Main Transport Trends 2007

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2. Background

2.1 This bulletin describes some of the main trends in the statistics of transport in Scotland and compares them with some figures for Great Britain (or, in a few cases, the UK as a whole). The tables provide:

  • trends for each mode of transport in Scotland over the past ten years - Tables S1 and S2;
  • some trends from the Scottish Household Survey, which started in 1999 - Table S3;
  • trends in cross-border transport for some modes over the past ten years - Table S4;
  • comparisons of figures for Scotland and GB (or the UK) - Tables SGB1 to SGB3; and
  • the longer-term trends in some statistics, for Scotland - Tables H1 to H4.

2.2 In general, the material in the tables is the same order as the chapters of Scottish Transport Statistics. However, in the commentary, points appear under four broad themes:

  • motor vehicles, traffic and road casualties;
  • public transport: bus, rail, air and ferry;
  • personal travel (e.g. driving, walking and cycling; travel to work and school);
  • freight.

2.3 This bulletin's purpose is to show some of the main trends in transport in Scotland. One person's "main trends" may not be another's: the ones which appear here were chosen because they are available for a run of years and are among the Scottish Transport Statistics figures thought to be referred to most often. Other figures may be added in future editions, but there is no need for this bulletin to expand in order to put more information into the public domain because, when it is published, many more statistics are put on the Web, in updated versions of Scottish Transport Statistics tables, which are available via:www.scotland.gov.uk/transtat/stsupdate.

2.4 Scottish Transport Statistics contains notes on, and definitions of, the statistics, and details of the sources and where further information may be found. Only one point must be mentioned here: occasionally, the figures given for Great Britain (or the UK) are on a different basis from the figures for Scotland. This is usually because the figures for Scotland that have appeared for many years in Scottish Transport Statistics are, for historical reasons, on a different basis from the figures normally used for GB/ UK, and to publish other GB/ UK figures could cause confusion. Such differences should not prevent the figures being used to compare the trends for Scotland and GB/ UK.

2.5 With effect from 2006, Scottish Transport Statistics appears in December rather than August. The Scottish Executive is:

(a) publishing Main Transport Trends in August, to provide a handy printed summary of the main trends which used to be shown then by Scottish Transport Statistics; and
(b) as mentioned earlier, making updated versions of Scottish Transport Statistics tables available via www.scotland.gov.uk/transtat/stsupdate . These tables will be updated again in later months, to take account of a further year's figures becoming available for some topics (e.g. local bus passengers and port freight, which are released during the Autumn). As a result, users will:

  • continue to have access to all the kinds of figures that used to appear in August;
  • be able to obtain further updated statistics from the Web tables in due course; and
  • when Scottish Transport Statistics is published in December, benefit from some parts of it not becoming out-of-date as quickly as before.

2.6 Main Transport Trends is one of a series of Transport Statistics publications, most of which focus on particular aspects of transport and cover them in depth. The individual publications that comprise the series are described in the section on "Transport Statistics publications" towards the end of this edition. A comprehensive statistical picture of transport activity is described in the compendium Scottish Transport Statistics volume, the Main Transport Trends bulletin and the Key Transport Statistics card. These provide figures on a wide range of topics, at different levels of detail: Main Transport Trends provides much more than Key Transport Statistics and much less than Scottish Transport Statistics.