Spot the difference
Can you spot the difference in the images above? (Hint: If you work for the Office of National Statistics this may be harder than it seems)
It all started a couple of days ago with that map that Simon found…
When Simon found the map and asked for some cycle data I decided it was about time that CycleStuff blog had a graph. Lets be honest we all love a graph, be it a bar, line or luxury of luxuries, a nicely coloured pie chart (Must be a link to all those hours we spent colouring things in as children). Anyway, to make a graph you need data and where better to start than a visit to the number fondlers at the Office of National Statistics? They’ve got loads of data, and over the last few years have realised that seeing as the taxpayers of the UK paid for it, it may be a good idea to allow us access to it. So I started searching for some cycling related data and after a few non-starters I found the promising sounding ‘Regional Trends Online Tables – Regional Statistics – Transport’. Pwhoar!, how about that for a sexy title to get the blood pumping?
Lurking inside that report were a number of data sets covering all sorts of travel data, from ‘Time taken to walk to local bus stop’ to the slightly more sobering stuff about road deaths, types of road death, road casualties by road type etc. After all the death and injury the ONS then subscribed to the old vaudeville adage of “finish on a song” with ‘Bus and light rail passenger journeys 2008′ – which will no doubt have them dancing in the aisles.
After letting the search function take the strain, I eventually found ‘Average distance travelled per person: by mode of transport, 2008 to 2009′ “ah now we’re I business” I thought to myself. So I set about extracting the cycling figures. ‘Walking‘ no not that one, “Car/Van driver” no, ‘Car/van Passenger‘ nope – I can see why they’d want to collect that, but I wonder how many of those passengers would quickly convert to single occupancy after they drop their cargo off at the local school (The data source was a survey so prone to the participants own interpretation of the questions).- I kept chugging through the headings, it wasn’t ‘Local bus’ or ‘Other public‘ so cycling must be included in ‘Other private‘. I nipped to the footnotes to check if the data did indeed include cycling – I was unaware of the “Eh!” that was rapidly approaching.
“Eh!” I thought, as I found that the data for cycling (clean, human powered transport) had been lumped in with Motorbikes (not clean and not human powered) and private hire buses (school buses etc – again not clean and not human powered, unless you happen to be living in a real-life version of The Flintstones).
Its bonkers, what possible reason could the ONS have for lumping bikes in with fossil fuel based vehicles? Surely grouping waking and cycling together would have made more sense?
Anyway, while I wait for the ONS to have a sudden and sensible change of heart, my search for cycling data will continue. I like a good stat…..You like a good stat…….WE like a good stat……..And we WILL have that graph! (and if you know of any, send them over please – I’m googled out).