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Paper 29th April 2002 - TTSAC(02)2



1. Under the National Statistics arrangements, the Scottish Executive publishes a programme of the planned National Statistics releases for the year ahead. The list shows, for of each release, the expected month of publication, which may be subject to change for practical reasons (such as the effects of staff vacancies or changes upon the timetable). The Executive will update the programme every quarter.

2. A definite date for each publication will be specified in the Executive's monthly "preannouncement" of the publications which will appear in the following month. For example, a definite date for each "May" publication will be made public in April, in the Executive's preannouncement of the dates of the publications which will appear in May.

3. A copy of the Transport Statistics contribution to the first such forward programme was sent to Members of the Committee with the minutes of the previous meeting. The table below gives the details that were included in that list, together with the planned releases for a further quarter, which may be included in the first update to the programme.

4. Members of the Committee are asked for their views on the scheduling of publications, which will inform the next version of the Executive's forward programme of National Statistics releases, which will cover the period July 2002 to June 2003: for example, should some publications be produced earlier and others produced later? The following background points should be noted:

  • Because a compendium publication like "Scottish Transport Statistics" contains figures from a variety of sources, some of the figures in it will become out of date quite quickly, no matter when it is published. Traditionally, most of the figures in "Scottish Transport Statistics" have related to calendar years, and it has been published in the late summer because figures for the latest calendar year tend to become available in the late spring / early summer (this is not always the case - for example, the results of DTLR's Waterborne Freight survey for the previous calendar year do not become available until the autumn.) If the publication of "Scottish Transport Statistics" were delayed until figures for the latest financial year were available for inclusion, it would probably not appear until Christmas / New Year (because, say, the results of DTLR's Bus and Coach statistics survey for the previous financial year tend not to be available until October / November).
  • The results of the Scottish Household Survey for a calendar year tend to be finalised in the late summer / early autumn (the annual report for 1999 was published in September 2000, and that for the two-year period 1999/2000 in October 2001). While we can publish "provisional" SHS results before then, in summary tables in "Scottish Transport Statistics", we would not wish to produce a bulletin analysing the SHS results for the latest calendar year in detail until that year's data had been finalised for the SHS annual report. So, Transport Statistics bulletins of SHS results for (say) 2001 (or for 1999 to 2001) cannot be published until after (say) October 2002.
  • "Scottish Transport Statistics" and "Road Accidents Scotland" require about four personmonths work each (within the Transport Statistics branch), considerably more than the statistical bulletins (about 1-3 person-weeks each). Therefore, it would be easier for the Executive to advance the publication date of one or more of the statistical bulletins than it would be to publish a statistical volume earlier. However, we could not reschedule a lot of the work on some publications to be done at the same time as other publications are being prepared, because we cannot "do everything at once".
  • In the decade or so up to the start of 2002, the National Travel Survey sample included only 300 or so Scottish households per year, so one cannot obtain results for individual years and the samples for three year periods are combined for analysis. Therefore, "Travel by Scottish residents" has only been updated triennially, and an updated version is not due to be published in the period covered by the draft forward programme.
  • The Scottish Household Survey is designed to produce results for individual local authorities only for two-year periods. Therefore, "Transport across Scotland" will only be updated biennially, and an updated version is not due to be published in the period covered by the forward programme.


    Provisional publication date

    Type *

    Travel by Scottish residents: some National Travel Survey results

    April 2002 (precise date now set: 23 April)


    Household Transport: some Scottish Household Survey results

    (delayed edition with "2000" data)

    May 2002 (precise date to be set shortly)


    Key Road Accident Statistics

    June 2002


    Scottish Transport Statistics

    end-July / early-Aug 2002


    Road Accidents Scotland

    end-Oct / early-Nov 2002


    Household Transport: some Scottish Household Survey results

    (edition with "2001" data)

    Dec 2002


    SHS Travel Diary results

    Feb 2003


    Bus and Coach Statistics

    Mar 2003


    Key Road Accident Statistics

    June 2003


* B = Bulletin P = Publication (other than Bulletin, News Release, and other "specific" types)

5. Members of the Committee should have received copies of all Scottish Executive Transport Statistics publications that have appeared in the past year or so. They are invited to suggest improvements, such as changes to existing publications and possible new ones. Of course, the Executive cannot promise to make all the changes that Members might like (the resources available to produce publications are limited, and some of the kinds of data that members would wish to see analysed may be unavailable). However, it would be helpful to have Members' views on the publications that are produced at present, and on improvements that they would like to see - for example:

  • Which publications (or parts thereof) do they consider to be the most useful, and why?
  • What information or analyses would they like added to existing publications?
  • What changes would they like to see made in the way that the information is presented in the publications - for example, should there be more (or fewer) tables, charts, sections of commentary, and notes and definitions?
  • What publications (or parts thereof) do they consider to be the least useful, and why? Is there anything that they feel should be dropped from existing publications?