Chuck: re your questions: I noticed the 90 boo boo (I AM ASTONISHED AT THE
FACT THAT LA AND SF ARE ALMOST IDENTICAL TO 90 IN MODE SHARE - LIKE SOMEONE
MADE IT UP) When I cited these data to Larry Dahms - he considered it a
moral victory if 2000 shares stayed at 90 levels.
No I wasn't the source re the carpooling citation.
Yes I'll bet that Michigan especially Detroit will "win" the SOV
I always ask reporters where they get these anecdotal commuters from. There
must be a secret file somewhere of the longest commuters, etc. It all comes
from reporting 101 where they tell them to make it a human interest story.
In the case of Haya El Nasser, who is a very competent analyst, she was led
to this story instead of the standard national trends story by the many
anecdotal responses she got describing the positives of commuting solo. I
get it also from people on talk shows - but what a sample is people who call
in to talk shows, or listen to them - or talk on them - like me. A lot of it
these days is NPR talk shows. AEP
----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Reinauer <treinauer(a)edd.uct.usm.maine.edu>
To: Chuck Purvis <CPurvis(a)mtc.ca.gov>ov>; <ctpp-news(a)chrispy.net>
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 9:05 AM
Subject: Re: [CTPP] USA Today article on drive alone commute (long post)
The mistake on the 1990 figure for the San Fran metro
area I consider a
minor problem compared to one-sided stories (depending on the intent of a
particular article) or the misinterpretation and/or misunderstanding of
Wait until local and national newspapers start delving into more detailed
statistics. I suspect that even with careful explanation from planners,
will often be twisted and hardly helpful.
Content because my baseball team is 35-15.
Tom Reinauer, Transportation Director
Southern Maine RPC
21 Bradeen St. Suite 304
Springvale, ME 04083
----- Original Message -----
From: "Chuck Purvis" <CPurvis(a)mtc.ca.gov>
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 7:21 PM
Subject: [CTPP] USA Today article on drive alone commute (long post)
> TO: CTPP-News
> Here's the link to today's USA Today article on driving alone in
Of course, the Census Bureau hasn't yet released
data for nine states and
Puerto Rico (which are due out next week.) My bet is that Michigan (data
yet released) is still the #1 state in terms of drive
alone share of total
By the way, my old web site has 1990 data on state-level commute-to-work
"Damn Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians
and Activists" by Joel Best, UC Press, 2001. Recommended reading.
for critical thinking about the statistics that media
and others use.
Which brings me to my point about lies and statistics in the USA Today
I'll try to be brief.
1. USA Today states that the drive alone commute share in the San
area declined from 73 percent in 1990 to 68 percent in
The 2000 figure is accurate at 68.0 percent. On the
other hand, our 1990
drive alone commute share was 68.2 percent. So, our overall drive alone
commute share declined from 68.2 percent to 68.0 percent. (This is nice,
2. USA Today claims that "Many transportation officials, planners and
environmentalists have concluded that carpooling lanes don't help reduce
traffic." Well, this is pretty shaky journalism. Like, who or what's the
source of this information? Alan, is this from you? You're cited in the
I will agree that the USA Today article is entertaining, though the
factual information with anecdotal commutes is getting to be
Some more quips and quotes from the USA Today article:
1. "Forty minutes in the car may be the equivalent of the bubble bath"
2. "There is more to life than quality time in your car, no matter how
your sound system is"
3. "The car is often the last refuge of
prohibits all smoking in workplaces, including offices,
restaurants." (Note that California prohibits smoking in bars, as well.
However, we do allow you to smoke inside your own home, even in your own
> 4. "Consumers of audio books listen to them on average 4.4 hours a week
their cars, compared with 1.1 hours on mass transit,
according to the
Publishers Association." (Gotta wonder who's
answering these surveys!)
On the plus side, the USA Today's graphics are pretty darned good.
Cranky Because My Baseball Team is 24-27.
Charles L. Purvis, AICP
Senior Transportation Planner/Analyst
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
101 Eighth Street
Oakland, CA 94607-4700
(510) 464-7731 (office)
(510) 464-7848 (fax)
Census WWW: http://census.mtc.ca.gov/