“People get stuck in traffic!” says traffic-avoidance gadget

July 17th, 2012

Elsewhere on Bad PR we’ve covered the PR trick of highlighting the extremes of a closed data set: the ‘SOMEONE has to come last’ trick. Here it is perfectly demonstrated in The Daily Mail on July 10th, 2012:

Drivers in Yorkshire spend 86 hours a year stuck in traffic jams… and even Londoners have it easier

If you thought your commute was bad, spare a thought for the drivers of Yorkshire.

The Leeds-Bradford area is the most congested in Britain, with drivers spending 86 hours a year stuck in jams.

Traffic in the conurbation increases journey times by an average of 28 per cent – and up to 63 per cent in the morning rush hour, a study has found

Of course, if this poll hadn’t found Yorkshire to be the worst for traffic jams, it would have found somewhere else – the story would have been identical, with one word changed. It’s clear to see how this could appeal to a PR company, who could have their entire story written before the data even comes in.

Who placed this story in the papers?

Harold Goddijn, chief executive officer of TomTom, said: ‘Over the years, with the help of our customers, we have built the largest and most accurate database of travel times in the world.

‘When we combine this travel database with our detailed real-time traffic information and routing technology, we can not only pin point congestion, but can guide drivers away from congested areas onto faster routes.’

‘Even when only a percentage of drivers use a different and faster route, the available capacity on the entire road network increases, which benefits all drivers.’

So, essentially: ‘traffic jams are bad, if only you had a product like ours that would allow you to avoid them’.