Insights for Action

Interactive time series plots

Wednesday, 20 Jan, 2021 By Paul Hewson.

Developing context; the value of historical data

Thursday, 7 Jan, 2021 By Paul Hewson.

I believe that data makes little sense without context. Often, we are lacking adequate information on context. When researching disease, knowing the age and sex of the patients is almost always important. When considering road injury research, it is harder to arrive at such an understanding because firstly there are both drivers and casualties to consider, and secondly there may be more than one driver. One of the most substantial weaknesses in the official road safety …

Unreasonable effectiveness of data

Saturday, 14 Nov, 2020 By Paul Hewson.

Data Controller image Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

In 1960, Eugene Wigner published “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences”. Many commentators have indeed agreed it is surprising how relatively simple maths can indeed model so much of the natural world. Wigner argued that modelling a given scientific theory can lead to further advances in the theory. He also claimed success in that a mathematical model can make predictions which allow the …

GB Road Fatalities and Life Expectancy

Monday, 7 Sep, 2020 By Paul Hewson.

In total, over the four decades for which we have data (1979-2018), 147,562 fatalities have been reported to the police. Whilst it is the case that the number of reported fatalities has reduced considerably:

  • In 2018, 1,784 fatalities were reported. This still feels like a substantial tragedy and many argue there is considerable potential to reduce this much further if we took the decisions (such as limiting urban speeds) to make roads safer.
  • The decline in road …

Data Sources and Cycling

Thursday, 3 Sep, 2020 By Paul Hewson.

Something I’ve been droning on about for a few years concerns our reluctance to use datasets that already exist.

Specifically in relation to cycling, we have a lot of data on cycling that is rarely used, and that’s without worrying about data that aren’t disseminated in a way that lets us use it. Here are some high quality UK based data sources. These come from surveys that are very expensive to conduct:

  • Travel to work data (Census, 2011).
  • National …