7 Panel Survey
7.1 The Household and Business Surveys are largely focussed on the perspective of Midlothian and Scottish Borders residents and businesses, i.e. those that live and or work in the area. However, the new rail line will also open up access to Midlothian and the Scottish Borders for those who do not live or work there.
7.2 In order to gauge the potential inbound effects from easier access by rail, a panel survey of residents in Edinburgh, East Lothian and West Lothian was undertaken. This ran between 18th and 25th August 2015 and aimed to explore the perceptions of both the Borders and Midlothian as business and/or leisure destinations and the propensity to visit each location.
7.3 As with the Household and Business Surveys, it is intended that the Panel Survey be repeated as part of the evaluation in order to determine if attitudes or behaviours have changed as a result of the opening of the Borders Railway.
7.4 The following section provides an overall summary of the Panel Survey results.
7.5 In total 212 individuals from across Edinburgh, East Lothian and West Lothian completed the survey. Table 7.1 below provides a breakdown of the responses by area.
Table 7.1: Breakdown of Responses by Area
7.6 The majority of those responding (59%, n=125) were male compared to 41% (n=87) female. Most (29%, n=62) were aged between 55 and 64, with a further 25% (n=54) over the age of 65 (see Figure 7.1).
7.7 Figure 7.2 shows the employment status of those responding to the survey. As shown the majority (44%, n=94) work full time, with 33% (n=69) retired and 16% (n=33) working part time. 81% (n=171) stated that they had a driving license, 33% (n=69) held a National Entitlement Card and 3% (n=7) were Blue Badge holders.
Figure 7.1: Age Category of Respondents
Figure 7.2: Employment Status of Respondents
Figure 7.3: Ownership of Blue Badge/Driving Licence and National Entitlement Cards amongst Respondents
Current Travel Behaviour
7.8 The majority of respondents (77%, n=163) indicated that they never commute to the Scottish Borders, with 17% (n=35) stating they commute on a monthly basis and 6% (n=12) on a weekly basis. As may be expected, more people indicated that they commute to Midlothian than to the Scottish Borders, with 14% (n=21) of those from Edinburgh and 3% (n=1) from East Lothian and West Lothian respectively indicating that they do this on a daily basis.
Figure 7.4: Frequency of travel to the Scottish Borders for Commuting Purposes by Location of Respondent
Figure 7.5: Frequency of travel to Midlothian for Commuting Purposes by Location of Respondent
7.9 The majority (34%, n=73) of respondents indicated that they travelled to the Scottish Borders between 15 times per year for Leisure purposes, with a further 29% (n=61) traveling to the area less than once a year (see Figure7.6). Travel to Midlothian for leisure purposes was more frequent from all locations, with 12% of overall respondents travelling to Midlothian several times a week and a further 16% travelling on a weekly basis (see Figure7.6).
Figure 7.6: Frequency of travel to the Scottish Borders for Leisure Purposes by Location of Respondent
Figure 7.7: Frequency of travel to Midlothian for Leisure Purposes by Location of Respondent
7.10 Figure 7.8 and Figure 7.9 show the frequency of business travel to the Scottish Borders and Midlothian respectively. As shown, the majority of respondents from each location never travel to either local authority area for business purposes, with business travel to Midlothian slightly more frequent than that to the Scottish Borders.
Figure 7.8: Frequency of travel to the Scottish Borders for Business Purposes by Location of Respondent
Figure 7.9: Frequency of travel to Midlothian for Business Purposes by Location of Respondent
Perceptions of the Borders and Midlothian
7.11 Respondents to the survey were also asked about their perception of the Scottish Borders and Midlothian. As shown in Figure 7.10 below, respondents generally agreed there were lots of things to do in both local authority areas and that both, particularly the Scottish Borders were attractive places to visit. In general, respondents disagreed that the areas were too far away for a day trip. However, there was more agreement that transport connections were a limiting factor.
Figure 7.10: Views of the Scottish Borders
Figure 7.11: Views of Midlothian
Anticipated Use of the Borders Rail Line
7.12 Figure 7.12 shows respondents anticipated use of the Borders Railway for commuting purposes. As shown, while the majority of respondents from each location anticipate that they will not use the rail service for commuting, between 12 and 13% across the three areas state that they do anticipate using the service for this purpose.
Figure 7.12: Anticipated use of the Borders Railway for Commuting Purposes by Location of Respondent
7.13 As shown in Figure 7.13 below anticipated use of the railway for leisure purposes is far higher, with 53% of respondents in Edinburgh, 48 in East Lothian and 42% in West Lothian stating that they do anticipate using the service for leisure trips.
Figure 7.13: Anticipated use of the Borders Railway for Leisure Purposes by Location of Respondent
7.14 Figure 7.14 details respondents anticipated use of the railway for business purposes. As with commuting trips, the majority of respondents in each location do not anticipate using the service for business travel, with just 9% in Edinburgh and East Lothian and 3% in West Lothian stating that they anticipate using the service for this purpose.
Figure 7.14: Anticipated use of the Borders Railway for Business Purposes by Location of Respondent
Key Point: From those surveyed in Edinburgh, West Lothian and East Lothian, a large share intends to use the Borders Rail line to visit the area. This is very much likely to be for leisure purposes as opposed to commuting or business.