Rail 2014 Consultation Analysis

2 Methodology

Consultation Format

2.1 The Rail 2014 consultation document was designed to help inform the future operating arrangements of the railways in Scotland. By 2014 contractual and funding arrangements for both the delivery of passenger services contract and operation and maintenance of the rail infrastructure through Network Rail have to be renewed. With this in mind, Transport Scotland designed the consultation to guide the formation of new contracts which will allow services and the railway in general to better meet the needs of passengers.

2.2 Whilst general comments were provided by organisations and individuals, the primary consultation document set out 40 open questions based upon the following themes:

  • procurement of passenger services
  • how to achieve reliability, performance and service quality
  • Scottish train services, fares and stations
  • cross border services
  • rolling stock
  • passenger services - comfort, security and information provision
  • sleeper services
  • environmental issues

2.3 The primary medium for the consultation was through an online link which allowed respondents to provide answers to each of the 40 questions. A number of printed copies were also available which included a response form. In addition, Transport Scotland accepted both postal and telephone responses to ensure maximum accessibility. Both telephone and postal responses were recorded by Transport Scotland in a consistent manner to those received electronically, before being passed to MVA Consultancy for analysis.

2.4 Comment Cards were also distributed at the station and stakeholder events. These cards were primarily designed to provide details of where people could access, and respond to, the full consultation document. The cards also invited respondents to respond to the question 'what do you want from rail passenger services in 2014 and beyond?'

2.5 All responses were considered as part of this analysis.

2.6 The consultation period ran between 15 November 2011 and 20 February 2012.

Consultation Responses per question

2.7 In total, 1283 responses were received: these were made up of 173 responses from organisations and 1110 from individuals. A further 84 Comment Cards were also returned to the consultation team.

2.8 Within this a wide variety of organisations provided a response, including but not limited to: Regional Transport Partnerships and passenger groups, business representative organisations, rail industry and rail interest groups, equalities groups, trade union organisations, and local authorities and community councils.

2.9 Although responses came from such a wide variety of organisations, and more than 1000 members of the public, it should be understood that the exercise was a consultation and not a survey. As such, the responses are not a statistically representative cross-section of the population but rather a combination of views from those who have taken the opportunity to contribute. Above all, it should be remembered that in these types of exercises, members of the public will often only respond if they feel they have something relevant to contribute to the consultation, or answer in response to the questions.

2.10 Due to the open format of the consultation questions, response styles varied with many often only providing a response to a few of the 40 questions. As such, response figures are different for each question.

2.11 In addition, answering styles varied considerably between defined answers to specific questions and free-flowing text of opinions on the rail industry. Wherever possible these free-flowing responses were aligned to the relevant specific questions in order to ensure that we captured the fullest picture of opinion.

2.12 An initial analysis was undertaken of responses to particular questions. The most frequently answered questions can be seen in Table 1 and closely reflect the topics highlighted within the media.

Table 1 : Top five answered questions
Question Topic Individual
(% of all responses to this question from individuals)
(% of all responses to this question from organisations)
Total Responses
Q24 Stations 601 (80%) 146 (20%) 747
Q29 Cross Border
540 (80%) 139 (20%) 679
Q37 Caledonian Sleeper 477 (79%) 127 (21%) 604
Q39 Caledonian Sleeper 460 (79%) 119 (21%) 579
Q30 Cross Border Services 445 (79%) 119 (21%) 564

% figures represent the percentage of total responses to the specific question from individual or organisation as appropriate

2.13 Numbers of responses to all questions are shown in figure 1. This not only illustrates the specific peaks relating to key questions, but also shows that the number of responses from organisations was largely consistent across all of the questions. The number of individual responses, however, varied substantially for each question.

Figure 1: Numbers of responses to all questions

Figure 1: Numbers of responses to all questions


2.14 MVA Consultancy were not involved in the design or implementation of the consultation but were tasked to undertake data entry of received responses before completing an independent analysis of all comments. Our methodological approach can be summarised as follows:

  • completion of database of all responses
  • data reduction/categorisation
  • data summary
  • identification of key themes
  • reporting

2.15 Each of the above steps was carried out in a consistent manner across each of the 40 questions, with suitable back-checking employed to ensure thorough analysis and consistency of approach. In addition to the above, a geographical analysis of responses was undertaken.

2.16 Our approach was essentially qualitative, with each individual response read and considered by the analysis team, before being categorised into discrete themes and issues, to aid analysis of responses and the structure of reporting. The approach was designed to produce a detailed report which represented the range of views submitted across the consultation, including those of organisations and individual members of the public.

2.17 In order to illustrate the themes that have emerged through the analysis we have incorporated direct quotations from organisations and individual members of the public.

2.18 A discussion of cross-cutting themes and significant issues has been included as a separate chapter at the end of the document.

Structure of reporting

2.19 Transport Scotland's Rail 2014 consultation paper is a comprehensive document spanning 40 individual questions across numerous topics relating to the rail industry and rail services. It was essential to employ a consistent approach to analysis across each of the 40 questions to ensure a full appreciation of all relevant points raised by organisations and the public. Given the nature of the consultation, we recognise that not every topic or question will be of interest to every reader. Therefore we have structured the report to allow each question to be read as both part of the full document or taken on its own merits.

