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Paper 29th November 2004 - TTSAC(04)4


1 Introduction

1.1 This paper informs members of the Committee about some developments in some Scottish Executive (SE) statistics (section 2), and some uses of other types of data about, or related to, Transport in Scotland (section 3). It also seeks advice and views on some measures of "access to services" (section 4).

1.2 Members of the Committee are invited to:

  • note the availability of, and raise any points that they may have about, the Scottish Executive statistics and the other data which are described in sections 2 and 3;
  • advise on how "generalised travel costs" and "geographic access to employment" might be added to the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) system;
  • (if they wish) comment on the need for, points to be considered when defining, and feasibility of developing, any other measures of "access to services" that they feel should be made available.

2 Some developments in Scottish Executive statistics

2.1 Scottish Household Survey and SE Transport Statistics developments are covered in other papers. This section provides information about some other developments.

2.2 The Scottish Executive Population Surveys Co-ordinating Committee, chaired by the Chief Statistician, meets at roughly six-monthly intervals, with the aim of achieving better co-ordination of household based surveys across the Executive. In addition to some basic work mapping the content of the various household surveys, the committee has noted potential longer term developments which may impact on the need for, or scope of, future population Censuses.

2.3 The Scottish Executive hosted a seminar on 2 September to discuss plans by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for integration of the government household surveys on which the ONS leads into one Continuous Popula tion Survey (CPS). The aim is to introduce this from January 2008. The consultation document at: www.statistics.gov.uk/about/consultations/ons_consultations gives full details. A key feature of the CPS is the delivery of a core set of questions to a very large sample, improving the precision of estimates and the geographical level at which they can be provided.

2.4 The General Register Office (Scotland) is holding a series of Census Consultation Workshops in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The agenda will cover 2001 Evaluation, 2006 Census Test, 2011 Census Development, Neighbourhood Statistics and the CPS.

2.5 In addition, GRO(S) has received funding from the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics project to create a team to develop basic, consolidated statistical information on properties and households at neighbourhood level.

2.6 The Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) website at www.sns.gov.uk , updated in October 2004, now includes 1,850 indicators across a range of social, health and economic topics at different geographical levels. The SNS has 6,505 "data zones". These are formed by grouping Census output areas, and have an average population of about 750. Some statistics which cannot be provided for individual data zones (for reasons such as confidentiality or sample size) will be made available for SNS "intermediate zones". These are formed by grouping data zones, and have populations of 2,500 to 6,000. The website provides detailed information about each dataset, and an analysis tool similar to the Census SCROL (Scottish Census Results On-line) facility. SNS includes information on 'drive times' to five services (G.P., post office, petrol station, primary school and supermarket) under the 'access to services' topic.

2.7 The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2004 was published in summer 2004. The index, which identifies the most deprived areas across Scotland, is based on 31 indicators in the six individual domains of: Current Income; Employment; Housing; Health; Education; Skills and Training; and Geographic Access to Services and Telecommunications. SIMD 2004 is presented at data zone level, enabling small pockets of deprivation to be identified. The SIMD website at www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/simd2004/ provides background to the index and data tables, including summaries by local authority area.

3 Some uses of other sources of information about transport in Scotland

3.1 This section mentions some other sources of information about Transport in Scotland, and some uses which have been made of them.

3.2 The development of the Transport Model for Scotland (TMfS) is nearing completion. This is a multi-modal (car, goods and public transport) model providing a detailed representation of the transport network across southern and central Scotland (up to and including Perth and Dundee), plus the north-east as far as the Moray Firth. The 1,100+ TMfS model zones are amalgamations of relevant 2001 census output areas. Unfortunately the new Neighbourhood Statistics Data Zones were not available when the TMfS zoning system was being finalised, so there is currently no direct link between these two zonal geographies).

3.3 The model development has used a wide range of input data, including traffic counts, road-side interviews, public transport data (including rail ticket data), information on relevant current public transport services, car ownership and other relevant demographic data, national trip-end model triprates etc. Scottish Household Survey data was used within the demand model (particularly to estimate return-home proportions for the different model time periods. The model can be used to provide estimates of current and future inter-urban week-day travel patterns (demand, times, costs etc) by time of day across the modelled area. A web-site ( www.tmfs.org.uk) is currently being developed for this project.

3.4 Transport/Economic/Land-use Model of Scotland (TELMoS) - this model is currently being developed by the David Simmonds Consultancy, in conjunction with the Transport Model for Scotland. In incorporates data provided by local authorities on current and future (short, medium and long-term) land-use, separately distinguishing housing, retail, offices, industrial, hotels, leisure, educational establishments etc. This land-use data is combined with relevant economic and demographic forecasts, to predict (among other things) changes in car ownership and travel demand. It is planned to provide more information on TELMoS via the TMfS web-site listed above.

3.5 Up to date information on current bus and rail services, including the location of all (official) bus-stops in Scotland, is now available as a GIS-compatible dataset. This data forms part of the information used to provide the Traveline Scotland on-line/information on local bus and rail services. (See www.travelline.co.uk/acatalog/Scotland.html for details). The Traveline Scotland data is maintained and supplied by Journey Plan (see www.journeyplan.co.uk for further details). The data can also be used directly in accessibility analysis software, for example using the DfT's ACCESSION software which has been developed to enable English local authorities to conduct accessibility analysis for their Local Transport pla ns. Further details of Accession can be obtained from www.acessionGIS.com.

3.6 In addition, there is a growing amount of traffic data becoming available from GPS and other vehicle tracking systems, most notably for freight and other fleet vehicles.

