Population data is fundamental to the estimation of levels of societal risk as well as providing potentially useful data for other aspects of the HSE's work.
The solution developed involved using postcode geography as a foundation and then adding and combining further datasets to provide a 'richer' set of population data that encompasses activity away from home.
The basic features which have been derived and mapped are buildings, transport routes and land uses. Datasets drawn on include cartographic data, remotely sensed land use data, postcode data, commercial directories and other list data and area based socio-economic data.
The research undertaken has shown that while a 'perfect' solution is not achievable, significant advances are possible in the quality, diversity and accuracy of population data used in major accident modelling and QRA.
There are a number of different ways in which enhanced population data may inform and improve the work of the HSE. These include the use of the data for the assessment of pipeline and transport as well as fixed site risks; making changes to accident modelling assumptions to reflect variations in population vulnerabilities; the development of macro level indicators of changes in population exposure to risk; and the use of data in regulatory impact assessments.
There are a number of recommendations emerging from the project related both to the uptake and implementation of the outcomes of the project and further research and development work in this area.
This report and the work it describes were funded by the HSE. Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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