The Department for Transport's (DfT) vision is for a transport system that is an engine for economic growth, but one that is also greener, safer and improves quality of life in our communities.
Most Operational Research staff in DfT are based in the In House Analytical Consultancy (IHAC). This comprises 9 staff, 4 located in London and 5 in Hastings. In addition, one member of staff is based in the Strategy Unit in London. IHAC operates as an internal consultancy, and provides an analytical problem solving service to DfT and its Agencies. Examples of recent projects include:
- Low Emission Vehicles - analysis of electric vehicle charging point data. This gave the policy team an insight into the use of electric vehicle charging point network: types of user (business or personal), frequency of use for each charging point, average charging time and popular charging times.
- Bus punctuality monitoring - analysis of punctuality data from a selection of bus operators to investigate the extent to which the Traffic Commissioners' punctuality standard is being met. The work contributed to the development of a new standard by the Traffic Commissioners and a new approach to improving punctuality at local level through partnership between operators and local traffic authorities.
- Search and Rescue Helicopters - support the procurement of new search and rescue helicopters, by evaluating bids received to determine how the service standards in each proposal differ from the current service standards. For example, for each proposal, this measured how much more of the sea under responsibility of the UK could be reached within one hour, compared with search and rescue helicopters in use today.
- Initial Evaluation of the Travelling to School Initiative initial evaluation of the Travelling to School Initiative , a joint DfT and Department for Education policy to reduce congestion and increase the proportion of pupils travelling to school by healthy and sustainable modes of transport.
- Seafarer Training and Employment - building a model to support the Shipping Task Force sub group in looking at the link between training and employment of UK seafarers, and tax relief given to companies. The aim was to model the current position, and estimate the cost and benefits of various proposals.
- Manpower planning - investigating the movement of staff through the department and the impact changes in their characteristics could have on the numbers of vacancies arising in future years. The purpose of this was to allow Human Resources to forecast any short and long term staffing issues, and the likelihood of DfT meeting both internal and Cabinet Office diversity targets.
- Supply and demand modelling of motoring agency activities – IHAC carried out several pieces of work to look at supply and demand of activities provided by the motoring services agencies, such as driving tests, issuing of driving licences, and commercial vehicle annual tests. We developed a simulation model of contact centres across four agencies, to test different scenarios. IHAC also looked at the locations of driving test centres, and modelled whether these are best placed to meet the demand from learner drivers.
- Driving examiner rostering - we designed a model to allocate driving test examiners in order to investigate capacity constraints at test centres. We also provided modelling and analysis to help improve demand forecasting for the practical driving test and resource allocation.
- Driver compliance checks - assisting the Association of Chief Police Officers to prepare for and run a UK-wide one day random check on driver licensing, vehicle licensing, vehicle testing and insurance, through design, sampling and statistical analysis. Similar sampling and statistical analysis has been undertaken for the Vehicle Operator Services Agency and the Northern Ireland Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency to look at vehicle condition of lorries and buses.