COVID-19 Transport Trend Data - Supplementary Information

Transport Scotland is monitoring transport trends during the COVID-19 outbreak. The supplementary information note provides further information on the coverage, data sources, data quality and methodology of the indicators reported on in the Transport Trend data, as well as links to further information about the data sources.

Concessionary bus

Coverage

Concessionary bus journeys across Scotland are captured for all age groups and Local Authority areas. The free bus scheme is available to Scottish residents aged 60 and over, as well as people with a range of disabilities. The young person’s travel scheme allows discounted travel for young people aged 16-18 and full-time volunteers aged 19-26.

In 2018-19, concessionary bus travel accounted for 38% of all bus journeys in Scotland (Chapter 2 Scottish Transport Statistics, 2019).

Data source

The data is based on daily concessionary bus journeys and sourced from Fareshare, the system used to reimburse concessionary bus journeys.

Quality

There is a high degree of confidence in the concessionary bus data, but the following limitations should be noted:

  • Journeys include only electronic transactions that have progressed for payment approval and no manual transactions are captured;
  • The Local Authority information relates to the address the card has been issued to and is not correlated to where the journeys have taken place;
  • Electronic data can arrive late, so the figures are based on the available information at the time; and
  • Date of birth data is captured by Local Authorities and it is assumed that this data is captured accurately by the Card Management System.

Methodology

Prior to week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-lockdown baseline that is based on the average number of concessionary bus journeys between 3 - 5 March 2020 so 100 means that the volume of travel is the same as the pre-lockdown baseline.

Since week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline that is based on the average number of concessionary bus journeys from 30 March 2020 to 5 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average number of concessionary bus journeys from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the total number of concessionary bus journeys in the equivalent week of the preceding year. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of concessionary bus journeys is at the same level as the equivalent week in 2019. Data has been presented on a weekly basis since comparison on a daily basis would be more sensitive to traffic events and therefore make it harder to understand broader trends. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency.

Further statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on concessionary travel can be found in Chapter 2 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Rail

Coverage

This estimate captures changes in rail travel across Scotland, based on ScotRail passenger numbers. It does not include cross-border travel, except ScotRail services that go between Dumfries to Carlisle.

Data source

This estimate is based on ScotRail passenger numbers. Transport Scotland receives ScotRail passenger number information on a daily basis.

Quality

There is a high degree of confidence in the rail data and reporting is based on the available data at the time.

Methodology

Since week ending 3 May 2020, the published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline based on the average number of rail passenger journeys to a lockdown baseline from 30 March 2020 to 5 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 3 May 2020, the published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline based on the average number of rail passenger journeys to a lockdown baseline from 30 March to 5 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average number of rail passenger journeys from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the total volume of rail journeys in the equivalent week of the preceding year. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of rail journeys is at the same level as the equivalent week in 2019. Data has been presented on a weekly basis since comparison on a daily basis would be more sensitive to traffic events and therefore make it harder to understand broader trends. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency.

Further statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on rail travel can be found in Chapter 7 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Ferry

Coverage

This estimate covers changes in total ferry passenger carryings on the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS) and the Northern Isles Ferry Service (NIFS) networks operated by CalMac and Northlink in Scotland.

Data source

Transport Scotland receives ferry passenger figures on a weekly basis from the ferry operators.

Quality

Ferry carryings data is gathered directly from operators and there is a high degree of confidence in the  data.  However, the estimates presented cover only the CHFS and NIFS networks, and do not include privately operated or local authority run services which continue to operate lifeline services.

Methodology

Prior to week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-lockdown baseline that is based on comparing passenger carryings on CHFS and NIFS with the equivalent week in 2019 using the closest weekly period (i.e. Friday 27 March 2020 is compared to Friday 29th March 2019) so 100 means that the volume of travel is the same as that point last year.

Since week ending 3 May 2020, the published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline that is based on the average number of ferry passengers on CHFS and NIFS services from 28 March 2020 to 3 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average number of ferry passengers from 16 May 2020 to 22 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the number of ferry passengers for the equivalent week of the preceding year. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of ferry passengers is at the same level as the equivalent week in 2019. Data has been presented on a weekly basis since comparison on a daily basis would be more sensitive to traffic events and therefore make it harder to understand broader trends. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency.

