Tag Archives: Bus Lane

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