9208.0 - Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 12 months ended 30 June 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/03/2017   
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TECHNICAL NOTE DATA QUALITY INDICATORS


DATA QUALITY

1 When interpreting the results of a survey it is important to take into account factors that may affect the reliability of estimates. The survey procedures as well as sampling and non-sampling errors should be considered. Examination of the following quality indicators will assist users in determining fitness for purpose of estimates produced from the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU).


SAMPLING ERROR

2 Estimates from SMVU are based on information collected for a sample of registered motor vehicles, rather than all registered vehicles. The estimates may differ from those that would have been produced if all registered motor vehicles had been included in the survey. This difference is referred to as sampling error.

3 One measure of sampling error is the Relative Standard Error (RSE), which indicates the extent to which a survey estimate is likely to deviate from the true population, expressed as a percentage of the estimate. Estimates with a RSE of 25% or greater are subject to high sampling error and should be used with caution.

4 In the datacubes associated with this release, estimates are presented side by side with their RSE. It is important to consider the RSEs when using estimates produced from SMVU as it affects the reliability of the estimates, and therefore the importance that can be placed on interpretations drawn from the data.

5 Another measure of sampling variability is the Standard Error (SE), which is an indication of the sampling error expressed in numeric terms.

6 The reliability of estimates can also be assessed in terms of a confidence interval. Confidence intervals represent the range in which the population value is likely to lie. They are constructed using the estimate of the population value and its associated standard error. For example, there is approximately a 95% chance (i.e. 19 chances in 20) that the population value lies within two standard errors of the estimates, so the 95% confidence interval is equal to the estimate plus or minus two standard errors.

7 The example below demonstrates how each of the reliability measures described above can be calculated and interpreted:

Relative Standard Error (RSE)
From Table 4 of the datacube:
Total kilometres travelled by passenger vehicles, Australia, 2015-16
Estimate = 175,899 million kilometres
RSE = 2.74%
Since the RSE on the estimate is less than 25%, the estimate would be considered reliable enough for general use.

Standard Error (SE)
SE = RSE x estimate
SE (Total kilometres travelled by passenger vehicles, Australia, 2015-16) = 2.74% x 175,899 = 4,820 million kilometres

95% Confidence Interval
95% confidence interval = Estimate plus or minus 2 x SE
Lower limit of the interval = 175,899 - (2 x 4,820) = 166,259 million kilometres
Upper limit of the interval = 175,899 + (2 x 4,820) =185,539 million kilometres
95% Confidence Interval = 166,259 to 185,539 million kilometres

      It can, therefore, be considered with 95% reliability that the true distance travelled by registered passenger vehicles in Australia is between 166,259 and 185,539 million kilometres.

8 It is important to note that estimates at more detailed levels than the above are subject to higher RSEs and therefore are less reliable.

9 The movement estimated by comparing SMVU data from different time periods is also subject to sampling error.

10 The standard error for the movement between two years can be approximated for SMVU using the following formula
      Equation: EQ1_SE
      where Equation: EQ2is an estimate of total of the variable of interest, obtained from the 1st time point Equation: EQ3is an estimate of total of the same variable of interest, obtained from the 2nd time point Equation: EQ4is an estimate of movement of the total of the variable of interest from the 1st time point to the 2nd time point, ie Equation: EQ5

11 Estimates of movement produced from SMVU are subject to significant sampling error, and particular caution should be used when making inferences about differences between estimates over time.

12 The example below demonstrates how the reliability of movement in SMVU estimates can be calculated and interpreted:

Standard Error (SE) of movement
From Table 4 of the datacube:
Total kilometres travelled by passenger vehicles, Australia, 2014 = 176,805 million kilometres (RSE = 3.15%)
Total kilometres travelled by passenger vehicles, Australia, 2016 = 175,899 million kilometres (RSE = 2.74%)
Movement between estimates = - 906 million kilometres
SE(Movement) =7,362 million kilometres

95% Confidence Interval of movement
95% confidence interval = Estimate plus or minus 2 x SE
Lower limit of the interval = -906 - (2 x 7,362) = -15,632 million kilometres
Upper limit of the interval = -906 + (2 x 7,362) = 13,820 million kilometres
      It can, therefore, be considered with 95% reliability that the true movement in distance travelled by registered passenger vehicles in Australia from 2014 to 2016 is between a decrease of 15,632 million kilometres and an increase of 13,820 million kilometres.

