Rating towns/suburbs

open topic, for anything cycling related.

Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:30 am

QuangVuong wrote:THis is something thats dynamic. A suburb is a huge area, with some streets which are good with no glass and other crap, and some which have potholes. Itll be hard to rate a suburb cause of this. Some suburbs dont have cycle lanes, but then they may have the nicest roads to ride on. Coming up with a way to rate how cycle suited a suburb will be hard to be fair.

Actually a suburb can also be small. The variation is so great that some ratings for tiny subuurbs would not indicate much at all. They can be traversed in as little as five minutes on a single road. Menora in Perth covers 1.2 square km. My own suburb is 2 square kms.

However I agree with the OP's sentiment - a ratings system, even if not perfect, could encourage some councils to aspire to better things. And those that don't may still be shamed into action if they rated near the bottom.

I also agree with your statement that coming up with a way to rate would not be easy. But we do rate other multifaceted things - schools, crime levels, health, economies, human rights - and rating cycle-friendliness would be a lot less complex than some of those. And, as I stated earlier, it doesn't have to be perfect. Or even fair. As long as it gets attention and any real improvements are reflected in a better rating.
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by BNA » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:58 am

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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby lump_a_charcoal » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:58 am

I should have called the thread Rating councils, as that's how I envisaged it originally.

Is there anyone here who could help to make something like this work, even if just by offering a survey?

I would love to try and get this working, but I lack the technical expertise (unless it just involves a survey of sorts).

I wonder if The Greens would be interested?

Interestingly, every sentence starts with I.

I didn't mean it.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:29 pm

lump_a_charcoal wrote:I should have called the thread Rating councils, as that's how I envisaged it originally.

Is there anyone here who could help to make something like this work, even if just by offering a survey?

I would love to try and get this working, but I lack the technical expertise (unless it just involves a survey of sorts).

I wonder if The Greens would be interested?

Interestingly, every sentence starts with I.

I didn't mean it.

Surveys of users are are the easiest t hing in the world. Unfortunately they are mostly crap. User opinions are seldom based on hard data and methodology. Rather they are swayed by personal and often irrelevant agendas, on whatever is the current media agenda in their own city or on what some government minister claims in press releases. (Mike Wran continued to shout out that Adelaide was the "Cycling capital of Australia" and trolling various local forums would indicate that many then believed and repeated it. If we had similar press releases in WA then that would push up any user-survey responses for WA.)

There are plenty of media items announcing lists and ratings of cities and so forth. These organisations will have algorithms of criteria and weightings. However those ratings will be for different aspects of cycling. What is desirable for a tourist riding the banks of the canals in Europe is different than the needs of a sports enthusiast or a commuter or a local shopper. This suggests that there really needs to be a few different measures.

Standardised ratings would need to be based on data that will have to be sourced from places, probably mostly the local governments I suspect. And those bodies are not likely to respond in large numbers to individual representations for data.

So you won't want to be doing it yourself as an individual. It really would be a large job requiring returns from various bodies like local government. However it could be something for those existing cyclist-representative bodies that exist such as the BTAWA in WA (who lobby on cyclists behalf for infrastructure, laws, actions etc). They will already networking with local government, the ABS, planners and academics, Ministers and departments, etc.

Of course, BTAWA and others already have plenty on their plate and never enough paid up members and volunteers to do it all. :?
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby Lazyweek » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:17 pm

I like the idea. Plenty of internet sites have user ratings for certain products/services (e.g. cameras, lenses, audio equipment, restaurants etc). You are always going to get dodgy reviews but with a reasonable sample size you should get a clear idea. I have recently moved to Melbourne and the ability to get around by bike was a factor when choosing where to live.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:57 am

Lazyweek wrote:I like the idea. Plenty of internet sites have user ratings for certain products/services (e.g. cameras, lenses, audio equipment, restaurants etc). You are always going to get dodgy reviews but with a reasonable sample size you should get a clear idea. I have recently moved to Melbourne and the ability to get around by bike was a factor when choosing where to live.

