We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Paper 29th November 2004 - TTSAC(04)6


If you require any further information about any of the points covered in this paper please contact Lucy de Jong, Department for Transport, TSF3, Great Minster House, London, SW1P 4DR.

lucy.de.jong@dft.gov.uk Tel:0207 944 4129

Or, if they prefer, members of the committee are welcome to raise at the meeting any points which they feel are likely to be of interest to others.


1. Major drivers underlying the development of transport statistics are:

  • The overarching strategy for sustainable transport encapsulated in the White Paper Future of Transport , published in July 2004: in particular
  • ­DfT's PSA targets:

- to reduce road casualties, in particular in disadvantaged communities;

- to reduce congestion,

- to improve quality of rail and local public transport

- to improve air quality
  • the development of Local Transport Plans and Regional Transport Strategies
  • strategies on social exclusion and neighbourhood renewal, in particular in support of the recommendations in the Social Exclusion Unit report on transport and social exclusion, Making the Connections (February 2003);
  • National Statistics standards, particularly those on quality and efficiency;
  • International considerations, particularly EU legislative requirements.
  • Responding to and exploiting developments in data sources and IT.

2. In pursuit of these priorities, key items in our work programme are:

  • Developing a system to collect information about factors that contribute to road accidents
  • Exploring new data sources to enhance monitoring of road congestion
  • Develop new formula to allocate capital funding for transport to Local Authorities, and develop better mechanisms for monitoring local performance
  • Delivering software and indicators to assist LAs in developing accessibility planning
  • Assessing the available information on transpor t and the environment.
  • Exploring the potential of Intelligent Transport Systems as a cost-effective means of data collection.

A fuller description of these and other items in our Work Programme follows.

Development tasks

Road accident statistics

3. The Quality Review of Road Accident Statistics has been completed and police and local authorities have been informed of the agreed changes, which include a new system for the collection of information about contributory factors to accidents. The new specification for data collection will come into effect in January 2005.

4. Results of a trial for the collection of information on contributory factors to accidents were published in Road Casualties Great Britain, and two accompanying web articles, in September 2004

5. Work has been completed on the development of a national form, which will cover both evidence gathering and statistics. Work continues on a complementary, self-completion form for use when members of the public report accidents at police stations.

6. DfT will make a substantial contribution over the next three years to a project by the Police IT Organisation to develop computerised systems for the police to collect information on incidents, using hand-held devices. The first application area will be for information about injury accidents.

7. Statistics of road accident rates for local authorities in England were published on the Department's website in February 2004.

Roads and road traffic

8. Work has start on the Quality Review of Road Traffic Statistics. User views are being sought through a questionnaire, and a TSUG seminar was held on 4 October. The review is planned to be completed early in summer 2005.

9. There are major quality improvements in hand to the methods for monitoring road conditions. The National Road Maintenance Condition Survey (NRMCS) in England and Wales currently includes visual surveys of defects at sample sites on local roads. Following investigation by DfT, it is now intended to move to surveying all local roads using more objective machine based surveys similar to those used by the Highways Agency on trunk roads. By 2005 or 2006, we hope that machine based surveys will be rolled out across all road classes throughout the country. They should provide consistent and comparable information for monitoring road conditions at both national and local level.

10. The DfT is enhancing its capability to monitor congestion by developing existing and new data sources (for example GPS data derived from in-vehicle tracking devices) and measures which better reflect the key aspects of congestion, such as delays (including those caused by roadworks and incidents), journey time reliability and peak spreading.

11. In particular the DfT has secured an agreement that will provide data collected from satellite navigation systems fitted in over 50,000 private and commercial vehicles. Subject to quality checks, this will enable DfT to produce more detailed reports on the pattern and location of congestion, identifying congestion hot-spots and showing the impact of measures to tackle the problems. The resulting information will be available for use by DfT, the Highways Agency, Transport Direct and local authorities.

12. The DfT has increased the frequency of its Vehicle Excise Duty Evasion surveys from three to one year and is developing methods to produce quarterly estimates of trends. This will help to monitor the effectiveness of DVLA's initiatives to tackle VED evasion.

Bus and coach statistics

13. DfT is implementing recommendations of the Quality Review of Bus and Coach Statistics. The quality review commenced in April 2002 and a report was published in June 2003. Specific plans include developing a new methodology for the bus fares index, improving the accuracy of the bus patronage figures and developing a national index of bus punctuality. Discussions with bus operators should lead to progress on collecting the relevant data to publish an improved bus fares index.

14. Various minor changes are planned to improve the current estimates, once the data have been transferred from the SIR database to ACCESS.

15. Patronage figures will remain unreliable because of the uncertainty of the allowances that need to be applied to the raw data to account for passengers using season tickets and other off-bus fares. Drivers/conductors are supposed to record these passengers, but often do not. However, many of the most important bus operators opted to record their patronage and other data using the ODPM web server called InterForm. This is expected to lead to improvements in data quality.

16. A bus punctuality pilot was conducted across GB in March 2004. The results of the pilot are presently being considered by interested parties including the Traffic Commissioners who are responsible for setting and enforcing bus punctuality standards.