13 The table below presents the standard error and 95% confidence intervals for the estimated movement in total kilometres travelled by type of vehicle from SMVU 2014 to SMVU 2016.

SE OF THE MOVEMENT OF TOTAL KILOMETRES TRAVELLED - 2014 and 2016(a)

LEVEL ESTIMATES (b)
MOVEMENT ESTIMATES (b)
2014
RSE (2014)
2016
RSE (2016)
Movement
SE (Movement)
95% Confidence Interval of movement
Lower Limit
Upper Limit
mill.
%
mill.
%
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.

Type of vehicle
Passenger vehicles
176 805
3.15
175 899
2.74
-906
7 362
-15 632
13 820
Motor cycles
2 162
9.12
2 176
9.71
13
288
-564
591
Light commercial vehicles
45 540
2.73
50 778
3.14
5 238
2 021
1 196
9 280
Rigid trucks
9 394
2.96
10 301
2.9
907
407
92
1 723
Articulated trucks
7 820
1.62
7 613
1.84
-207
188
-584
171
Non-freight trucks
346
14.72
290
15.63
-55
68
-192
81
Buses
2 304
4.23
2 456
4.41
152
145
-139
444
Total
244 369
2.33
249 512
2.09
5 143
7 724
-10 306
20 592

(a) Data for 2014 are for 12 months ended 31 October and data for 2016 are for 12 months ended 30 June.
(b) Calculated on unrounded RSE estimates.



NON-SAMPLING ERROR

14 Non-sampling error covers the range of errors that are not caused by sampling and can occur in any statistical collection whether it is based on full enumeration or a sample. For example, non-sampling error can occur because of non-response to the statistical collection, errors or omissions in reporting, definition or classification difficulties, errors in transcribing and processing data and under-coverage of the frame from which the sample was selected. If these errors are systematic (not random) then the survey results will be distorted in one direction and therefore will be unrepresentative of the target population. Systematic errors result in bias.

15 A number of indicators of possible non-sampling error are outlined below.


Imputation

16 Imputation is the process whereby a value is generated for missing data. Data may be missing for a particular data item (partial imputation), or for a unit which has not responded to the questionnaire (full imputation). For SMVU, imputed values are based on responses for similar vehicles which were operating for the reference period.

17 Imputation introduces non-sampling error, and the contribution to estimates from imputed data provides one measure of the reliability of the estimates. As for previous surveys, the need for imputation of unanswered items on the returned questionnaires remained quite high. The tables below show the percentage contribution to the estimates from both partial and full imputation.

CONTRIBUTION TO ESTIMATES FROM IMPUTATION(a), State/territory of registration

Percentage of total kilometres travelled
Percentage of total tonne-kilometres travelled
Percentage of fuel consumption
%
%
%

New South Wales
24
28
52
Victoria
20
36
48
Queensland
25
35
48
South Australia
20
30
47
Western Australia
21
29
46
Tasmania
22
27
47
Northern Territory
31
33
50
Australian Capital Territory
23
36
44
Australia
23
32
49

(a) Includes both partial and full imputation

CONTRIBUTION TO ESTIMATES FROM IMPUTATION(a), Type of vehicle

Percentage of total kilometres travelled
Percentage of total tonne-kilometres travelled
Percentage of fuel consumption
%
%
%

Passenger vehicles
22
. .
52
Motor cycles
26
. .
53
Light commercial vehicles
25
55
42
Rigid trucks
19
32
36
Articulated trucks
20
31
45
Non-freight carrying vehicles
18
. .
23
Buses
11
. .
48
Total
23
32
49

. . not applicable
(a) Includes both partial and full imputation



Response and non-response

18 An important factor that affects non-sampling error is the response rate achieve The ABS makes all reasonable efforts to maximise response rates. For SMVU, mail reminders and telephone follow-up were used to attempt to contact non-responding vehicle owners. Usable responses were received from 79% of all of the selections for 2016, comprised of 76% from registered vehicles and 3% from unregistered vehicles, out of scope and duplicates.

