Barb Chamberlain Profile picture
Jan 20, 2018 19 tweets 15 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Before you RT this catchy infographic, a thread--
#RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
Infographics work. I clicked. My first response: Catchy title but the piece provides zero basis for the statement. Data-driven safety improvements are essential--so where's the data? This could have been so much more. #RoadSafety #visionzero
Dug a bit. Googled law firm credited on map. Got… telling me it's @NHTSA "accident" (sic) data for "automobiles/pedestrians". Where are bicycles/motorcycles? More Google. #CrashNotAccident #RoadSafety #VisionZero
That piece linked to short @TIME piece… telling me their analysis was fatalities. So maybe all road users, not just auto/ped. But wait, there's more. #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
Top Google results all refer to @NHTSA data. Scroll down to…: "Using crowd sourced data from and 9 years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...based on automobile and pedestrian accident occurrences."
So we now have a map w/unspecified crowdsourced data of unknown quantity/quality for all road user types (per @badintersection statement on their site) + @NHTSA data that may be auto/ped only. #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
And don't forget, we also have a splashy infographic that got tons of media pickup. Big words! Turned sideways! So authoritative. #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
Don't get me wrong--As someone who works w/real crash data & wants to do real work to improve conditions for people on our streets/roads, I do want attention-getting tactics that focus attention. #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
But this is not helpful. To see it written up yet again w/no discussion of underlying source material, none of what I found in about 7 min w/Google that calls it into question.... #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
And it gets better, although I won't go down every rabbithole. Other sites (+ law firms) took the original list, mashed it up w/other sources of various vintages & origins, & created new "worst of" lists that then got reported as news. #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
Wait, maybe I WILL follow this a bit further. The original @TIME analysis (@NHTSA data only) listed worst intersection in US in Bensalem PA:… #RoadSafety #VisionZero #dataviz
But somehow Hawaii decides THEY have the worst intersection in US…. (Sidebar complaint about media sites that don't date their posts.) #RoadSafety #VisionZero
Someone "dug into the numbers" (weak on methodology here) to produce their own list… which is, of course, presented as a countdown to #1. Their data source? Wait for it-- #RoadSafety #VisionZero
Turns out THAT Hawaii intersection collision data source is a map compiled by a law firm:… that appears to be based on govt data (link at bottom to #RoadSafety #VisionZero
But we don't know what data they pulled from that source. Fatalities only? That was what @TIME started with. For which modes? What time span? What locations? (Because the place identified isn't one intersection, it's now a bunch near a shopping mall.) #RoadSafety #VisionZero
Let me explain. No, let me sum up. @TIME uses @NHTSA data -> Law firm adds crowdsourced -> Someone "digs into numbers" using law firms & local media reports from all over as their sources -> Gets reported as news w/completely different results. #RoadSafety #VisionZero
So now if a public agency presents safety data bounded by specific sources, definitions, time frames, federal standards THIS is the climate in which they do so. "You're wrong! I just read a list of the worst intersections in America!" #RoadSafety #VisionZero
I stopped pulling on the threads but I'm sure they unravel further. All of this is to say that if you're looking at something that purports to be based on data, ask some questions. Don't let the type turned sideways turn your head, too. #RoadSafety #VisionZero
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More from @BarbChamberlain

Sep 16, 2018
Kicking off #WalkBikePlaces with an infrastructure tour on @BlueBikesNOLA. Several under way now; I'm on the one that looks at public art, placemaking. #bikeNOLA
First stop: Jackson Square, National Historic Site, named for Andrew J. Led battle that saved NOLA in 1812 but owned enslaved people. Should his statue come down? #WalkBikePlaces
Beautiful murals! Families of Plessy and Ferguson reconciled with art in celebration. Studio BE right across the street--big studio space in covered warehouse. @BlueBikesNOLA station right here at park.
Read 144 tweets
Aug 31, 2018
The western US has been on fire for weeks, with unbreathable air confining people to their homes and keeping some from getting out on a bike. In other parts of the world it’s straight-up car pollution doing the same. We’re going to CLEAR THE AIR with #bikeschool #bikes4climate.
We’re heading toward Global #ClimateAction Week so you’ll see that hashtag + #bikes4climate tonight along with #bikeschool.
My hot take: Too many discussions under headlines with words like #sustainability or #climate or #green ignore bikes as clean transport.
****Q1: How have forest fires, pollution, other air quality issues affected your bicycling? Fun fact (h/t @andrealearned): Bikes invented as tool due to volcano eruption pollution. See by @lloydalter. #bikeschool #bikes4climate #ClimateAction #bikehistory
Read 26 tweets
Mar 19, 2018
I find so many great walk/bike/place articles to include in @WSDOT #WSDOTactive Walk and Roll E-News it's getting too long to look at. How many links do YOU want to see in a reading round-up? (Subscribe:…)
After each edition of @WSDOT #WSDOTactive Walk/Roll E-News I take a look at which links were most popular. I'll tweet out last week's top clicks to give you an idea of what you'd see if you subscribed here:…
Top links most recent #WSDOTactive e-news:
1/ Washington Bike Summit… info from @CascadeBicycle #WABikeSummit
2/ Spreadsheet to update w/locations of bicycle #traffic signals in North America…
#bikes #activetransportation
Read 7 tweets
Jan 9, 2018
Pilot in BC Canada: @velometro 3-wheeled enclosed #ebikes operating as shared vehicles. Think Car2Go+bike. Geofenced to keep off pedestrian walkways. #TRBAM
If @velometro classified as bikes they can be in bike lanes but you couldn't park these at a bike rack. Lots of policy issues to be worked through. #TRBAM #bikeshare (?)
Traffic operations questions created by low-power vehicles that aren't quite bikes. If they operate (maybe in general motor vehicle lanes) + you want smaller vehicles used for urban delivery + working for bike mode shift, what happens? #TRBAM #LEVs
Read 73 tweets

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