Bus Allocation

Tyler Cowen mentioned this Census ad campaign a few days ago, made a joke about the “socialist calculation problem,” and asked if anyone had a photo. Walking to Union Station yesterday morning I saw an example and snapped this:

A number of people have been in touch with me about this in a way that makes me think it’s worth emphasizing that this is not in fact how decisions about how many buses to buy are made.


To be clear, I don’t mean to say that census data is irrelevant to the bus calculation process. But it’s not like there’s some federal “X people per bus” formula or that transportation planners don’t use other streams of data (actual ridership figures, for example) to inform their decisions.