A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



This is the third of a series of reports on inquiries made into workers’ transport problems. The first inquiry was carried out in August 1942 and consisted of a few questions only.

In January and February 1943 a second inquiry was made. The same questions were asked and also some additional questions as more detailed information was required. In the January inquiry a larger sample was taken so that results could be given for twelve different regions. As a result of this second inquiry the conditions prevailing in summer and winter could be compared.

The original purpose of the present inquiry was to compare the situation in August 1943 with the situation as shown by the first inquiry in August 1942. However it was not possible to carry out the inquiry in August 1943, and therefore, the nearest possible date after that was chosen. Interviewing in the present inquiry took place between 14th September and 26th October. The results are therefore not comparable with results for August 1942, and insofar as season and blackout times are concerned, they represent a period in between the other two inquiries.

The times of the blackout in London on the middle days of the three inquiries are given below:

Blackout times
12 th August 1942 5. 8 a.m. 9. 2 p.m.
31 st January 1943 8.13 a.m. 6.15 p.m.
4 th October 1943 6.34 a.m. 7. 3 p.m.

It will be seen that insofar as the evening times of blackout are concerned there is more difference between 4th October 1943 and 12th August 1942 than there is between 4th October 1943 and 31st January 1943. The morning time of blackout on October 4th is rather nearer that of 12th August than that of 31st January.

It should be noted also that the first four days of the inquiry made in August 1942 were during double summer time.

In this report results at the three periods are compared. Where the differences between different groups, regions, occupations, age-groups etc. are similar to those shown in the January inquiry this is stated, and in general the results are not given in detail. Detailed results for groups are given where differences from January are shown. It should be pointed out that fewer analyses of results were made in the earliest inquiry in August 1942 and therefore, comparison cannot be made in all cases, e.g. no analysis was made by size of town or situation of work place.



  1. (1) In general results compare more closely with those for January 1943 than those for August 1942. Weather and blackout conditions are more favourable in September - October than in January, though less favourable than in August. The fact that the results are nearer to those for January suggests therefore, that the situation has worsened somewhat.

  2. (2) 62% of workers, the same proportion as in January, used public transport services as compared with 53% in August 1942. If it be assumed that in general more use is made of transport services in winter than in summer, then it appears that there is a relative increase in the proportions using them.

  3. (3) There is a slight increase in the proportions cycling and a slight decrease in the proportions walking as compared with January.

  4. (4) 28% of workers took more than half an hour over the journey to work, as compared with 30% in January and 23% in August. Here again the results of the present survey are nearer to those for January 1943 than to those for August 1942.

In general, the differences between regions and occupation groups are similar to those found in January.

(5) 28% said that they were dissatisfied with transport as against 34% in January and 17% in August. As before those using public transport were more frequently dissatisfied than those cycling and walking. There is a decrease in the proportions of those using trams and trains who are dissatisfied as compared with January.

Dissatisfaction is still highest in S. Wales but there is a considerable decrease in the proportions dissatisfied in this region. There is also some improvement in the North East, North West and South.

Dissatisfaction has decreased amongst miners but still maintains a relatively high figure in the case of workers in heavy manufacturing industries. Light war manufacture shows some improvement as compared with January.

The Sample

The sample was selected in the same way as in the January inquiry. Only urban areas were included. The population was defined as the bulk of wage-earners in these areas. Agricultural workers and some small groups such as professional workers and those in managerial positions were excluded.

Within each of the twelve regions the sample was selected in such a way that the proportions of men and women in different occupation groups in urban areas were representative and the same as in the last inquiry.

A minimum of 300 interviews per region was set, with samples of 400 in Scotland, the North West, the Midlands, and London, as before. In the present inquiry however, only half the quota was completed in the South East region because three of the towns chosen had been closed by the military authorities.

In order to obtain a representative sample (so that each region was represented in the whole sample in proportion to its population), the total sample of 3944 was reduced to a sample of 2944 by rejecting the appropriate number of interviews from the smaller regions. Thus all the interviews were used only in the regional breakdowns, other results being based on the reduced representative sample.

The towns visited, with a few exceptions only, were the same as in January, and in some cases the same places of work were visited. It should be noted that the towns chosen in January were the same as those visited in the August inquiry with some additions.

Details of the sample are given at the end of this report.


In tables showing analyses of results by occupation the sample figures for Light (1) munitions workers, and Light (2), other light factory workers, have been bracketed together because the proportion of munitions workers included in the sample is based on confidential material.

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