2.20 To achieve this goal each question is broken into five key sections as follows:

  • key statistics - response numbers
  • popular themes - the three themes which were cited most often by respondents
  • key themes - a discussion of the popular themes and other emerging issues
  • organisational and individual responses - discussion of any significant differences and of response themes from different types of organisation
  • equality issues
  • geographical analysis - analysis of locations of where responses originated.

2.21 The first three sections of analysis have been included for each question. The latter two sections have been analysed for all questions but are only included in this report where there are significant differences, or issues, that should be reported.

2.22 In addition to discussions of findings, each individual question includes a table of key statistics to inform the reader of response levels and the make up of responses to that question between individual members of the public and organisations. The key statistics table includes two pie charts. The left hand pie chart shows the proportion of responses to that question in relation to all responses to the consultation. The right hand pie chart breaks down the responses to that specific question between individuals and organisations.

2.23 An example is shown below for question 29, demonstrating that of the 1283 responses to the consultation, 679 (53%) specifically commented on question 29. Of those 679 respondents, 80% were from individual members of the public and 20% came from organisations.

Table of responses

2.24 In addition to these key statistics, a table of popular themes is also presented for each question. Popular themes have been defined as those which generated the highest volume of responses. Popular themes are consistently displayed in order of most responses received for each question. Where other important themes have arisen within the consultation exercise, the project team has taken these on board and reported on each, where appropriate, in the text which follows the key themes heading.

2.25 A large number of organisations contributed to the consultation, spanning different sectors and interest groups. In order to provide an appropriate level of analysis, organisations were grouped into distinct sectors to ascertain any emerging themes of interest to specific types of group. Organisations were grouped into the following classifications:

  • community councils
  • economic and business groups and companies
  • equality groups
  • local authorities
  • other government groups
  • passenger groups
  • police / British Transport Police
  • rail industry and rail interest groups
  • Regional Transport Partnerships
  • trade unions
  • tourism, leisure and recreation groups and businesses

2.26 Reporting each question in the above format allows for comparisons across individual questions.

Geographical analysis

2.27 As part of the commission, Transport Scotland requested that a geographical analysis be undertaken to establish the geographical distribution of responses across Scotland and from further afield.

2.28 Of the total 1,283 responses received, 937 (73%) could undergo geographical analysis. The remaining 346 responses contained postcodes which were either incomplete or missing.

2.29 The information was then mapped to acquire a local authority and a Regional Transport Partnership (RTP) reference for each response that provided a postcode, before undergoing further geographical analysis.

2.30 The mapped data were split into those whose main address was located within Scotland and those outwith Scotland, see Table 2.

Table 2 : Responses by location
Location Individual % Organisation % Total
Scotland 707 75% 131 14% 838
Outwith Scotland 81 9% 18 2% 99
Total 788 84% 149 16% 937
Without Postcode Information 308 38 346

% figures represent the percentage of all responses with identifiable postcodes within each category

2.31 As can be seen in Table 2 the majority of responses with a postcode were from individuals. Individuals themselves were mainly based in Scotland. It should be noted that organisations often have a larger geographical remit than the address of their main office, for example organisations registered in Edinburgh often have a national remit.

2.32 Table 3 shows the geographical spread of total responses by Regional Transport Partnership (RTP) area.

Table 3 : Responses by Regional Transport Partnerships Area
Location Individual % Organisation % Total %
tactran 69 85% 12 15% 81 100
HITRANS 138 80% 34 20% 172 100
Nestrans 49 85% 9 16% 58 100
SEStran 235 87% 34 13% 269 100
SWestrans 6 86% 1 14% 7 100
SPT 208 84% 41 16% 249 100
Outwith Scotland 81 82% 18 18% 99 100
Total 788 84% 149 16% 937 100

% figures represent the percentage of individual and organisation responses within each RTP area

2.33 As can be seen from the table above, the majority of responses came from the three most populated RTP regions, SPT (27%), SEStran (29%) and HITRANS (18%). This geographical pattern of response numbers varied, however, by question and this is highlighted as appropriate throughout the report. Similarly, geographical differences in views and opinions are discussed if relevant.

2.34 Figure 2 demonstrates the location of each Regional Transport Partnership and the passenger rail lines across Scotland. The figure illustrates the geographical reach of each Regional Transport Partnership and the rail network within each area.

2.35 Table 4 provides response statistics for each RTP area and also highlights that some RTP areas contain significantly more rail stations than others which will inherently generate more interest in the consultation exercise.

Table 4 : Regional Transport Partnership area response statistics
Location Responses from within RTP area Responses from Organisations Responses from Individuals Local Authorities located within the RTP area Rail stations located within the RTP area
tactran 81 12 69 4 22
HITRANS 172 34 138 5 68
Nestrans 58 9 49 2 7
SEStran 269 34 235 8 52
SWestrans 7 1 6 1 7
SPT 249 49 208 11 187

Figure 2 Regional Transport Partnership areas

Figure 2 Regional Transport Partnership Areas