Friday 3 November 2017

Unauthorised vehicles on Busway

Readers of this blog, and/or of other local media, will be acquainted with the seemingly persistent problem of unauthorised vehicles finding their way onto the Busway (and usually, as a result, falling foul of the car traps). The County Council reports that there have been 71 incidents between the opening of the Busway and September of this year. This blog long since gave up bothering to report such incidents - there's only so much repetition that the average reader can cope with.

The Cambridge News recently had a crack at trying to determine how some motorists manage to get things so wrong, although its investigation seems to have focused only on potential sat-nav problems (or GPS applications, perhaps) at one specific junction. And using only Google Maps as the data source.

This seems to have started with a report from a News reader who "told the News they were using Google Maps on their Android phone to get to Cambridge Regional College yesterday evening (October 31), when the software appeared to direct them onto the guided busway." The News reporters' investigation tentatively concluded that the cause might lie in the map being set to "night mode", where the Busway isn't so clear on the display and the driver might be confused.

At this point I would recommend that you read the News report:

Perhaps sensing that the risk of adverse publicity for one of its products, Google was quick to undertake its own investigation. Google says that its maps are "routing correctly". Given how long the Busway has been operating, any other result would have been surprising! But Google didn't respond directly to the "night mode" issue, merely noting that they welcomed suggestions for improving their services.

And this is the point where I need to point you to the follow-up Cambridge News story which covers Google's response:

The News also posted a poll at the end of the first story. Its follow-up reveals that only 10% of those responding claimed that their sat-nav had confused the Busway with a public road. Actually, I'm not sure I should have written "10%" - we don't know how many individuals this represents, but if only a small proportion of that 10% were to slavishly follow their sat-navs, then...