HS2 and the Rail Usage Drivers Dataset
The Government Response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee HS2 report referred to the Rail Usage Drivers Dataset, “a dataset of disaggregate ticket sales data between the years 1994/1995 and 2013/14, for over 20,000 flows and 6 ticket type categories”.
[Department for Transport statement on the Rail Usage Drivers Dataset, July 2015]
This ticket sale information is combined at a disaggregate level with data on possible drivers of rail demand (including population, employment, GVA and households) for the purpose of estimating elasticities using regressions. These elasticities are then used in rail forecasting.
The ticket sales data within RUDD cannot be shared as they are owned by the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and held by the Department under a duty of confidentiality, in accordance with the National Rail Franchise Terms in place between the Secretary of State and the train operators. The National Rail Franchise Terms can be found published either in or alongside the franchise agreements via the following webpage:
Under section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, information held under such a duty is subject to an absolute exemption from disclosure. […]
The Government Response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report contained aggregate data that was sourced from the RUDD database. These data were released with the agreement of the TOCs concerned for the purpose of the Government’s response to this report.
What isn’t clear, is why the government should have the exclusive right to access and use RUDD data in support of its own favoured policies (such as HS2). For example, statistics from RUDD might also clear up exactly how many of the “long distance” trips on Inter City West Coast, actually are long distance.