4 Measures of "access to services" for local areas

4.1 This section seeks views on the development of measures of "access to services" for small areas.

4.2 The Scottish Household Survey has a number of measures of "accessibility" including the respondent's estimates of the walking time to the nearest bus stop and the normal off-peak frequency of service there, and the respondent's view of the convenience of various services (post office, bank, doctor's, grocery/food shop, chemists, outpatients, public transport). Transport Statistics publications and the SHS Annual Reports include such statistics for Scotland as a whole, for particular types of area (e.g. for "remote" rural areas, as a whole), and for individual local authorities. The Scottish Executive has also recently commissioned an "SHS Topic Report" on Accessibility and Transport, which will analyse in depth the SHS data on a range of topics which are related to accessibility. (More information about SHS Topic Reports appears in another paper.) However, the SHS's sample size and design means that it cannot provide such figures for small areas (e.g. for a particular part of a city).

4.3 As mentioned earlier, the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) data include the estimated " drive times" to the nearest G.P., post office, petrol station, primary school and supermarket (see note 1 in the Annex). These have been generally welcomed, but there has been some criticism of (a) the lack of information about the ease/difficulty of access to services by people without motor vehicles and (b) the treatment of ferry services.

4.4 The Office of the Chief Statistician (OCS), which is responsible for SNS, has committed itself (see note 2 in the Annex) to:

  • consider using "generalised travel costs" (see note 3 in the Annex) in the 2006 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), while noting that this may take longer to implement;
  • aim to include a measure on geographic access to employment in the 2006 SIMD.

Inclusion in SIMD implies inclusion in SNS, as SIMD is based on SNS data.

4.5 In relation to the first OCS commitment, information on accessibility and public transport and/or generalised travel costs could help SE to develop and monitor programmes associated with two SE targets related to access to services (see note 4 in the Annex).

4.6 In relation to the second OCS commitment, colleagues in SE's Enterprise department are interested in information about geographic access to employment for (e.g.) background / briefing purposes, but advise that measurement becomes quite complex. Travel to work areas are the geographical areas that are generally used, and the cities tend to act as the focal points for workers travelling from/to outlying areas. However, there are also issues for local economies within large settlements (e.g. if there is poor/no public transport between peripheral areas of residence and employment), and for smaller settlements. The Labour Force Survey, the Inter-Departmental Business Registrar (IDBR) and various Department for Work and Pensions data sources are potential sources of information on employment - but they may be unable to provide information for (e.g.) areas within local authorities (e.g.) due to sample size limitations.

4.7 At the SCOTSTAT board meeting in June, there were some informal discussions on the 'cross-cutting' nature of accessibility analysis, including, for example, a need to measure accessibility to employment, education, retail and/or health-care facilities. It is not known whether this will be followed up by a more formal agenda item on accessibility at the next SCOTSTAT board meeting.

4.8 Members of the Committee are invited to advise on how "generalised travel costs" and "geographic access to employment" might be added to the Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) system.

4.9 Members of the Committee may also wish to comment on the need for, points to be considered when defining, and feasibility of developing, any other measures of "access to services" that they feel should be made available.

Annex: Drive times, OCS commitments, Generalised travel costs and SE targets related to access to services

1. Drive times from the population-weighted centre of each Census output area are estimated using information about the location of each service, Ordnance Survey details of the road network, and assumed average speeds for each class of road (e.g. A, B), with ferry sailing times (but not waiting time) added where appropriate. The method is described as computationally intensive, so deriving indicators for further services takes a long time. Output areas' drive times are averaged to obtain the estimated drive time for the data zone as a whole.

SNS has drive times to 5 services (G.P., post office, petrol station, primary school and supermarket). Maps showing the drive times to 20 services (nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools, further and higher education colleges/institutions, GPs, hospitals, dentists, police stations, job centres, citizens advice bureaus, libraries, post offices, automated telling machines, banks and building societies, petrol stations, chemists, convenience / general stores, supermarkets, community internet facilities and community / village halls) appear in "Availability of Services in Rural Scotland"

(October 2002: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/rural/asrs-00.asp). This also has tables giving the percentages of households in various urban/rural categories who are within certain drive times of each of the 20 services, plus four tables showing the percentages by drive time from hospitals with Accident & Emergency, maternity, general surgery in-patient, and general surgery day care services.

2. In December 2002, OCS commissioned the Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice to produce a long-term strategy for measuring area deprivation. The resulting report ( "Measuring Deprivation in Scotland: Developing a Long-term Strategy" -http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/social/mdis-00.asp), made a number of recommendations, including some on the SIMD "Access to Services" domain.. In September 2003, OCS made various commitments in its response ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/social/mdisr-00.asp), including those referred to here.

3. The report defines generalised travel costs thus: "These reflect physical distance but also: type of transport available to an individual; time taken (including time waiting for connections); and convenience or quality of transport. Hence, two neighbours might have different generalised travel costs to reach the same destination if one has a car available to make the journey and the other has to travel by public transport. For the area as a whole, the cost of reaching a given destination (GP, shop, etc.) would be the average of the cost of getting there by car and the cost of using public transport, weighted by the proportion of the population relying on each mode."

4. In "Building a Better Scotland: Spending Proposals 2005-2008" (29 September 2004), SE adopted two targets related to access to services:

  • promote community regeneration of the most deprived neighbourhoods, through particular improvements by March 2008 in employability, education, health, access to local services, and quality of the local environment (Communities target 7);
  • by March 2008, improve service delivery in rural areas so that agreed improvements in accessibility and quality are achieved for key services in remote and disadvantaged areas (Environment and Rural Affairs target 7).