that it is proposed to make to Road Accidents Scotland, in the light of the' views expressed by users.
2.3 A new bulletin, Transport across Scotland: some Scottish Household Survey results for parts of Scotland, was published in December. This gave a selection of Transport-related results for local authority areas.
2.4 A new bulletin, Scottish Household Survey Travel Diary results was published in February. This followed the completion of the work to develop the data collected by the SHS Travel Diary, which included the imputation of some missing details and unreported journeys.
2.5 Bus and Coach Statistics 2000-2001 was published in March 2002. It was much larger than previous editions, due to the inclusion of various "bus-related" Scottish Household Survey results.
2.6 The changes which were made to the Scottish Household Survey at the start of 2002 were described in a note which was sent to members of the committee at the end of February, along with the minutes of the previous meeting. The branch contributed to the business case for the continuation of the SHS, which was approved by Ministers at the end of March. The Central Research Unit has issued invitations for tenders for the next four year SHS contract.
2.7 The branch participated in the GB-wide road accident statistics Quality Review, which considered suggestions and developed proposals for changes to the statistical system.
2.8 The TRL/ TRI study of the information and methodologies used to compile estimates of road traffic volumes for Scotland is nearly complete. The final report has been delayed to incorporate researchers responses to issues raised from initial conclusions in the draft report.
3. Forthcoming developments (SE Transport Statistics branch only)
3.1 This section describes the branch's current plans, which are, of course, subject to revision in the light of developments and the advice of the Committee.
3.2 The branch's Executive Officer will move to a new post on 25 April. At the time of writing, it is not known who will be his successor, nor when a replacement will arrive. As the branch has only 4½ FTE staff, any change reduces its "capacity" significantly, until the new person "gets up to speed", particularly if the post is vacant for three months (as happened the last time that the Executive Officer changed). This may affect some of the branch's planned developments - for example, it may delay the publication of Scottish Transport Statistics.
3.3 Travel by Scottish residents: some National Travel Survey results will be published on 23 April. This will be an update of the bulletin published in March 1999 (it has not been updated since then because, prior to 2002, the NTS's sample contained only about 300 Scottish households per year, and therefore results were produced only for three year periods).
3.4 The documentation of the Scottish Household Survey Travel Diary data, including the procedures used for imputation, will be finalised. An anonymised SHS Travel Diary dataset for 1999 and 2000 will be deposited at the UK Data Archive.
3.5 The Transport Delivery Report stated (on page 17) that the Executive would publish indicators, "based upon work undertaken by a sub-group of the National Transport Forum for Scotland", which will "illustrate progress against the core themes in the Executive's transport policy". The branch will contribute to the production of these indicators, and to their updating in due course.
3.6 Household Transport in 1999 and 2000: some Scottish Household Survey results will be published in May. This will be an update of a bulletin published in January 2001, and will cover the same main topics. Some of the tables will be modified to compare some figures for 1999 and 2000. It will include some new analyses, and omit some of the topics from the previous edition (e.g. some "bus-related" results, which will henceforth appear in the Bus and Coach Statistics bulletin).
3.7 Key 2001 Road Accident Statistics will be published in June. It will be revised to include some of the material on monitoring progress towards the casualty reduction targets for 2010 which was added to Road Accidents Scotland 2000. This bulletin makes available quickly the provisional "headline" figures for the latest calendar year: Road Accidents Scotland contains the detailed analyses.
3.8 The branch will continue to participate in the GB-wide road accident statistics Quality Review. The Liaison Group on Road Accident Statistics will meet on 17 June, to discuss the draft proposals for changes (most of which - we hope - will be clear by then) and the amount of time that Police Forces and Councils will need to amend their systems to take account of whatever changes are finally agreed. LGRAS will also be informed of the results of the survey of users of Road Accidents Scotland, and invited to comment on the consequent proposals for changes for the next edition of the publication.
3.9 The branch will assist with the selection of the contractor for the next four years of the Scottish Household Survey. The branch will review the SHS's Transport-related content in the light of experience and the views expressed in (e.g.) the Central Research Unit's forthcoming consultation (probably in May or June) of SHS users on the topics that the survey should cover in 2003 and later years. The branch will then contribute to the development of the Transportrelated questions and other aspects of the survey.
3.10 Scottish Transport Statistics should be published in August. A few improvements are planned.
3.11 Road Accidents Scotland 2001 should be published in November. It will be revised to include detailed comparisons with the baseline figures for the targets for reductions in casualties by 2010 (instead of the previous comparisons with the baselines for the targets for 2000), and in other ways, in the light of the survey of users of the publication.
3.12 Household Transport in 2001: some Scottish Household Survey results should be published in December. This will be an update of the bulletin published in May. Most of the tables will be modified to compare some figures for 1999, 2000 and 2001. The bulletin will also analyse some Transport-related questions that were added to the survey at the start of 2001.
3.13 In the light of the results of the study by TRL and TRI, with DTLR and others, we will consider how the estimates of road traffic volumes for Scotland, and areas within Scotland, might be improved. We are also looking at commissioning an analysis of information from automatic traffic counters on major roads to identify key traffic trends.