17. DfT has arranged to add questions to the British Crime Survey about fear of crime on public transport. Results will complement regular statistics of crime and vandalism on public transport

Rail statistics:

18. A new EU Rail Regulation was implemented from January 2004. This requires the UK to provide rail statistics to enable the Commission to develop and monitor a common transport policy. Most of the statistics requested are already collected by the Department for Transport, the Strategic Rail Authority and the Rail Safety and Standards Board. Some of the later series will require more detail than hitherto, e.g., the NUTS ones - which will be of interest to Scotland. First results from the new arrangements are expected October 2005.

19. Extra resources in the form of a new Grade 7 post have been made available to provide statistical support for rail policy.

20. The recent rail review made proposals for improving data quality and flows within the industry and Government, including the possibility of bringing published rail statistics within the scope of National Statistics. These proposals are still being worked through.

Road freight

21. The Quality Review of Road Freight Statistics was published in March 2004. Work to implement recommendations of the review is being pursued.

22. The Review concluded that the surveys broadly met user requirements and that the majority of survey respondents had no difficulties in supply the data. A number of additional user requirements were identified, some of them to meet Eurostat obligations.

23. Key outcomes of the Review were:

  • the introduction of a new survey of HGVs registered in Northern Ireland to improve the statistics about road freight activity in Ireland; and
  • the development of a new IT system to collate and analyse road freight data, enabling the department to better meet user requirements. The new system incorporates updates to the geographic coding, at a finer level of detail, of origins and destinations in the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport (CSRGT) and International Road Haulage Survey (IRHS).

24. DfT is also exploring the potential of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to supplement and eventually replace the information currently collected about HGVs and vans by means of paper-based surveys. A research project to explore the availability and coverage of data relating to goods vehicles has been completed by TRL. It concluded that, whilst ITS has the potential to achieve these aims, the take up of ITS so far among HGVs has been relatively limited and therefore it is unlikely that, in the short term, DfT will be making any changes to its data collection procedures.

New surveys of van and foreign vehicle activity

25. DfT has undertaken two new surveys to provide estimates of van activity, to complement the existing HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) surveys. The first is an ad hoc survey of non-company owned vans. A Report of the survey was published in January 2004. The survey was carried out over a 12 month period from October 2002 until September 2003. During that time around 2,500 owners of privately owned vans registered in Great Britain were asked to provide details of trips they made on specific days.

26. Respondents were asked to provide information related to the vehicle and its activity, including the time and day of journey, the reason for trip, the type of goods and equipment carried, the type of business the vehicle is used for and the information relating to the origin and destination of journeys.

27. The second survey is being carried out continuously. It started in April 2003, and covers vehicles owned by companies. Results were published in August 2004. The Report included results for privately owned vans to give an overall picture of van activity.

28. The Department has also undertaken a survey that to provide estimates of the activity of foreign registered lorries in the UK. These have informed the development of the Lorry Road User Charging scheme and meet other policy needs, including provision estimates of cabotage. A report on the findings was published in November 2003. Whilst the survey was a one -off initially it might be repeated in future.

29. The survey was carried out over a six-week period during June and July 2003. It compr ised around 2,100 interviews with drivers of foreign registered vehicles. The interviews were carried out at ports and truck stops around Great Britain. The ports were Hull, Harwich, Portsmouth and Holyhead. The truck stops were Ashford, Clackett's Lane and Thurrock.

30. Respondents were asked to provide information on their way out of GB, in order to record unplanned activity, as well as activity they had planned when entering GB. The details collected related to the vehicle and its activity whilst in GB, inc luding journeys made, goods carried, length of time in GB and number of visits to GB.

Public attitudes surveys

31. The DfT has continued the programme of public attitude research, particularly in support of the Road Pricing Feasibility Study, for which both quantitative and qualitative projects were run. The Department has continued to make use of the ONS Omnibus survey to address needs arising for adhoc data on public attitudes, including modules on local congestion charging, road safety, national road pricing, and congestion on motorways. A review of user needs is taking place during Autumn 2004, in order to determine whether the Department should pur sue the possibility of running its own attitudes survey rather than relying on the ONS Omnibus survey and the British Social Attitudes survey.

National Travel Survey

32. Following the quality review, the sample size was approximately trebled from the beginning of 2002. This means that key national trends will be produced for single years rather than averaged over 3 years. Key results were published for the single year 2002 in December 2003 and a fuller report in April 2004. Provisional results for 2003 were published in July 2004.

33. There will also be improved regional data and greater geographical detail will be possible by aggregating over 2 or more years, for example to provide data for urban authorities and large counties. From 2003 Local Authorities have been able to fund boosted samples in their areas. Two boosts are being carried out in Essex in 2003 but none is planned for 2004.

34. Weighting the survey results, as recommended in the Quality Review, is not straightforward and has been delayed by work on the new expanded survey. A contract was let in September 2003 and the methodology has been developed. The next step is to weight the data for a recent year and compare the output with unweighted data. Improvements to imputation procedures are ongoing.

