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Paper 29th November 2004 - TTSAC(04)1


1. This paper informs Members of the Committee about the development of the Scottish Executive's Transport progress indicators, and seeks their comments and suggestions for possible further improvements.

The first edition of Transport Indicators for Scotland

2. Members of the Committee will recall that Transport Indicators for Scotland was published in December 2002. It can be found on the Scottish Executive Web site, at:


(NB: if you look for it at www.scotland.gov.uk/transtat you will find it under "Related Areas" rather than "Publications", because it is not a Transport Statistics publication.)

Unfortunately, we cannot provide any printed copies, as the stock of them has been exhausted.

3. There are eleven indicators, some of which involve several different sets of statistics relating to the same indicator. They are presented in a series of graphs, generally showing the trends since 1995. In some cases, figures are not available for all the years. The document stated that such indicators may be expanded later, when more years' figures become available, to show the trends over several years. In other cases, no figures at all were available, and the document noted that the Executive would have to collect suitable data.

4. In summary, the indicators are:

  • Road traffic volumes - major roads, minor roads, all roads;
  • Passenger journeys by public transport - bus, rail, air, ferry and HIAL airports;
  • Freight lifted - road, coastal shipping, pipeline, inland waterway, rail;
  • Road traffic congestion - figures not yet available;
  • Condition of the road network - residual life of trunk road surface (% in various bands);
  • Transport emissions - the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulates (PM10) measured at sites in the centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow;
  • Accessibility of local bus services - walking time to nearest bus stop for six different types of urban and rural area (% of households in various bands), "latest year" figures only;
  • Short journeys - modal shares for journeys of different lengths, "latest year" figures only;
  • Travel to work and school - modal shares for large urban areas, other urban areas and small towns, "latest year" figures only;
  • Road accident casualties - all casualties and child casualties, by severity;
  • Access to public transport information - figures not yet available.

5. At that time, the Executive said that it would monitor progress against these indicators, review them on a regular basis and publish an annual update on the Scottish Executive website, and that where it had not set targets and/or had a requirement to begin collecting data, it intended to further develop and refine the progress indicators over the coming 12 months.

Consultation on, and preparation of, the second edition

5. At the previous meeting, the Committee discussed the indicators (paper TTSAC[03] 4). There was also a presentation on, and discussion of, the indicators at last year's Transport Statistics Users Group / Napier University Transport Research Institute seminar. Members of the Committee, the TRi/TSUG e-mail list and the ScotStat Transport e-mail list were then invited to comment on the indicators. Having considered the views expressed, SE Transport Statistics and policy colle agues met members of the Committee's sub-group on indicators and representatives of the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), and discussed the changes which the Executive intended to make for the next edition. We are very grateful to all who commented on the indicators, and particularly appreciate the time spent on them, and the advice given to us, by the members of the Committee's sub-group and the representatives of SCOTS.

6. The comments and suggestions made during this review showed that there is a lot of interest in the indicators and a desire to see many more. We identified, for inclusion in the first update, those suggestions which appeared the most valuable and which could be implemented without any additional data collection cost. We were reluctant to expand greatly the indicators, because that would mean a loss of focus. There are many other publications and other sources of data on Transport in Scotland, and we will provide "pointers" to these.

7. A draft second edition was duly prepared and put to the Minister for Transport, but its finalisation was delayed by other matters, such as the development and publication of the Transport White Paper of June 2004. The Minister then decided that the next edition should appear towards the end of 2004, so that it could take account of points arising from the Spending Review. Members of the Committee will recall that Frank Dixon's e-mail of 25 June informed them of this, and offered to send them the Excel workbook which showed all the charts which were, at that time, intended for inclusion in the next edition.

8. In September, the draft was revised to take account of figures for another year becoming available for many of the indicators, the publication of the Transport White Paper and the outcome of the 2004 Spending Review. It was then put to the Minister and to the Cabinet Sub -Committee on Sustainable Development (some of whose members have an interest in the transport indicators because some sustainable development indicators relate to transport). At the time of writing, we await their comments.

9. As the draft stands at present, the main changes to the material that appeared in the first edition are likely to be:

  • We have attempted to limit the text to brief comment on the policy context to allow the figures in the document to speak for themselves and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
  • Road Traffic Volumes - separate lines included for "Motorways", "Trunk A Roads" and "Local Authority A roads"; extra charts showing the total volume of traffic for the four main cities, the average occupancy of cars and the percentage which have only a driver.
  • Passenger Journeys by Public Transport - extra charts showing the numbers of passengers on flights to/from elsewhere in Scotland, UK offshore, elsewhere in the UK, and outwith the UK; and the average miles travelled per person per year by various modes of transport.
  • Freight Lifted - extra charts showing the total freight moved (tonne-kilometres) by various modes of transport, distinguishing (where possible) between journeys with a destination within Scotland and outwith Scotland.
  • Accessibility of Local Bus Services - renamed, and extra charts showing the frequency of service and the percentages of adults finding it "convenient" to use various types of service (e.g. Post Office, Public Transport).
  • Short Journeys - extra charts showing the average lengths of journeys for different purposes and the percentages which are of various lengths.
  • Travel to Work, to School and for Other Purposes - extra charts showing the trends in travel to work and to school, and the percentages of (a) trips by purpose; (b) shopping trips by mode; and (c) leisure trips by mode.
  • Road Accident Casualties- an extra graph showing the numbers killed.
  • Annex A - revised in light of the outcome of the 2004 Spending Review.

10. In addition, we are adding an introductory section, setting out the five key objectives for transport (economy; environment; social inclusion; safety; and integration) and drawing out some key findings. A short new section is also being added, to show how some levels and trends for Scotland compare with those for Great Britain as a whole, and how some figures for Scotland compare with those for some other European countries. Finally, the indicators will be more clearly linked to each of the objectives for Transport.

11. It is hoped that the second edition of Transport Indicators for Scotland will be published at the end of November 2004 ( but this is not certain as it depends on Ministerial clearance). When it is published, copies will be sent to members of the Committee, and it will be made available on the SE Web site.

Consultations for the third edition

12. SE intends to continue to monitor progress against these indicators, to review them on a regular basis, to develop and refine them as appropriate, and to publish updates (ideally annually).

13. SE will again seek the views of interested parties when reviewing and updating the indicators for the third edition of Transport Indicators for Scotland. The preparation of the third edition is likely to be taking place against the backdrop of preparation of a National Transport Strategy, the creation of a transport agency, the progress of a Bill to create Regional Transport Partnerships, and the drafting by the latter of their Regional Transport Strategies. Both the National and Regional Strategies will be prepared in the context of the five key objectives for transport - economy, environment, social inclusion, safety and integration - and views are particularly sought on how the indicators might most directly reflect and inform those key objectives.

14. This meeting of the Committee represents the start of the consultation process for the preparation of the third edition. As before, SE would welcome the views of members of the Committee in discussion at the meeting, and would also appreciate any comments which they (and the organisations which are represented on the Committee, or which receive its papers) wish to provide later. SE will also ask members of the TRi/TSUG and ScotStat Transport e-mail lists for their comments and suggestion, and expects to convene a meeting of the Committee's sub-group on indicators, in a few months, to discuss the way forward in the light of the views expressed in the consultation.

15. Members of the Committee are invited to comment on

  • the Scottish Executive's Transport progress indicators, and
  • the way in which they are presented.

The Executive would welcome Members'

  • suggestions for po ssible developments and improvements to the indicators , particularly focused on how we can more directly link the indicators to the five key objectives for transport and
  • views on the implications for the collection of the statistics from which indicators may be produced.