Further statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on ferry travel can be found in Chapter 9 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Plane

Coverage

This estimate captures daily traffic variation in air traffic control volumes managed by the Scottish Area Control Centre (ACC) compared to 2019.

Data Source

This data is sourced online from Eurocontrol.

Quality

There is medium confidence in the data. Transport Scotland collects outputs only, so quality assurance of the underlying data is not possible. The data coverage (Scottish ACC) also captures some flights outside Scotland, e.g. Northern Ireland is covered by the Scottish ACC. The data also captures flights between two third countries that do not land or take off from a Scottish airport, but transit through airspace managed by the Scottish ACC.

Methodology

The estimate of air traffic managed over Scotland is a suitable method of tracking aviation traffic in the area rather than actual numbers of flights arriving at and departing from Scottish airports or passenger numbers.

Prior to week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-lockdown baseline that is based on comparison with 2019 using the closest similar day (i.e. Monday 3 February 2020 is compared to Monday 4 February 2019) so 100 means that the volume of air traffic is the same as that point last year.

Since week ending 3 May 2020, the published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline that is based on the average volume of air traffic managed over Scotland from 30 March to 5 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average volume of air traffic managed over Scotland from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the volume of air traffic managed over Scotland for the  equivalent week of the preceding year. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of air traffic is at the same level as the equivalent week in 2019. Data has been presented on a weekly basis since comparison on a daily basis would be more sensitive to traffic events and therefore make it harder to understand broader trends. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency.

Further Statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on air travel can be found in Chapter 8 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Car

Coverage

This estimate captures changes in car traffic on the Scottish trunk road network. In 2018, trunk road traffic accounted for 40% of Scotland's traffic volumes (Chapter 5, Scottish Transport Statistics 2019).

Data source

This estimate is based on selected Automatic Traffic Counters (ATCs) on the Scottish trunk road network.

Quality

There is medium confidence in the data. The data does not include local traffic as it only considers the trunk road network.

Methodology

The weekly car traffic estimate is a suitable indication of changes in road traffic rather than actual traffic volumes.

Prior to week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-lockdown baseline that is based on the average car traffic volumes seen from the 3 - 5 March, so 100 means that the volume of travel is the same as the pre-lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 3 May 2020, the published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline based on the average car traffic volumes from 30 March to 5 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average car traffic volumes from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the car traffic volumes for the equivalent week of the preceding year. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of car traffic is at the same level as the equivalent week in 2019. Data has been presented on a weekly basis since comparison on a daily basis would be more sensitive to traffic events and therefore make it harder to understand broader trends. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency.

Since the week ending 18 October 2020, the published data includes both cars and cars with a trailer to bring it in line with other analysis. The baseline has also changed to include cars with trailers but remains indexed to the equivalent day in 2019.

Further statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on car travel can be found in Chapter 5 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Cross border

Coverage

This estimate captures changes in total traffic on the trunk road network crossing the Scottish border with England.

Data source

This estimate is based on selected Automatic Traffic Counters (ATCs) on the Scottish border with England. These counters capture traffic on the A1, A7, A68 and M6.

Quality

There is medium confidence in the data. The data only includes the trunk road network and does not cover every possible crossing.

Methodology

The weekly cross border traffic estimate is a suitable indication of changes in cross border activity. This estimate is not used to calculate the overall trip rate.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average traffic volumes from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the traffic volumes for the equivalent week of the preceding year. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of traffic is at the same level as the equivalent week in 2019. Data has been presented on a weekly basis since comparison on a daily basis would be more sensitive to traffic events and therefore make it harder to understand broader trends. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency.

 

Cycling

Coverage

This estimate captures the changes in cycling across Scotland.

Data source

The estimate is currently based on over 120 cycling and walking counters in Scotland. Transport Scotland receives this data from local authorities and Cycling Scotland on a daily basis. Sites are predominantly located in central Scotland, Tayside and Argyll & Bute.