Statistics for English regions and Local Authorities

35. English Local Authorities continue to report annually on progress on indicators against targets in their Local Transport Plans. DfT issued an update of its monitoring guidance for local authorities in Spring 2004. Current work is underway on developing improved methodologies on cycling monitoring and for a cost-effective household travel survey appropriate for local authorities.

36. Mechanisms for the allocation of transport capital funding at local and regional level. Are being developed, to replace the existing system, which is largely based on Local Authority bids.

Neighbourhood Statistics

37. ONS has funded a unit in DfT until February 2005 to populate transport elements of NeSS

38. Data on car availability and travel to work (from the Census) and on road accidents are available and will be added to ONS' NeSS web pages.

39. Following the Social Exclusion Unit report on transport and social exclusion, local transport authorities were asked to carry out accessibility audits to measure how effective local transport is in enabling access to services. Most of the required data sets have now been assembled. DfT has had a new package, Accession, developed to assist central and local government to conduct accessibility audits and planning. This is in the final stages of testing, and should be available later this year.

Maritime statistics

40. The system for collecting detailed port traffic statistics introduced in order to meet the requirements of an EU Maritime Statistics Directive (Council Directive 95/64/EC on statistics in respect of the carriage goods and passengers by sea) has now been operational since January 2000. The new system contains much more detail on routes and vessel characteristics, and on container traffic. Data collected under the Directive is available from Eurostat on a CD-Rom. Various refinements have been made to data collection and analysis since the new system was introduced and the latest refinement is a modification to the data entry software to allow ports, shipping lines and agents to access and analyse their own and aggregated maritime traffic data. Academics are also to be invited to use the database for research.

41. The data collection contract with the current data collection agency ends on 31 December 2004 and a new contractor has been appointed to run the system from 1 January 2005. A Quality Review of maritime freight statistics will be launched in February 2005.

Improve information on the number of UK seafarers and trainees

42. Better information on UK seafarers and trainees is needed to assess trends in employment to ensure that the supply of seafarers is sufficient to maintain a viable UK maritime industry in the future both at sea and in maritime related sectors on-shore. A review of information requirements has been carried out and a number of improvements have been made to data sources. A first annual report bringing together all available information which will provide definitive UK seafarer statistics for use by government and industry, will be published in summer 2005.

Port employment and accident rate statistics

43. The Transport Select Committee on Ports has raised concerns about the inadequacy of port statistics and in particular the lack of port employment data to judge the safety of the industry and to estimate the economic importance of ports to local communities. A Working Group which included representatives from the ports industry was set up to decide how best to improve the information base. As a result, a new study of port employment has been launched which is scheduled to be completed by spring 2005. The study also aims to improve port accident rates information. Revisions to the SIC in the current NACE/SIC revision round have also been proposed to identify the ports industry more precisely than the current classification allows. This will help future data collection and analysis of the ports industry.

Review of inland waters freight traffic

44. A Quality Review of the UK Domestic Waterborne Freight survey has been completed and the report of the study was published in September 2004.


45. 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 had not previously been possible to formalise the regulation because of the UK/Spain Gibraltar dispute. However, agreement has now been reached on how to proceed and the Regulation has been formally adopted with respect to data commencing from year 2003.

Transport and the Environment

46. Environmental Accounts: Problems were identified with the greenhouse gas emissions statistics produced by ONS. Some of these were resolved for an amended Statistical Release, but there remain areas for improvement. DfT is part of an ONS working group along with Defra, DTI and the National Environmental Technology Centre (NETCEN) to review and improve the greenhouse gas emissions statistics ahead of the May 2005 Environmental Accounts release.

47. Environmental Statistics: We will be considering the environmental statistics we produce during 2005. We will do this in consultation with other producers of environmental statistics, such as Defra, NETCEN, DTI and ONS, in order to maintain coherence between sources and publishers.


48. DfT co-ordinates UK input to international organisations, in particular EUROSTAT. This includes regular representation on working groups dealing with statistics collected under EU legislation and attending the annual meeting of the Co-ordinating Committee for Transport Statistics, which takes a strategic look at development of the EUROSTAT work programme.

49. Expansion of the EU: In 2005, we will start to produce / receive datasets with an international dimension that cover the period after the accession of the 10 new Member States to the European Union. We will review our publications to ensure they reflect the expanded membership of the EU.

Statistics Infrastructure

50. As a matter of policy, NS publications are available free of charge on the Internet.

51. DfT launched a new style web site in July 2003. Work to improve further online access to data continues.

52. A web only version of Transport Trends was launched for the first time in December 2003. Spreadsheets of the data have now been associated with the charts for ease of access.

53. The web version of TSGB (October 2003) has been re-modelled for improved access. From October 2004 onwards the web version of TSGB will be updated more regularly.

54. Key publications also now have the spreadsheet versions of their data tables .

55. In December 2003 dedicated GIS service was set up to improve DfT 's capacity for geographical presentation of data.

A full list of DfT Transport Statistics publications and other information about transport statistics is available from our website.

Department for Transport, November 2004