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Paper 25th September 2002 - TTSAC(02)7


Major drivers underlying the development of transport statistics are:

  • sustainable transport: DfT's Ten Year Transport Plan;
  • reducing and monitoring road congestion;
  • road safety strategy and targets for casualty reduction;
  • regional transport strategies;
  • transport input to Neighbourhood Statistics initiative
  • supporting Local authorities in monitoring Local Transport Plans
  • responding to and exploiting developments in IT.

Major development tasks for 2003

National Travel survey

The new expanded survey has now been in the field for 6 months. Response rates have been a bit disappointing, but a trial of incentive payments, which started in July, has given some initial promising results.

Work is continuing on imputation method and a contract on weighting will be let in early 2003. Weighting of the NTS is a complex issue, because of the individual diaries.

The Internet based system for customers to run their own NTS tables is still causing some problems - results are not always reliable, so it has not yet been fully released.

Neighbourhood Statistics

A statistician has been recruited to head a new branch in DfT. The work will partly involve disaggregating administrative statistics to neighbourhood level, and partly specifying new methods for local authorities to monitor access to services at very local level. Establishing valid, feasible and cost effective indicators for local authorities to collect and use is the key element of this work. Discussions are underway with the SEU, Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, ONS and a wide range of local authorities.

Transport Indicators

A progress report on the 10-year plan will be published before the end of 2002. In December we plan to publish a revised version of Transport Trends. This will comprise key indicators and analyses.

Congestion monitoring

DfT has developed a method for monitoring road congestion in England. The first results, which will relate to the baseline year (2000), should be published before the end of 2002. Subsequent results will be used to monitor progress towards the Ten-Year Plan target to bring congestion in larger urban areas and on inter-urban trunk roads below 2000 levels by 2010. DfT will advise LAs on the requirements for LTPs.

Vehicle Excise Duty Evasion

DfT plans to run major surveys every 3 years. The next report is for evasion in 2002/03.

Road Traffic

Work has started on producing traffic figures for local authority areas. This will be finished in 2002/03 in advance of the formal Quality Review of traffic statistics in 2003/04.

National Road Maintenance Conditions Survey.

The introduction of new management systems for road maintenance in highway authorities has provided the opportunity to phase out existing statistical surveys and instead derive statistics from operational systems. The changeover will be phased over three years, starting in 2002, and leading in due course to efficiency savings and more comprehensive estimates of road conditions, with particular emphasis on local authority comparisons and the need for treatment.

Road accident statistics.

The Quality Review of road accident statistics is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2003. A consultation document was distributed widely in July 2001, seeking the views of users and providers of the statistics. Many suggestions were received, and have been considered in the review by the Standing Committee on Road Accident Statistics that includes representatives of local authorities, central government and the police from England, Wales and Scotland. One key issue is the collection of information on contributory factors to accidents.

Road Freight Statistics

Preliminary results from the two new statistical surveys on the activity of vans should be available in 2003. One of the surveys will collect details about company-owned van activity with the other survey covering vans owned by households. The business survey will be a continuous statutory enquiry, from December 2002, undertaken in-house along the lines of the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport. MORI has been contracted to carry out the household survey that will also record key demographic characteristics of the vehicle owners. It will run for a year from October 2002, with the possibility of repeat surveys in later years.

DfT is exploring the potential of Intelligent Transport Systems to supplement and eventually replace the information currently collected about HGVs and vans on the paper-based surveys. A research project is being commissioned to explore the availability and coverage of data relating to HGVs, the initial results of which should be available in early 2003.

The Quality Assurance Review of DfT's three road freight surveys is due for completion in 2002. This has been a fundamental review involving consultation with a wide range of users and suppliers. A report on the Review's findings will be provided to the National Statistician by December 2002. The results will feed into development of replacement IT systems for DfT's road freight surveys.


DfT is still in discussion with the SRA and EUROSTAT on the implementation of the new Rail Statistics Regulation. Formal discussions about bringing rail statistics within scope of National Statistics have not yet started.


Aviation Statistics Regulation : Member States have been providing data to Eurostat on a voluntary basis for a number of years. For UK, data are provided by the Civil Aviation Authority. It has not been possible however to formalise the regulation because of the UK/Spain Gibraltar dispute. However, agreement has now been reached that the regulation can proceed. It is likely to be approved by the end of the year.

Bus and Coach

The Quality review of bus and coach statistics is due to complete in October 2002. A draft report has now been received from the consultants and is being considered by the Steering Group.

The Government's emphasis on delivery of public services also means that we may face demands for more frequent updates of bus patronage.

Maritime statistics

Develop new information on the number of UK seafarers and trainees

Better information on seafarers and trainees is needed for policy, to measure the effect of the tonnage tax on the employment of UK seafarers and to monitor the supply of UK seafarers to ensure a viable UK maritime related industry in the future, both at sea and on-shore. A Sub-Group of the Shipping Task Force was set up by DfT to improve seafarer estimates. The Sub-Group has agreed a work plan which includes a new on-going survey of trainees, enhancements to a new jointly funded Chamber of Shipping manpower survey which will include non-Chamber members, a feasibility study looking into the possibility of making better use of seafarer administrative records, and a study updating estimates of the employment of shore based seafarers.

Port infrastructure and manpower statistics

There is a commitment in the policy paper Modern Ports to benchmarking port performance. The Transport Select Committee on Ports has raised concerns about the inadequacy of port statistics and in particular the lack of manpower data to judge the safety of the industry and to establish the economic importance of ports to local communities. Ports associations have been consulted and a working group is to be set up to identify and then collect key information on ports. This information will also form the basis for port benchmarking and indicators.

Analysis and dissemination system for maritime freight statistics

The new data collection system for maritime freight introduced in 2000 contains much more detail on routes and vessel characteristics, and there is a commitment in the policy paper Modern Ports to consult potential users of this information on making the best use of it. The Department has consulted port associations about making this data more widely available for detailed analysis, and will consult others in the industry eg shipping lines and agents, maritime consultants, to maximise the usefulness of this new information system to the maritime industry.

Review of inland waters freight traffic

The Freight Study Group set up by the Department to examine the scope for increasing freight traffic on inland waterways recommended a review of the utility of the available inland waters freight traffic information, the presentation of information, and the methodology and definitions used. This review is also being undertaken as part of the National Statistics Quality Review programme.