Category Archives: Stats in the News

News stories that are related to or rely on the use of data and statistics.

Data, Traffic and the need for Statisticians

arrow-44131_1280Although unrelated to statistical education or our activities we thought a recent local news story might be a good ‘piece for the archive’ for the statistical education champions out there.

The story in question regards the closure of a recently created bus lane along a busy stretch of road in to and out of a small city, Truro, located in Cornwall, South West UK.  For the full details  via the local newspaper use the link below.

Apart from the costs involved, that incidentally do not cover the difficult to measure knock-on costs related to delays, the most significant point  is that a measure intended to ease congestion and speed up journey times for road users has had the exact opposite effect.

Truro bus lane will be scrapped on Monday

This is a vast over-simplification to illustrate a point – traffic control is a fairly universal issue, common to civil authorities of any municipality large or small, and this is a nice example of how things can go wrong if data diligence (I just made that up) is not done or not done with great care. What can we learn from this?

1.  There is a general lack of knowledge and skill when it comes to the use of statistics and data handling, even among those in technical careers .

2. Employ a statistician, they could save you £60,000 in the long run.

As a frivolous afterthought…even if data for this particular stretch of road did not exist, it almost certainly did exist and must, one would hope, have informed the planning decision. You can download data for South West roads via the Department of Transport website that would provide an insight helpful for planning – make of it what you will.

Traffic Points – Cornwall traffic profile for 2000 to 2014

 

Don’t Panic – How to End Poverty in 15 Years

Tomorrow night on BBC TWO (UK) Statistician Professor Hans Rosling is back with more amazing visualisations, showing the world how we can end poverty. This is part of the BBC’s This World series, find out more using the link below.

Professor Rosling is an excellent communicator and educator who likes to let data do the talking with some exceptional data visualisations. Watch the programme live on the 23rd September (8:00pm, BBC TWO) or catch it on the iPlayer (UK) afterward.

Many of you will be familiar with the GapMinder project and the previous programme shown on the BBC to feature Professor Rosling entitled The Joy of Stats, this appears to now be available, in full, on YouTube.

Increase Your Chances of Getting a Graduate Job

It was interesting to see this post on the ASA (American Statistical Association) This is Statistics site that hints at a big demand for statisticians in the future.

It goes on to say that careers in statistics will grow much faster within the predicted period (2012-2022) than any other occupation and that earnings will remain high. The prediction is via the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics but recent stories in the UK, would tend to indicate the same is true here.

The article ends with a call to educators to share this information with students as far and as wide as possible.

So…don’t go nudging your students into becoming Mathematical Physicists, as valuable a career choice as that is, put them on to a career in statistics instead, they will thank you for it in the future when they walk straight into that graduate job.

 

World Stats Quiz

WOS LogoThe World Stats Quiz launched in 2013 as part of The World of Statistics, has now moved and can be found right here on the ICSE site.

Produced by Plymouth University in cooperation with the International CensusAtSchool Project the quiz now has thousands of responses.

You are welcome to take part and can access the quiz here.

Why not visit the World of Statistics website for news and resources.