Monday, 28 September 2009

Statistical imbalance

Of all of the disparities between different transportation modes, one of the most important and least talked about is the disparity of information. Right now in American cities we have an enormous and expanding set of knowledge about how cars and trucks move, yet we know almost nothing quantitatively about how pedestrians and bicyclists use the infrastructure.

Because pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure lacks this precision of data, or any data at all in most cases, there is little scientific support for funding it.

It’s the same in Waltham Forest. Cycling is measured on an irregular and wholly inadequate basis; walking is not measured at all. From time to time the council attempts to close public footpaths, and on not one occasion has it ever bothered to measure the use of those paths before it seeks to close them. Walking just isn’t important.