Data and doubters: sample surveys 101

Data and doubters: sample surveys 101On the radio this week, talkback host Mike Hosking shared his reckons about AT’s annual research report into walking and cycling, which we covered yesterday. In particular, he simply couldn’t believe that 65% of Aucklanders think bike paths are good for the community. He didn’t just doubt the results, he doubted the methodology – and described the research as an ‘opt-in’ online survey filled in by ‘keyboard warriors’ and ‘bored deadbeats with nothing to do.’ Similarly, the NZ Herald ran an editorial referring to AT ‘surveying self-selected samples online for the answers it wants.’ But just because something seems too good to be true doesn’t mean it’s false. This study wasn’t an ‘opt-in’ …
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A majority of Aucklanders like bikes: AT’s 2018 Active Modes survey

A majority of Aucklanders like bikes: AT's 2018 Active Modes surveyEvery year, to round out the bare-bones data the automatic cycle counters supply, Auckland Transport commissions independent research, interviewing a representative sample of Aucklanders by location, age, and gender to find out what people think about walking and cycling. (We’ve covered previous surveys here and here.) Note: the screenshots below are from the full research report by TRA, which is located here. Long story short: the 2018 report confirms what our eyes are telling us as we travel around the city – there are more of us on bikes than ever. And people are feeling happier about bikes in general, and bikes in their community in particular. This is the result that’s leading the …
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Make bikes count – fill in your census form!

Make bikes count - fill in your census form!If you’re reading this after census day – you still have until the end of March to complete your census. Everything you need to know is here, or you can call the helpline on 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787) to speak to one of the team. Every five years, we all stand up to be counted for the national census, and the results help plan investment and policy for the next five years. It’s basically a ‘What Do People Do All Day’ that really, really matters. The 2018 Census takes place on Tuesday 6 March – and if you want bikes to count, you should be sure to add your voice. Why …
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Bikes, what bikes? These bikes!

Bikes, what bikes? These bikes!In a week where a few people were noisily skeptical about cycleways, it was exciting to get our hands on the November automatic bike trip data. We knew the city centre counts would most likely be up a bit: new connections (notably Nelson St through to Fanshawe/ Market Place), fantastic weather, a big old festival, and that grab-and-go bikeshare experiment. We knew there’d be a bump – but we didn’t quite expect a spike like this! Can we call it the Mike spike, or the Hosking curve? Or as one wag on Twitter suggested, it looks like a classic ‘hockey stick’ graph… a hosking stick? As always, the numbers are …
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Not raining on our parade

Not raining on our paradeThis winter has been extremely wet in Auckland – but the good news is that this hasn’t had much of an impact on the number of people cycling! Despite rain levels in Auckland being 150% (!) above normal, the September numbers on the 27 automatic counters around the city were substantially higher than the same month last year. At 14 regional count sites: 1.764 million cycle trips were recorded for the year of October 2016 to September 2017, an increase of 6.1% on the previous 12 months. 128,665 cycle trips were recorded in September 2017, an increase of 8.0% when compared to September 2016. At 13 city centre count sites: 1.774 million cycle trips were …
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Connect the dots – September bike counts hit the targets

Connect the dots - September bike counts hit the targetsHave you been just a bit more likely to take the car, bus or train in recent weeks? No? Good on you. But if you decided that it was just looking a bit more humid than usual out there, you weren’t mistaken. September 2016 wasn’t much colder than usual, but it was wet. How wet? Let’s start with the rainfall statistics from Metservice… A September almost three times as wet as the historical average, and good bit wetter than last year too. You’d expect bike numbers to drop a bit under those circumstances, eh? And yet citywide bike trips are up, as measured by the 14 bike counters spread across the region! Both …
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This is what efficiency looks like 

This is what efficiency looks like One of the things we sometimes hear is ‘I think bike lanes are a good idea, but I’d feel better about them if I saw more people using them.’ We’ve heard a few variations on this theme during this election season, like: ‘We need to be pragmatic about cycleways. They have a place, but the rights of cyclists must be fairly balanced with the rights of those who do not use cycles.’ (That’s mayoral candidate John Palino). ‘We will use [data] to assess the efficacy of bus and cycle lanes throughout Auckland, ensuring we are not turning our roads into unproductive assets.’ (That’s mayoral candidate Vic Crone). Hey, we get it. You’re …
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