Innovative Methods in European Road Freight Transport Statistics: a Revolution in Terms of Quality, Costs and Time.

Innovative Methods in European Road Freight Transport Statistics: a Revolution in Terms of Quality, Costs and Time.


R Bauer, M Schedl, Paradigma Unternehmensberatung Gmbh, DE; E Fuerst, P Oberhofer, WU Vienna, AT


Road freight transport statistics in Austria covers all transports by Austrian companies. We present innovative data collection methods which save time and costs and improve quality of the results at the same time.


According to the European Statistical System, official road freight transport statistics in Austria covers all transports by national companies with at least one lorry above 2 tonnes load capacity or at least one articulated lorry. The mandatory statistics are based upon a sample survey conducted by STATISTICS AUSTRIA, Austria's national statistics institute (NSI). As only a minority of respondents already use the web-based questionnaire which has been available for some time now to deliver their statistical reports, most data is still reported on paper questionnaires.

The questionnaires are currently returned to STATISTICS AUSTRIA via regular mail or fax. Frequently, data are incomplete or inconsistent. Manual checks and interaction on the part of STATISTICS AUSTRIA - sometimes involving direct contacts to respondents ? are necessary. The current approach which is similar in other EU Member States and the other countries reporting to the European Statistical System (ESS) represents a substantial administrative burden for respondents and causes significant lead times in the publication process of the results. Therefore this process can be regarded as time- and cost-consuming, involves many sources of error and could be substantially improved in terms of quality and actuality of results.

In our project we showed by an experimental development, how
1. on-board devices for vehicle positioning as well as
2. data already available in transport management (TMS) and enterprise resource planning systems (ERPS)
can be used to automatically collect, electronically process and check data and to generate and eventually transmit the statistical reports. Without any intermediary step this data can then be further processed by national statistical institutes for analytical purposes and the final publication of the results.

This can be done in particularly reaping the potentials of data already available in companies? databases and using them in the production process of road transport statistics by STATISTICS AUSTRIA or any other National Statistical Institute. The only precondition for this purpose is to define and implement an interface which allows the electronic submission of road freight transport data. STATISTICS AUSTRIA as one out of a few NSIs in Europe already provides such an interface.

The solution exemplarily realised at a large and a medium road freight transport company means that it is no longer necessary to read out data for transport statistical reports from companies' databases, write them by hand on a paper questionnaire, transmit them physically or via analogue transfer means and eventually type them into another electronic system again. It improves the entire process and shows that innovative data collection methods can save time and costs at companies and the national statistical institutes and simultaneously improve significantly the quality of the results.

The applicability of the solution is not restricted to Austria; it is conceived in a way making it applicable in many European countries. Thus it serves to significantly increase quality and quantity data and hence official statistics all over Europe and leads to a substantial reduction of the administrative burden of the surveyed companies. It also helps to raise efficiency in the statistical production process leading to cost reductions and time savings. The new system is most beneficial for the users of statistics as results are more reliable and available earlier.


Association for European Transport