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Paper 25th September 2002 - TTSAC(02)8


1 Introduction

1.1 The purpose of this paper is to seek the views of Members of the Committee on points which might be included in the Scottish Executive (SE) Statistics Plan for 2003-04. It should be noted that, as the Plan will cover (essentially) only the Government Statistical Service work of SE, the "Transport" part will cover only the work of the SE Transport Statistics branch: it will not cover numerical work which is the responsibility of others within SE, such as surveys to collect data for the Transport Model for Scotland and the development of the Scottish Roads Traffic Database. Their representatives at the meeting may wish to mention their plans.

1.2 In February, the Secretary sent Members of the Committee a copy of the "Transport" part of the final draft of the SE Statistics Plan for 2002-03, along with some other material.

2 Continuation of existing work

2.1 It is intended that all the branch's existing work would continue in 2003-04. This includes the production of the following publications, which should appear around the specified months:

  • Key Road Accident Statistics - June 2003
  • Scottish Transport Statistics - July or August 2003
  • Road Accidents Scotland - October or November 2003
  • Household Transport… - October or November 2003
  • Transport Across Scotland… - November or December 2003
  • SHS Travel Diary results - January or February 2004
  • Bus and Coach Statistics - February or March 2004

Where appropriate, improvements would be made to some of the above publications. With the exception of Transport Across Scotland… (which is published biennially, because the Scottish Household Survey [SHS] cannot provide annual results for most local authorities), each is updated annually, and provides figures for the latest year available at the time of going to press. For example, our bulletins of SHS results ( Household Transport, Transport Across Scotland… and SHS Travel Diary results) would provide figures for 2002 or the two-year period 2001-2002. The SHS data for 2002 should be finalised in time for the SHS Annual Report for that year to appear in Autumn 2003. We hope to publish our bulletins of SHS results as soon as is practicable thereafter.

Members of the Committee are invited to comment on the above possible schedule of publications for 2003-04.

2.2 Travel by Scottish residents: some National Travel Survey results is currently published triennially. The latest edition appeared in April 2002, covering results up to 1998/2000, so another edition is not due in 2003-04. However, as the NTS sample size was tripled with effect from the start of 2002, this bulletin could be published more frequently than hitherto.

Do Members of the Committee feel that this bulletin should be produced more often?

2.3 The branch would also provide further SHS Transport-related results in short articles for the quarterly Scottish Transport Review, and contribute to seminars where appropriate.

2.4 Other continuing work would include the processing of the road accident statistical returns submitted by Police Forces, the supply of data to DfT for inclusion in the GB road accident statistics database, the production of an anonymised SHS Travel Diary dataset for 2002 for the UK Data Archive, and the provision of statistics in response to ad-hoc requests.

3 Possible new developments

3.1 This section describes our current thinking, which is, of course, subject to revision in the light of developments and the advice of the Committee.

3.2 We will publish analyses of the SHS's new Transport-related questions in the bulletins of SHS Transport results, and in the articles for the quarterly Scottish Transport Review.

3.3 We will look at trends in the first four years' results from the SHS, for example comparing the two sets of "two year sweep" results for individual local authorities.

3.4 When the results of the Census become available, we will compare the results of its "cars or vans available" and "travel to work or place of study" questions with those of the SHS, for a number of different areas and population sub-groups, in order to assess the likely reliability of the SHS results.

3.5 We will liaise with police forces, local authorities and others regarding the preparation for what may be extensive changes to the road accident statistics system, following the current Quality Review. We will distribute details of the review's conclusions, and documentation of the new "STATS 19" format etc that will apply from (probably) January 2005, to members of the Liaison Group on Road Accident Statistics and other interested parties. For example, we will hold a meeting of LGRAS in Spring 2003, to discuss the outcome of the review and the implementation of the recommended changes, to help Police Forces and Councils to find out what changes must be made to their systems. We will also visit Police Forces and local authorities, where necessary, to discuss these matters.

3.6 If time permits, we will consider restructuring the chapters of Scottish Transport Statistics, in order to facilitate the publication on the SE Web site, in the 6-9 months following the appearance of each edition, of updated versions of some of the tables, in cases where further year's figures become available several months before the publication of the next edition.

3.7 Following the outcome of a pilot exercise in Autumn 2002 we aim, by March 2004 to develop and implement systematic monitoring and reporting of trends in congestion in the most heavily trafficked parts of the Trunk Road network. Congestion measurement will be based on estimates of journey times over relevant parts of the network. Following consideration of the recommendations of the TRI/ TRL research study into road traffic measurement in Scotland we will aim, with DfT during 2003-04 to implement agreed improvements in organisation, data gathering, and estimation.

3.8 Members of the Committee are invited to comment on these possible developments, and to give their views on what else the SE Transport Statistics branch might consider doing in 2003-04. For example, do they feel that there is a need for:

  • new analyses / publications of existing data?
  • (anonymised) data held by SE to be made available more widely, or in new formats?
  • more information to be collected by existing surveys?
  • particular information gaps or needs to be addressed, for example by the collection of statistics on new topics