Who gets to decide best and worst?

It\’s an important question: who gets to decide what is best and worst, what is good and bad, what should be valued and what should not be valued?

Nottingham has been named as England\’s least car-dependent city in a survey that exposes inconsistent planning across the country with one of the nation\’s newest conurbations, Milton Keynes, labelled the worst for cyclists and bus users.

The Campaign for Better Transport is clearly making a value judgement there. Less car-dependent good, more bus, tram and bicycles good.

Here is Richard George from the CfBT.



So, let us try a test as to what the hoi polloi think of their valuations then.

Nottingham: Losing population.

Milton Keynes: Gaining population.

So, at least as a first order approximation, we seem to have found that the plebs, us, you know, the only people whose values actually matter, think that more cars good, more buses bad.

Yes, Richard was the person who proved that because Macquarie is making profits like gangbusters on the M6 toll road this proves that the M6 toll road doesn\’t make profits.

7 thoughts on “Who gets to decide best and worst?”

  1. Glad to hear that I’ve got a fan 🙂

    Seriously though: I’d have thought you would have been in favour of giving people choices Tim. After all, car dependency is not the same as voluntarily depending on your car, as our report (http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/traffic_reduction/scorecard) makes clear.

    Car dependency means that you have no choice in how you get about. If you don’t own a car, you don’t have equal access to shops, school, work, etc., so you have to buy one to compete.

    Given that a quarter of households don’t have a car (http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/tsgb/2009edition/sectionninevehicles.pdf, table 9.14) and 44% have just one car (leaving kids and the other partner to rely on lifts or get about without one) I’d have thought that giving people choices would have been a good thing?

  2. I find it surprising that you’d use a single variable like transport against a single variable like population in domain with many other variables. I’m sure you wouldn’t allow your opponents to get away with such a weak correlation argument.

  3. Neil Reddin – so if you have never used a bus in your life you must be quite a success. But are you totally sure that you do not gain any kind of benefit from the existence of public transit systems? I’ll bet you’d grizzle if your journey to the office was delayed by hordes of serfs and peasants shambling about.

    More seriously, well said Adam Bell!

  4. >Car dependency means that you have no choice in how you get about. If you don’t own a car, you don’t have equal access to shops, school, work, etc., so you have to buy one to compete.

    This is a misuse of language. You do have a choice. You buy a car. Or you use a taxi. Or you ride a bike. Or you get lifts. Or you get deliveries. Or you move somewhere else, closer to shops.

    Also, the “choices” you supposedly increase lead to decreased real choices elsewhere. For instance, Nottingham city council and the government are intending to charge me over £300 a year just to park my car at work, even though my workplace is well away from the city centre, to help pay for an extension to their unnecessary pet tram system (which doesn’t do anything buses can’t do more efficiently). That’s reduced my choice of what to spend that money on (or, I save the money, but then have spend far more time walking and getting buses to work, reducing my leisure time by over 3o0 hours a year).

    In other words, this is more leftism dressed
    up in talk of choice to make it sound more appealing.

  5. Personally I think the place is a hole, but “Milton Keynes, labelled the worst for cyclists and bus users”

    FFS! The place is riddled with bicycle tracks and bike lanes. Fortunatley for the lycra cladded community they are kept well away from the roads. As for buses, every time I’ve been there, MK appears well equipped with the bloody things. At least that’s how it feels as they block the roads and prevent me from my God-given right to drive Ma’s Range Rover at ninety through a built up area.

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