Department of Transport and Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: Statistics (Transport) Division and successors: Continuing Survey of Heavy Goods Vehicles Database

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Details of LM 1
Reference: LM 1
Title: Department of Transport and Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: Statistics (Transport) Division and successors: Continuing Survey of Heavy Goods Vehicles Database

The Heavy Goods Vehicle dataset contains records of the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport (CSRGT) from 1 January 1976 to 31 December 2003. The CSRGT sampled vehicles on Operators' Licences registered with the Department and collated data about one week's activity from each vehicle in the sample. The data is concerned with heavy goods vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight in 1997) using public roads and includes information on journeys made, weight of vehicle, types of goods moved and fuel used, together with some related documentation. It covers heavy goods vehicles registered in the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland from 1998) only; survey data relating to international road haulage and small goods freight are compiled separately. Only travel on public roads is surveyed; work done on private land is not included. The sample was spread evenly over the year so that the sample was 'self weighting' in respect of seasonal effects, holidays etc.

The key reason behind the collation of statistics relating to heavy goods vehicles was to provide essential information for transport policy purposes. Transport trends in road freight haulage vis-a-vis other types of internal haulage is considered vital information for an integrated transport policy. The statistics of the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport [GB] have also been utilised as follows:

  • For specific studies relating to transport matters such as 'Adjustment to National Taxation Systems' (ANTS); and environmental and other costs of lorries.
  • Ad hoc queries on transport matters for specific purposes.
  • Providing some of the statistics required by the EEC.

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date: 1976-2004

Application Software: Prior to 1984, the data was maintained in a purpose-built system held at the Department for Transport (DFT) in Hastings. In 1984, the data was transferred to a SIR (Statistics and Analysis, Integrated Applications, Relational Database) management system manufactured by SIR Pty Ltd of Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia. From 2004 the data was analysed using Microsoft Access 2000.

Logical structure and schema: With the transfer to a SIR database, in 1984, the data was copied from old computer files and up until 1982, only two records were available: information (VEHICLE), and journey information (JOURNEY). From 1982, the data was held in 4 records: vehicle information (VEHICLE), journey information (JOURNEY), journeys comprising 1 to 4 stops (MULTISTP), and journeys comprising more than 4 stops (MULTITRP). The JOURNEY records were not input from the survey questionnaire but were derived from the MULTISTP and MULTITRP records.

In 2003, major changes in the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport (CSRGT) sample methodology took place following a quality review of the DFT’s road freight surveys. In accordance with these changes, the DfT decided to procure a replacement database system to support the CSRGT (GB) Survey Process. Note that this new CSRGT (GB) system was originally held in SQL-Server format but the Department sought to analyse all of its data by means of a MS Access database. As complete details for the CSRGT (GB) system structure are unavailable, it is only presumed that the SQL-Server and the Access database were intrinsically linked in relationship to one another. Only the MS Access component of the system has been selected for permanent preservation.

How data was originally captured and validated: The data is based on a sample of about 350 vehicles each week. The operator of the vehicle provides details of all trips undertaken in one week; including domestic and foreign trips. Data includes type of activity, weight of vehicle, public and own account operation, length of haul, commodities carried, appearance of load and inter-regional flows. From 1989 fuel consumption was included. The data was collated using a questionnaire a copy of which can be viewed within the Reports of the Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport 1977-2005, as held in the documentation.

Constraints on the reliability of the data: There is some inconsistency in the format of vehicle registration mark data (REGKEY): some marks have preceding spaces, and others have one or more embedded spaces separating the mark components. For this reason, searches based on the REGKEY field may give incorrect results if exact matches are specified.

Validation performed after transfer: Details of the content and transformation validation checks performed by NDAD staff on the Survey of Heavy Goods Dataset are contained in the dataset catalogues.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Copies held at:

Printed reports were published

Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/14
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department for Transport, 2002-

Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 2001-2002

Department of Transport, 1976-1997

Physical description: 33 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: Access to the Survey of Heavy Goods Vehicles dataset and its related system documentation is closed for 30 years. The data is statute barred under the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. Other related documentation is open for public access via the Dataset Documentation Catalogue. Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only. Registered under the Data Protection Act.
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

in 2010 United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: Originally transferred from the Department of Transport to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The United Kingdom Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the datasets from 1997 until 2010 when they were transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Accumulation dates: File series ran from 1977 to 1990.
Selection and destruction information: Selected as being of national and long term informational value.
Accruals: Further accruals are not expected.
Publication note:

The Department publishes the dataset's findings annually in its Transport Statistics Report: Transport of Goods by Road in Great Britain, produced since 1976. The reports present a detailed analysis of the survey in the form of a commentary on recent trends and a set of reference tables. In June 2006, the first edition of Road Freight Statistics was produced, thereby superseding the previous publication.

Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 54 documents; 86 electronic documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1976 - 2006

Administrative / biographical background:

Within the Department for Transport, maintenance of the dataset and compilation of statistics using its findings was the responsibility of the Transport Statistics 4 unit of the Transport Statistics Freight division, Freight Distribution and Logistics section. The section was responsible for co-ordination of policy development across all freight transport modes within the wider industrial context of supply chain management developments.

In March 2005 the UK Government launched a new Sustainable Development Strategy which outlines a plan of sustainable development though to 2020. Within this strategy, there are a number of identifiable indicators that are transport-related, namely road freight indicators such as Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) CO2 emissions, kilometres, tonnes and Gross Domestic product. Although road freight has shown a strong increase, road freight intensity as measured by Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) kilometres per GDP has tended to decline since the mid-1960s (i.e. freight transport has grown more slowly than GDP). This is thought to be due to a shift towards the use of larger articulated vehicles carrying a greater payload.

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