The Department for Transport asked us to deliver a discovery project to understand and help make decisions about the methods used to collect road freight statistics.
The Discovery focussed on three mandatory paper surveys, completed by hauliers across the UK.
Our work focused on understanding the user needs (of both survey participants and data users), and what practical, accessibility and attitudinal issues there might be to adopting digital approaches.
We conducted user research with hauliers, through 1-2-1 interviews, a workshop, and field visits to observe hauliers in their own context.
We mapped out the service journey from start to finish, and conducted a full technology review. We also conducted an additional data review, to help understand the particular opportunities presented for collecting, coding, and managing the data differently, and for machine learning in particular.
Our recommendations were accompanied by a set of working concept prototypes for a future service.
A particular challenge for this project was to understand the wider legislative and cultural context for the service. To help understand this we interviewed those responsible for road freight statistics in other EU member states. Hearing the experiences of Austrian and Danish statisticians was especially valuable in understanding the possible constraints and opportunities for road freight data services.
The Department for Transport team are now confidently proceeding to Alpha, based on our recommendations.