RESPONSE AND NON-RESPONSE BY CATEGORY

Percentage of selections 2016
%

Response received
Registered vehicle
76
Unregistered vehicle(a)
3
Non-response
Untraceable - mailing address unknown
3
Other(b)
18
Total selections
100

(a) Includes deregistration, out of scope and duplicates.
(b) Includes: responses that were unusable because of unresolved queries or where the vehicle was sold during the reference third and the reported data covered less than 14 days; non-response where no listing could be found to enable contact by telephone; and owner contacted by telephone but response still not secured.


19 After removing those vehicles that had been found to be deregistered or out of scope, the response rate for the 2016 SMVU was 79%.

20 Response rates for each state and territory, and for each vehicle type, are shown in the following tables:

RESPONSE RATES, State/Territory

Response rate
%

New South Wales
81
Victoria
79
Queensland
78
South Australia
83
Western Australia
80
Tasmania
80
Northern Territory
72
Australian Capital Territory
77
Australia
79


RESPONSE RATES, Type of vehicle

Response rate
%

Passenger vehicle
76
Motor cycles
74
Light commercial vehicles
75
Rigid trucks
79
Articulated trucks
81
Non-freight carrying trucks
85
Buses
84
Total
79



21 For the SMVU, it is assumed that the characteristics of non-responding vehicles are the same as for like responding vehicles. Non-response has the potential to cause non-response bias, which occurs if the usage patterns of the non-responding vehicles differ from those of the responding vehicles. For example, the lowest response rate achieved by vehicle type was for motor cycles (74%). This could result in the estimates for motor cycles being of a lower quality than other vehicle types.


Frame quality

22 A population or survey frame of 18.2 million vehicles was identified on 31 January 2015 using information obtained from the state and territory motor vehicle registration authorities, as part of the annual ABS Motor Vehicle Census (MVC) (cat. no. 9309.0).

23 The reliability of this frame in providing an accurate number of vehicles in scope of the survey is indicated by the number of duplicate vehicle registrations, vehicle de-registrations prior to frame extract, and out-of-scope vehicles identified. For 2016, approximately 0.7% of the total frame were identified as such. This indicates the frame was reliable in terms of providing an accurate number of registered vehicles in Australia.

24 Another indicator of frame quality is the number of units identified as in scope with different characteristics compared to what was recorded on the frame. For SMVU, this can arise when respondents indicate an alteration has been made to the vehicle body, resulting in a different body type to that recorded on the frame. These changes can happen during the time-lag between finalising the frame and collection of SMVU data (between 5 and 17 months). Vehicle classification anomalies can also result from data supplied by state and territory vehicle registration authorities.

25 An assessment of vehicle classification anomalies from 2016 data shows that while there was no bias towards specific states or territories, there were marked discrepancies for some vehicle types. For vehicles on the frame that were listed as non-freight carrying trucks, 25.0% were found to be other vehicle types and 13.6% of vehicles listed as buses were found to be other vehicle types. This issue was not significant for other vehicle types on the frame.



SURVEY PROCEDURES

26 The survey is comprised of three independent samples, with a different one used for each four month period in the overall 12 month survey period. Estimates from each of these samples are aggregated and adjusted for new motor vehicles and re-registrations of vehicles to produce an annual estimate.


