More extensive monitoring, a dear wish of municipalities. Obviously they can construct better policies when the data available is more complete and accurate. That is also why an improvement of the monitoring system is taken up in the mobility nota of Leiden. Unfortunately it’s often just very hard to efficiently gather the data, making it a costly investment.
During our research on mobility in Leiden we discovered a lack of data to truly comprehend the situation. It concerned the cycling corridors to nearby villages and cities. There were rough numbers for the amount of commuters that took the bike and we found quite useful data on people using public transport in the Mobiliteitsnota 2015-2022. Still the latter didn’t discern commuters and there was no good data on commuters that used their car. This giving rise to an issue, there were no percentages about the usage of different kinds of transport, making it impossible to really accurately determine where, in this case, bike or public transport promotion can have the biggest impact.
One of our contacts mentioned a specific case where they encountered great difficulty getting their questionnaire filled in by commuters around an industrial area. There were several problems; firstly people who got back from work just wanted to get back home, those who went to work had a time shortage, and when entering the busses with them traveling times were to short to fill in the full form. Luckily we think we have found the solution!
Why don’t simply drop the questionnaire at the workplace? If the municipality would ask companies to let their employees fill it in at work they could easily reach all commuters, throughout the different ways of transport. Accurate numbers can be produced about the pressure on routes and the percentages mentioned can easily be derived. And this all for an extremely low cost. For the municipality doesn’t have to go out chasing tail, nor do the companies get settled with large costs, and the commuters themselves can benefit from better traffic flows and optimal policy constructs for only little individual loss of time. The data is also just about commuters, leaving the random trips of people outside the equation, which in the bus data nor train can be dissected. So if the municipalities really wants to work on a more sustainable transport sector, and they want others to give them useful advice on their plans, the data should be more complete. And this is the way to get there!
(For better quality pictures, visit the mobility nota of Leiden)