For the purpose you stated such reviews can serve well and do not even have to be consistent or quantifiable. Indeed those sorts of reviews have opinions and ratings that are wildly all over the place but you can still get insight from them.

But if you check the OP his idea is not about that. His idea is about a way of measuring how well authorities provide for our needs with a view to a pressuring them to improve. This requires being able to rank and compare with consistency and credibility and based on evidence other than opinion. Hence the discussion on the detail of what is needed and the difficulty of doing it.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:04 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:But if you check the OP his idea is not about that. His idea is about a way of measuring how well authorities provide for our needs with a view to a pressuring them to improve. This requires being able to rank and compare with consistency and credibility and based on evidence other than opinion.

This is exactly the objective of BiXE carried out for at least the past 3 years, which I posted about earlier. BiXE uses total council expenditure on a range of bicycle-related infrastructure and programs to get a simple, easily comparable figure.

It's already being done. Why re-invent the wheel?
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby lump_a_charcoal » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:26 am

It is not just about expenditure.
They could spend millions, but of they do it poorly, then what's the point?

I am talking about user satisfaction. How else do you get it than by asking lots of people?
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:22 am

Depends what you are trying to achieve. The Rural City of Swan Hill might be quite nice to ride a bike about, but that does not change the fact that the council spends $0.00 on bicycle facilities - it could be so much better, safer with some effort.

Generally spending on bicycle facilities and programs will improve the experiences for cyclists. The councils that spend a lot on bicycle facilities in Melbourne are also those that now have really rapid growth in measured rider numbers.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby Lazyweek » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:00 pm

Sorry ColinOldnCranky, I guess I missed the point :)

If we are talking about user satisfaction, topography and climate are going to be part of the equation. Most people don't like hills and I dislike hot, humid weather for riding, other may dislike cold weather etc. There is little councils can do to fix these issues (though selecting routes which avoid difficult hills and having more trees in the urban environment for shade would help). Also, some areas have a lot of through-traffic which wouldn't help in getting a good rating.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:20 pm

il padrone wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote:But if you check the OP his idea is not about that. His idea is about a way of measuring how well authorities provide for our needs with a view to a pressuring them to improve. This requires being able to rank and compare with consistency and credibility and based on evidence other than opinion.

This is exactly the objective of BiXE carried out for at least the past 3 years, which I posted about earlier. BiXE uses total council expenditure on a range of bicycle-related infrastructure and programs to get a simple, easily comparable figure.

It's already being done. Why re-invent the wheel?

Thanks for that.

Looking at the expenditure over three years it looks like something is happening. Quite some massive jumps.

Out of curiosity, what proportion of total expenditure is from local government fundsl? I am assuming that amounts of $50 and $100 per person would still be signficant next to state and federal sources.

What is the story with Hobart? :cry:
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby lump_a_charcoal » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:24 pm

I'll use my local council as an example, to convey my point a little better.

They have started to put arterial shared paths in, which link suburbs to the M4. This is good.
At several sections of these shared paths, there are serious problems, which is bad.
We also have a 5km closed loop for dedicated cycling, around a lake (Regatta centre), which is great for uninterrupted kms.
Most shoulders are unsafe for bikes, but are labelled as bike lanes.

With this info, I would rate my Council at a 6, because they have started becoming cyclist friendly, but have a way to go yet.

There is no point in mentioning that there are too many hills, as this is not identifying opportunities for improvement.

My hope is that if enough people rate their suburb, and common grievances arise, it will give the council some help in identifying areas for improvement.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby Lazyweek » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:08 pm

So would you like a section on BNA where people can review and rate suburbs and towns? If enough people participated, I think it would be really interesting.
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Re: Rating towns/suburbs

Postby lump_a_charcoal » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:01 pm

Would love it, and would be happy to run it.
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