Adjustments

27 The SMVU aims to measure the use of all vehicles registered during the reference year. Because selections are taken from vehicles registered some time before the beginning of each collection period, adjustments are made to account for the change in size of the registered motor vehicle fleet since the population frame was created. For the 2016 SMVU, the frame was created on 31 January 2015. These adjustments involved two categories:
  • re-registrations - older vehicles that are returning to the registered vehicle fleet after a period of de-registration, and
  • new motor vehicles - vehicles which have not been previously registered.

CONTRIBUTION OF ADJUSTMENTS FOR RE-REGISTRATIONS(a), Australia - 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016(b)

PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL KILOMETRES TRAVELLED
2007
2010
2012
2014
2016
%
%
%
%
%

Type of Vehicle
Passenger vehicles
3
2
1
-
-
Motor cycles
7
8
7
1
3
Light commercial vehicles
2
2
2
-
1
Rigid trucks
2
3
3
-
2
Articulated trucks
4
4
4
-1
2
Non-freight carrying vehicles
2
6
1
1
2
Buses
-2
6
5
2
2
Total
3
2
1
-
-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Estimates for 2014 were produced using a different method than in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2016. The contribution of adjustments for re-registrations for 2014 is not comparable with other years.
(b) Data for 2007, 2010, 2014 are for 12 months ended 31 October. Data for 2012 and 2016 are for 12 months ended 30 June.


28 These activities occur continuously and the adjustments are made to account for the registrations that are estimated to have been added to or removed from the registered vehicle fleet between the population frame date and the end of the reference period. The adjustment process also accounts for de-registrations. This means it is possible for the re-registration factor to be negative.

CONTRIBUTION OF NEW VEHICLES REGISTERED AFTER FRAME CREATION - 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016(a)

PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL KILOMETRES TRAVELLED
2007
%
2010
%
2012
%
2014
%
2016
%

Type of Vehicle
Passenger vehicles
10
9
7
10
7
Motor cycles
15
11
9
11
8
Light commercial vehicles
14
10
8
11
7
Rigid trucks
12
8
6
6
6
Articulated trucks
17
11
9
16
8
Non-freight carrying trucks
9
8
13
13
11
Buses
16
5
5
3
4
Total
11
9
7
10
7

(a) Data for 2007, 2010, 2014 are for 12 months ended 31 October. Data for 2012 and 2016 are for 12 months ended 30 June.




Nil use

29 Some providers may report nil use for the 4 month reference period in which they were selected. Nil use vehicles are registered vehicles that report no travel during that specific reference period. Nil use vehicles are included in the survey as their reported nil use is representative of other vehicles in the population. Vehicles may have nil use due to factors such as seasonal usage, mechanical faults or economic conditions. Where a provider gives a nil use response, a follow-up phone call is used to check the veracity of the response.

NIL USE, Vehicle type - 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016(a)

2007
2010
2012
2014
2016

NUMBER OF REGISTERED VEHICLES WITH NIL USE

Passenger vehicles
456 884
561 613
479 179
476 348
315 089
Motor cycles
125 547
148 217
182 308
196 887
231 039
Light commercial vehicles
114 241
122 227
71 292
103 727
99 456
Rigid trucks
36 660
34 647
36 549
38 541
39 461
Articulated trucks
3 680
5 165
6 162
6 652
5 092
Non-freight carrying trucks
1 418
2 424
3 157
2 566
1 532
Buses
1 510
2 831
1 809
2 006
2 644
Total
739 940
877 123
780 455
826 725
694 315

PROPORTION OF REGISTERED VEHICLES WITH NIL USE (%)

Passenger vehicles
4
4
5
4
2
Motor cycles
22
25
23
26
28
Light commercial vehicles
6
5
5
3
3
Rigid trucks
9
9
8
8
8
Articulated trucks
6
5
6
7
5
Non-freight carrying trucks
7
7
11
15
7
Buses
2
2
4
2
3
Total
5
5
6
5
4

(a) Data for 2007, 2010, 2014 are for 12 months ended 31 October. Data for 2012 and 2016 are for 12 months ended 30 June.