Recent Research Reports

Recent Research Reports

Research reports published since the previous edition of “Scottish Transport Statistics” are listed below. 

Title Research into the Social and Economic Benefits of Community Transport 
Publication date 31 March 2015
Contractor Peter Brett Associates
Purpose of research An inquiry by the Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee launched in 2013 found that there is a lack of evidence on the social and economic benefits of community transport in Scotland. In order to address this, Transport Scotland commissioned this research study designed to identify the economic, social and health benefits generated by community transport in Scotland.
Main findings
  • CT is a critically important service providing cross-cutting benefits across a range of policy areas, including transport, health, social services and leisure, amongst others. It also plays an important role in tackling different types of inequality, an important issue on the current Scottish Government policy agenda.
  • Whilst CT offers a range of benefits across policy areas, the magnitude of the contribution to each is difficult to identify.
  • CT generates a Scotland-wide social welfare benefit (consumer surplus) for users.
  • The five case studies are estimated to generate £2.8 million per annum in Gross Value Added.
  • CT offers significant cost savings to local authorities, the NHS and other public bodies.
  • CT generates a large number of unremunerated productive hours and provides a pathway to employment.
  • CT helps to tackle poor transport accessibility – 50% of survey respondents noted that their trip could not or would not be made without CT.
  • CT provides a means for isolated individuals to interact – e.g. 68% of all respondents indicated that the CT service they used was very important ‘just to get out’.
  • 89% of respondents explained that CT was either “Fairly” or “Very Important” in supporting personal independence.
  • CT offers a range of health benefits, including improved access to health services, fewer missed appointments and the continued ability to live at home.
Link to report 

Title Seatbelt and Mobile Phone Observation Study
Publication date 25 February 2015
Contractor Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)
Purpose of research Seatbelt compliance studies were carried out in Scotland in 1997 and 2002. Between 1989 and 2009, DfT commissioned a series of surveys to provide estimates of seatbelt compliance amongst vehicle occupants, with mobile phone use by drivers also included from 2002.  However, these studies focused on sites in England, only including sites in Scotland for the seatbelt element in 2009. Thus, the current survey not only satisfies the need for more up-to-date evidence but also provides more information on compliance in Scotland than has been available previously.
Main findings
  • The proportion of car drivers observed using their seatbelt correctly in 2014 was 97.8%, an increase from the 95% recorded in 2009. 
  • The seatbelt wearing rate amongst rear seat car passengers has increased from 88% in 2009 to 99.0% in 2014. 
  • The proportion of car drivers observed using a mobile phone whilst driving was 1.3% at moving (free-flowing) sites and 1.6% at stationary (traffic light controlled junction) sites. 
  • The mobile usage rate at moving sites by drivers of ‘Other vehicles’ (vans, lorries, buses, coaches and mini-buses) was notably higher (2.9%) compared to car drivers. 
  • Drivers were more likely to be witnessed with a mobile phone in their hand than at their ear. 
Link to report 

Title User Perceptions of the Summary Blue Badge Guidance
Publication date 23 January 2015
Contractor KSO Research
Purpose of research The research explored users’ views and understanding of a proposed new ‘ten top tips’ document, developed by the Scottish Government’s Blue Badge policy team. The new summary document is aimed at ensuring that Blue Badge users and their carers are aware of the most important terms and conditions that come with taking part in the scheme.
Main findings
  • Overall, most of those who took part reported that the existing guidance on how to use a Blue Badge was comprehensive and easy to understand.
  • Overall, initial impressions of the new ‘ten top tips’ guidance document were positive. All said that it was easy to read and understand, and would be accessible for a wide range of badge holders.
  • Other than suggested changes to the wording of specific tips, the format and presentation of the new summary document was broadly supported, with only few suggested changes to its appearance.
  • The summary guidance was, in principle, welcomed by all those who took part in the research and, although several suggestions for changes were made to the draft document, all those who were consulted welcomed the idea of a quick reference reminder of their roles and responsibilities.
Link to report 

