9208.0 - Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 12 months ended 31 October 2014  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/10/2015   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU) provides a nationwide picture of motor vehicle use which will be used for policy and planning including the allocation of Federal road funding; road planning, building and maintenance; enhancing road safety and other activities.

The SMVU examines motor vehicle use for a reference year.

SMVU collects information from 16,000 registered vehicles in Australia and estimations based on detailed cross classifications are likely to result in high relative standard errors.

Vehicles are classified to state of registration. Area of operation is a data item broadly defined and reported by respondents.

The main output data items are distance travelled and tonne-kilometres. The tonne-kilometres is not obtained directly but is derived for all records from collected distance and load weight information.


The population frame for sampling the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use was generated from the Motor Vehicle Census (MVC) at the 31 January 2013.

There are 16,000 selections used for the three reference periods. The first period beginning November 2013 with the third and final period finishing in October 2014.


The survey is designed to obtain quality estimates for key data items of total distance travelled and tonne-kilometres.

The delay between the date of the frame and the collection period requires adjustments for new vehicles and re-registered vehicles.

The overall response rate for 2014 was 73%. The need for imputation of unanswered questions on returned questionnaires is quite high, with 42% of all responses requiring imputation of one or more questions for 2014. Average rate of fuel consumption had to be imputed for 27% of vehicles which reported travelling some distance during the reference period.

For further information refer to the Data Quality section of the Technical Note.


The ABS has released a coherent set of statistics of motor vehicle use since 1998.

A change to the methodology in 1998 means that care should be taken in making direct comparisons between 1998 data onwards and that from previous surveys.

Additionally, care should be taken in drawing inferences from changes in the data over time for the current time series as the survey is designed for level estimates not movement estimates. Refer to the Technical Note.

The 2014 SMVU was run with an additional road freight component, published in Road Freight Movements, Australia (cat. no. 9223.0). The SMVU 2014 and the road freight component were designed together to provide coherent estimates at the state of registration by vehicle type level for total distance travelled, tonne-kilometres and total tonnes.


Information on interpreting the results of this survey is provided in the Technical Note.


The Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU) release is available on the ABS website with data contained in a Data Cube. The ABS may have other data available from the Survey on request.