Author Topic: Traffic Census  (Read 5136 times)

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Offline Spunkymonkey

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Traffic Census
« on: September 18, 2014, 08:01:07 PM »
Swindon Borough Council appear to carrying out an extensive traffic census at the moment. Several of my colleagues have been stopped at various locations in recent weeks and asked to answer a questionnaire.

I was pulled over twice today on Westfield Way by a group of researchers in high viz jackets with a police officer in attendance.

In some areas drivers are asked to pull over into a layby and answer a series of questions. There is no suitable layby in Westfield Way, so I was handed a questionnaire and a reply envelope and sent on my way.

When I got to work, I realised that the questionnaire was asking for personal details including name and address, but there was no Data Protection declaration on the form. I contacted the council's Data Protection Officer who was unaware of the survey. I explained what was happening and was told that based on the information that I had provided the form was in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Why do SBC always employ cowboys for this type of thing?



Offline Alligator

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2014, 11:44:07 PM »
We received a couple of these the other day.  I think Mrs Alligator carefully placed them in the orange filing cabinet when we got home.

What struck us most, aside from the poor choice of answers available to some questions, was that the two men in high vis jackets were supported by a boy in blue who was standing in the middle of the road doing very little.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2014, 12:08:03 AM »
I saw this in operation as I drove towards Wootton basset today.

My reaction was that it seemed like a damned cheek to cone off a lane during a busy time of day in order to further inconvenience people by making them stop. Presumably actually accepting questionnaire or even answering the questions is voluntary, but it looked like a remarkably old school and blunt-edged way of collecting information.

The biggest waste of time and effort certainly seemed to be in the amount of police time which was obviously having to be diverted. If SBC Highways Department want to play at being Morai, surely there are less invasive, intrusive, inconvenient and costly ways of getting the data they need...?  :o

I'd be very interested to know what questions they are asking - and whether they are the usual kind of leading questions which heralds yet another bit of 'con-sultation' and another done deal as part of our vibrant civic regeneration ...  ::)
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2014, 12:42:39 AM »
Presumably actually accepting questionnaire or even answering the questions is voluntary, but it looked like a remarkably old school and blunt-edged way of collecting information.

Answering the questions is voluntary, but the police presence might imply otherwise to some. To be honest, due to the police presence I assumed that I was being pulled over for a road worthiness check or a breathalyser.

Quote
I'd be very interested to know what questions they are asking - and whether they are the usual kind of leading questions which heralds yet another bit of 'con-sultation' and another done deal as part of our vibrant civic regeneration ..

Nothing exciting. I will scan the questionnaire at work tomorrow if I remember.

Q1. Type of vehicle.
Q2. Number of occupants.
Q3. Where did you start your journey?
Q4. Origin purpose?
Q5. Where did you park at start of journey?
Q6. Where is your destination?
Q7. Destination purpose?
Q8. Where will you park at destination?

The problem is if you give your address at Q3 or Q6 and answer 'home' at Q4 or Q7, they have breached the Data Protection Act by not having a DP declaration on the form. There is also a prize draw which requires the respondent to enter their name and address - also a breach of DP if they don't tell you how they will use and store your data.

Unusually for a public questionnaire they didn't ask for my ethic origin or sexual orientation. Ironically this is one of the few occasions when an equality question might actually prove relevant. After all a physical disability might influence a persons mode of transport and parking options.

The survey is being carried out by Sky High Traffic data who are based in Tadcaster. I am guessing they are charging a small fortune to collect the data and large fortune to process it.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2014, 03:48:59 PM »
... If they are a commercial body, what right do they have to stop or inconvenience ANYONE who is going about their lawful business on the public highway...?

...let alone getting to do it with active police support/collusion...?!  :o

Inviting people to participate is one thing, but having a plod or official looking hi-viz gumpty waving you off into a laybye so you can have your time thoroughly wasted is something else.

I wonder if it had any connection to Mr McBurger McPherson's latest press release?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11483248.Angler_caught_in_crime_crackdown/

Quote
ANGLING equipment was among the catch of the day during a crackdown on rural crime.

The seizure, made at 7pm during patrols at the The Lawns fishing lakes, came during a day of action to combat rural crime in Highworth on Wednesday.

There was also a crackdown on traffic and vehicle crime after Wiltshire Police teamed up with colleagues from Hampshire, the Thames Valley and Gloucester-shire.


....
Quote
Elsewhere, vehicle, fuel and licence checks were carried out throughout the day and, working with partners from the Vehicle And Operator Services Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and Wiltshire Council, the results revealed a long list of offences.

PCSO John Bordiss, from Wiltshire Police’s rural crime team, said: “This operation was a great example of multi-agency working at its best.

“Bringing together regulatory experts such as HMRC, Roads Policing Unit and Wiltshire Council enables us to target offenders robustly and efficiently.