Title Improving the Evidence Base on Journey Time Reliability
Publication date 15 May 2015
Contractor Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Purpose of research The requirements of the research were set out in the Tender Document published by Transport Scotland on 11 October 2013. The principal aim of this research was to generate first hand evidence from road users in Scotland on journey time reliability. Further aims were to assess the usefulness of the data that exists within and outwith Transport Scotland on journey time reliability and, together with the principal aim, evaluate how this information might be used to update and improve the appraisal guidance on assessing journey time reliability impacts in Scotland.
Main findings
  • Views of companies, both involved in freight movement and not, were obtained via surveys. 
  • Trunk road reliability in Scotland was perceived to have deteriorated in recent years, but this did not appear to be a matter of great concern to most companies responding. 
  • Analysis of Automatic Traffic data Collection figures showed a range of journey time variability by month and detection site, but generally the journey time variability did not seem particularly great. 
  • An approximate linear relationship was found between the standard deviation of average speeds, for days taken at monthly intervals, and the inverse of speed. Such a relationship might prove useful in forecasting journey time variability. 
Link to report 

Title Review of STATS 19 form
Publication date 14 May 2015
Contractor Transport Research Lab (TRL)
Purpose of research STATS19 is a standard set of data that are collected by the police following personal injury accidents on the public road. The data are collated by local authorities, Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport and are used nationally to monitor trends, inform policy and to identify areas for action. There is no national data collection form; the protocol simply describes what data should be collected and how it should be submitted.  The aim of this project was to review the currently used versions of the STATS19 form by the legacy police forces in Scotland and produce a new form that incorporates recommendations for improvement that could be potentially rolled out nationally to help improve the quality of the personal injury road accident data collected in Scotland.
Main findings The output from this project has been the successful development of a suggested revised example STATS19 form, based on evidence from users of the form that may lead to improved data quality. Developing the form in Microsoft Excel was considered to be an improvement in terms of the accuracy and ease of completing, and respected Transport Scotland’s requirement for a solution that did not need large scale IT resources, hardware and training.  Alongside the development of the revised form, a number of future recommendations were identified relating to the data collection process, options for training and enhancing user engagement with the form, as well as modifications or refinements to variables and data collection items.
Link to report 

Title Evaluation of Laurencekirk Railway Station
Publication date 19 May 2015
Contractor SYSTRA
Purpose of research In December 2013 Transport Scotland commissioned a study to undertake an evaluation of the impact of the new station. This involved a process evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the implementation and delivery aspects of the project, and an outcome evaluation to determine whether the intended outcomes and objectives have been achieved.
Main findings Overall the findings from the process evaluation suggest that the delivery and implementation of the Laurencekirk station reopening was a success. The project was delivered on time and on budget. 
Link to report 

Title Evaluation of Airdrie to Bathgate Line
Publication date 19 May 2015
Contractor CH2M Hill
Purpose of research The aim of the Airdrie-Bathgate Stage 1 Outcome Evaluation is to provide an early assessment of the extent to which the project is on track to reach its objectives, through the examination of relevant monitoring data.
Main findings The research has shown that the project has achieved many of its objectives. At the same time it was not possible to determine the link between opening the rail link and some of the project objectives.
Link to report 

Title Evaluation of Larkhall to Milngavie Line
Publication date 19 May 2015
Contractor SYSTRA
Purpose of research SYSTRA were commissioned by Transport Scotland in March 2014 to undertake an evaluation of the Larkhall – Milngavie railway project and to provide recommendations for improvement of the draft Rail Evaluation Guidance. 
Main findings  The evaluation found that the project has been a success in terms of standard Transport Economic Efficiency (TEE) measures with the project’s benefits outweighing its costs. This is primarily due to higher than expected demand. However, there is only limited evidence to support the success of the project’s wider objectives. 
Link to report