Data Guy Says: Survey, Please!

Take a survey. Help get benefits for SB County! SB, Goleta, Carp, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc, Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Oxnard, rate your city.

Great prizes? Rating your city? Giving your opinion? All reasons to take the PlacesForBikes (PFB) City Rating survey, yes. But the benefits to our entire county when enough people—that means you, please—take the 10-minute survey are numerous and significant, says Dr. Daniel Fishbein (of Dr. Dan’s Health Corner fame).

Among the gains of getting a PFB city rating for bicycling friendliness for each city, the countywide map of bike paths will be updated for the first time in several years. The county will be better able to assess its footprint and that of bicycling in general in individual cities and as a whole. The results will enable SBBIKE to assess its impact at a community level, develop methods of reaching a wider scope, and target the needs of less-advantaged community members who are often underrepresented, in addition to building skills in survey methodology and interpretation.

Plus, PFB awards funding for cities who score high and improve most.

Fishbein is a data guy. So he’s a perfect fit to lead SBBIKE’s charge to ensure this “first countywide evaluation of bicycling” by way of the “scientifically designed” PFB survey.

Another benefit of participation is that transportation experts are increasingly recognizing the necessity of “multicomponent metrics” to track progress and improve community cycling. Fishbein says the PFB survey is “a cost-effective method of getting some baseline data and measuring annual progress in the eyes of the community.” Having this data at hand will be paramount as SBBIKE continues to advocate for cycling infrastructure access and safety improvements and as jurisdictions apply for grants to fund these enhancements.

For each participating city, five indicators—ridership, safety, network, reach, and acceleration—are rated. Fishbein notes this survey takes a broader look than other metrics. For example, whereas ridership is often measured only by levels of bike commuting, PFB’s survey looks also at recreational bike riding and perceptions of bike use. Similarly, safety, typically measured only on the most available and comparable raw number, bike fatalities—takes three factors into account—all-mode fatalities and injuries, bicycle fatalities and injuries, and perceptions of safety.

Fishbein points to Vision Zero—a project adopted in cities around the globe, including Santa Barbara, challenging the notion that fatalities are an inevitable part of traffic. As a result of lack of data, he says, “[Related] activities that could easily be implemented at the community level have been stalled because funding has not been obtained.”

Since May, Fishbein and SBBIKE have made efforts to ensure every city in SB County can participate in the PFB survey this year (only SB and Goleta did last year and only partially). Thanks to Robert Rainwater, who is updating the maps for the entire county and to Rafaell Rozendo, Myrna Munoz, and Ed France, for getting the survey out countywide.

 

Here's where you come in

To be included in the rating, a city must submit at least one of two local data sources—the community survey or the PFB City Snapshot (data from city officials). Submitting both is better.

The survey’s now live. Thus far, 15 Goletans, 98 Santa Barbarians, and 66 Venturans (Ventura County’s getting counted too!) have participated. Let’s up those numbers and get all our cities counted! Let’s hear from Carpinteria, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc, Guadalupe, Santa Maria, and Oxnard too.

It’s great to hear from people who don’t ride bikes as well. So, please, ask your friends to participate too.

Be a part of getting our county rated. Take the survey now.

Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
P.O. Box 92047, Santa Barbara, CA 93190
506 E. Haley Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
805.845.8955