Why we are celebrating world statistics day

20 October 2015

Today we are celebrating World Statistics Day, a global event supported by the United Nations to recognise the importance of statistics in shaping our societies. Statistics are valuable in highlighting trends, and in many cases causes of these trends, in almost all aspects of our lives – from world market movements to tracking social change and progress.

Accurate statistics and in-depth analysis helps organisations such as ours, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), identify factors contributing to good or bad rail performance; what causes passenger dissatisfaction; why freight moved by rail or road increases or falls; and this in turn helps us understand what measures can be taken to rectify things that may have an adverse impact on customers and the rail industry or the strategic road network.

ORR also publishes a series of National Statistics on rail, covering performance, safety, passenger usage, freight usage, complaints and finance.

To celebrate World Statistics Day, we would like to share with you some of the latest steps we've taken to ensure our statistics are helpful and provide a useful tool for those who are interested in the rail industry.

  • Our Data Portal is the home of rail industry statistics for Great Britain and it is frequently updated so users have access to the latest rail statistics from a variety of sources, all free of charge. We now have over 5,000 registered users and the portal is accessed from all corners of the globe.
  • We have also changed the way we present our statistical releases over recent months to make them accessible and easy to understand. We welcome your feedback so we can make further improvements.
  • We're continuously innovating in our use of infographics and have come a long way since our first hand drawn infographic which was published alongside the 2012-13 station usage data on ORR's rail twitter feed (@railregulation).  (View our latest infographics). We have hosted a number of live Twitter Q&A sessions to help people understand our stats releases.

Within ORR, the stats team provides vital support and analysis to many of the core functions across ORR including monitoring of Network Rail's and Highways England's delivery of their outputs and indicators, and supporting performance investigations as well as providing UK rail statistics to European bodies, such as Eurostat.

To know more about World Statistics Day, visit the website to see how other countries are celebrating it: https://worldstatisticsday.org/ or search #StatsDay15 on Twitter.

Lyndsey Melbourne is ORR's head of information and analysis.