Quality

There is medium confidence in the data. The data are limited by the location of the counters. This is due to the fact that some counters predominantly capture commuter traffic or recreational traffic and so will not capture representative travel. Additionally, the counters have not been weighted to be representative of the national picture, but rather provide a best estimate of changes in the levels of walking.

Methodology

Prior to week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-lockdown baseline that is based on the average number of cycling journeys in February 2019 so 100 means that the volume of travel is the same as the pre-lockdown baseline.

Since week ending 3rd May 2020, the published data is indexed to a lockdown baseline based on the average number of cycling journeys from 30th March 2020 to 5th April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the lockdown baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average number of cycling journeys from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the average number of cycling journeys from 3 June to 30 June 2019. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of cyclists is at the same level as the June 2019. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency and will show minor differences to the new baseline due to rounding.

Since the week ending 18 October 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the average number of cycling journeys in the equivalent month in 2019. The equivalent month refers to the full weeks that predominantly fall within that respective month, for October this refers to the 30 September – 3 November 2019. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of cyclists is at the same level as the equivalent month in 2019. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency and will show differences to the new index wherever there is a change in period.

Further statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on cycling can be found in Chapters 5 and 11 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Walking

Coverage

This estimate captures changes in walking across Scotland.

Data source

The estimate is based on over 120 cycling and walking counters in Scotland. Transport Scotland receives this data from Local Authorities and Cycling Scotland on a daily basis. Sites are predominantly located in Central Scotland, Tayside and Argyll & Bute.

Quality

There is medium confidence in the data. The data are limited by the location of the counters. This is due to the fact that some counters predominantly capture commuter traffic or recreational traffic and so will not capture representative travel. Additionally, the counters have not been weighted to be representative of the national picture, but rather provide a best estimate of changes in the levels of walking.

Methodology

Prior to week ending 3 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-lockdown baseline that is based on the average number of walking journeys in February 2019 so 100 means that the volume of travel is the same as the pre-lockdown baseline.

Since week ending 3 May 2020, the published data is indexed to the average walking travel volumes from 30 March 2020 to 5 April 2020, so 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the baseline week.

Since week ending 31 May 2020, published data is indexed to a pre-Phase 1 baseline that is based on the average number of walking journeys from 18 May 2020 to 24 May 2020, the week before the transition to Phase 1. Once again, 100 means that the volume of travel is at the same level as the pre-Phase 1 baseline week.

Since the week ending 21 June 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the average number of walking journeys from 3 June to 30 June 2019. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of walking is at the same level as the June 2019. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency and will show minor differences to the new baseline due to rounding.

Since the week ending 18 October 2020, the published data is indexed to a 2019 baseline, which is based on the average number of walking journeys in the equivalent month in 2019. The equivalent month refers to the full weeks that predominantly fall within that respective month, for October this refers to the 30 September – 3 November 2019. As before, a value of 100 indicates the volume of walking is at the same level as the equivalent month in 2019. The previous pre-Phase 1 index has been maintained for consistency and will show differences to the new index wherever there is a change in period.

Further statistics

More information about Transport Scotland’s statistics on walking can be found in Chapter 11 of Scottish Transport Statistics

 

Average number of journeys per person per day

Coverage

This estimate captures the average number of journeys per person per day in Scotland.

Data source

This estimate is based on combining the changes in the number of journeys compared to the pre-lockdown baseline. The baseline for the different modes that form the basis of the calculation varies depending on available information.

Quality

The number of journeys per person per day for a weekly period provides an estimate based on available information. This is intended to provide an indication of changes in the direction of trip making during the Covid-19 pandemic based on the available data and professional knowledge in travel behaviour.

The data itself does not directly measure the actions promoted by the Scottish Government to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Methodology

The current number of journeys per person per day is based on the changes in the levels of travel by walking, cycling, bus, rail, ferry and car for the weekly reporting period compared to the pre-lockdown baseline. This is calculated on a proportional basis, using the modal share estimated by the Scottish Household Survey Travel Diary (Table TD2).

Further statistics

More information about personal travel can be found in Transport and Travel in Scotland