Watching Transportwatch

Dodgy stats merchants TransportWatch (previously discussed here) have been pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority. In an adjudication on the adverts they placed in the Economist, the New Statesman and Private Eye the other week, the ASA says:

The Authority noted the claims in the advertisement were based on information collated from various studies of existing railway conversions and the advertisers’ projection of the potential benefits of converting railway lines into roads for express passenger coaches and goods vehicles in the UK, and especially London. It noted the advertisers’ comparisons between the safety, the financial cost and the environmental impact of road and rail made assumptions such as that all existing track and environs were capable of conversion to roads on which coaches could match or surpass trains for speed, whereas the complainants believed this would not be possible in all cases because of the variations of verges on some roads and because the coaches the advertisers advocated would have to travel at speeds that would not be attainable given the national speed limit. The Authority also noted the advertisers had included subsidies to national rail in their calculations for the cost of rail transport, but had not included the unavoidable cost of converting railways to roads in their claims for the financial benefits of road transport.

Or, to put it another way – “Dude, STFU”.