Monday, 25 May 2009

National Highways and Transport Public Satisfaction Survey

This mouthful of a title was a survey to measure public attitudes to local authority transport services. It was carried out in 2008, and measured attitudes to walking, cycling, and public transport. Thirty-three authorities took part, and the results for thirty of them are published here.

The idea is to identify best practice, and inform policy. 

In principle I'm all for consultation, and evidence-based policy development. Sadly (like most people, I suspect) my first thought was to see how my local authority stood in the rankings. It isn't there, but among neighbouring authorities, Oxfordshire ranks highly, and Buckinghamshire poorly for cycling issues.

As a general rule, people who participated seem to be most satisfied with the provision and condition of cycle routes, and least satisfied with provision of cycle parking. 

It must be tough for local authorities to do the right thing when they are faced with a small number of vocal activists on the one hand, and widespread apathy on the other. Particularly when so many votes in the forthcoming local elections are probably going to be influenced by MP's expenses, and the economic situation, rather than anything our local authorities are doing to improve our lot. This kind of survey must have a lot of potential to help shape better local priorities in areas of activity that don't have a high public profile. 

The 2008 survey seems to have been a first attempt, and I'm not sure that it is realising its full potential just yet. Perhaps the 2009 survey will tell us more.

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