“Our actions in Marlborough were mirrored in Highworth, Warminster and neighbouring police force areas, showing a high level of commitment by all involved to preventing and detecting criminality in rural areas.”

More than 350 cars were stopped during the exercise. Police issued nine fixed penalty notices, nine vehicle defect rectification notices and nine verbal warnings.

Police also impounded one vehicle, issued three prohibition notices and sent a person to court for traffic offences.


...?  :-\
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 04:33:44 PM »
We complain when the council doesn't seem to know how people use the roads in Swindon.
We complain when the council tries to find out how people use the roads in Swindon.

 :idiot2:   :bash:

I'm sure there are better ways of doing this sort of thing using a load of ANPR cameras (and that might help catch tax dodgers as well) on the roads into Swindon and around the town centre.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 04:37:02 PM »
I have attached a copy of the survey.

A note at the top of the form states that 'these surveys will be used to inform future land use planning and transport development decisions.'

I am sure that this is the case, as the police officer didn't even glance at my vehicle to check tyres etc. I agree with Tobes that it is an abuse of power by SBC to use the police to pull people over just to fill in a stupid survey.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2014, 05:59:59 PM »
Quote
We complain when the council doesn't seem to know how people use the roads in Swindon.
We complain when the council tries to find out how people use the roads in Swindon.

.... Except I'm not complaining because (or should I say IF) they were trying to find out about 'how people use the roads in Swindon'.  :o

I'm complaining about the steam driven way they're doing it - and because the police presence implies that its something it definitely NOT.

I don't complain about the police catching criminals - but if one decides to pull me over to establish my favourite confectionery on behalf of Cadbury's, I might have a similar issue.

Given the number of gumpties involved with the cones and clutching clipboards, a few spared to watch the road and make notes addresses the first two questions straight away anyway. At least if some gormo with a clip board tries to stop me on foot in the high street, I can wave them away. Having a policeman step into the road and wave me into laned off traffic is a tad overkill, if all it is to do is try and establish where I had recently parked my fekkin car or where I was driving. And to what ultimate purpose? So SBC can work out how many more car-parks they can demolish or build? (depending on the prevailing wind of highways budget versus developers wonga)

Hows about a simple questionnaire through the frikken door , online and in the Adver to gather the rest of the data? If they've money to spare to incentivise the traffic census, doing that would ensure a much higher sample result anyway, wouldn't it?  ;D

It certainly wouldn't need to involve the massive public expense of 20 odd contractors at the side of the road, a closed lane - which must have involved yet more contractors - and coppers in attendance (not to mention the lost time for the people inconvenienced)

Quote
The problem is if you give your address at Q3 or Q6 and answer 'home' at Q4 or Q7, they have breached the Data Protection Act by not having a DP declaration on the form. There is also a prize draw which requires the respondent to enter their name and address - also a breach of DP if they don't tell you how they will use and store your data.

Perhaps I might be more impressed if it was a survey that has definately been competently written and analysed?

If they can't even get the format legally correct, whats the betting that the results will be a statistically unreliable bodge anyway?

 :WTF:

 
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2014, 06:29:03 PM »
.... Except I'm not complaining because (or should I say IF) they were trying to find out about 'how people use the roads in Swindon'.  :o

I think it is genuinely a planning and transport development survey, but I don't believe it is with the intention of improving the road network.

They can determine which roads are busy and at what times much more accurately using automated traffic counters.

The questions about parking are very telling. This is about sustainable transport and how they can get us to use public transport. This survey will be used to justify new housing developments with inadequate parking provision and businesses will be prevented from providing staff parking to force people out of their cars.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2014, 10:21:06 PM »
Quote
The questions about parking are very telling. This is about sustainable transport and how they can get us to use public transport. This survey will be used to justify new housing developments with inadequate parking provision and businesses will be prevented from providing staff parking to force people out of their cars.

 BINGO!

Cannae fault your logic there Mr Spunks, it comes from a long line of activity which presages the familiar process, eh?

Ergo, the methodology or veracity of the results are of very secondary importance. The research has been budgeted and allocated, and a cynic might opine that the 'findings' have already been pre-determined and the results will be warped/interpreted to fit...

 :spin:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2014, 09:45:07 AM »
I read the survey form. What's an OGV1 & OGV2? Is it a Gimp's way of saying HGV?
I agree with the possibility that this survey is to help clamp down on vehicle use in favour of public transport.
What's it all about?

Offline Midlander

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 04:32:09 PM »
A similar census was held in 1999 at the same time the then Labour council were cutting subsidies on our bus services.

Now the Conservative council have cut subsidies for bus services, allowed companies to close cycle paths for long periods, they are now doing the same thing.

In addition they always seem to stop drivers heading out of the town.

The simple answer to these ridiculous surveys is, I'm driving because there is no other way to get to where I want to go!

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 09:25:25 PM »
Buses need to be heavily subsidised to work.

It all well and good cutting loss making routes, but if I am going to a take a bus somewhere I also need to be able to get one home again. It might be a peak time journey out and off peak on the way home. If the return journey is cut, I am going to take the car both ways.

My girlfriend has a weekly travel pass to get to work. On a Saturday, she can't get a sensible bus journey to visit her Mum, so I have to drive her there (15 minutes each way) and she gets a bus home which takes an hour. She has paid for 7 days travel, but has to rely on lifts due to poor service.

I could get a bus to work, but it would take over an hour if I timed it just right. I would have to take a bus to the station and then change. The second bus runs once an hour so not very convenient and I'm screwed if I miss it. How can a 6 mile journey across Swindon take longer than a commute to Bristol. With an hourly bus service, I couldn't even pop out of work at lunchtime, so I would be trapped there all day.

Cycling is an option in the summer, but not very nice in the winter. If I did cycle to work, it would take twice as long to get there and then I would need a shower. I sometimes need the car for work at short notice, so cycling isn't a great option in this respect either.

I have considered getting a moped, but by the time I have paid out more tax and insurance, I might as well use the car that it is already paid for.

The car is the only sensible option for me.

If work cut the free car parking, I would probably shove my bike in the boot, drive to the closest available residential parking area and then cycle from there. Or get another job.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 10:15:53 PM »
I can highly recommend a class 3 mobility scooter! 

Except in Pinehurst where the paths, road and lack of dropped kerbs are a real barrier. 

I can now drive on the road, but who wants to?

And you can't park it anywhere for a meeting a the Civic offices either, or at VAS!     

'course, it's going to be cold in winter.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Tobes

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 10:42:47 PM »
A reliable, 'affordable' and efficient bus service is simply incompatible with them being run by private public listed companies.

End of.

Busses are run on routes at the maximum price the operator can charge without losing custom, and are there to service the needs of people who literally have no choice or viable alternative to using the bus (or else are retired and getting to use them for free - though that of course eats into the operators profits, and therefore creates the insanity which privatisation purported to avoid; that of a busy service which is loss making!!!)

How can buses be about convenient, reliable public transport when its still hit and miss whether one will turn up, when routes and times are frequently confusing or infrequent or that require the customer to have exactly the right change with them to buy a ticket.

Bus services in Swindon are there purely to milk the proles; people who can't drive for what ever the reason (and a tiny minority who actively chose not to - though their custom is so tiny as to be virtually immaterial.

Compare the bus service in the UK to any in Europe - or much of the rest of the world for that matter, and you can see that transport policy in this country is being operated by people with their heads so far up their own backsides that they can see their next sandwich.

Watch, learn and remember; any census or policy 'change' regarding public transport in the UK (and Swindon especially) is NOT based about making public transport 'better' by making it cheaper, more reliable, frequent or convenient.

It is ALWAYS about making private road traffic more expensive, more inconvenient and less reliable.

To whit, we have bus lanes, speed restrictions, lack of car parking, increased pricing for whatever car parking remains and a mania for building housing on land for huge profit, whilst failing to provide even a shadow of equivalent increases in spending upon the roads (which could easily be made a condition of 106 money from speculators and developers).

Until the government chooses to SPEND money of public transport, the picture is only going to get worse - both for the people who use it, and the rest who decide to continue to use their cars.

Its the usual bullshit which occurs when ideology clashes with market ecenomics: private companies exist to make PROFIT. Thats all.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2014, 08:53:08 AM »
"and a mania for building housing on land for huge profit"

And building them in places where no continuous bus route is viable - i.e. no places for people to catch them or get off them. 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2014, 09:06:55 AM »
A reliable, 'affordable' and efficient bus service is simply incompatible with them being run by private public listed companies.

End of.

Absolutely not Tobes, and Swindon is the perfect place to prove it. We have two main operators in Swindon, one private and one effectively public owned.

Granted to produce the "reliable, affordable and efficient" service a degree of subsidy is going to be needed, but by making Stagecoach compete for subsidy against Thamesdown, and anyone else who wants to operate the required routes, the level of subsidy can be kept to a minimum.

What we do have to accept, is that we actually NEED a "reliable, affordable and efficient" bus service. It is in all of our long term interests to ensure that it is kept part private, part public owned. We are going to have to accept that a degree of subsidy from Council tax is inevitable.

Offline DarkAuror

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Re: Traffic Census
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 09:08:36 AM »
If work cut the free car parking, I would probably shove my bike in the boot, drive to the closest available residential parking area and then cycle from there. Or get another job.

Lovely! Yet another car to potentially park where I live to avoid paying for parking.  :wink:

Where I live, when I get home, there is nowhere for me to park due to the people who park there and either are going to the train station or walking/cycling in to town.