fivethirtyeight has a follow-up to their post on how bike lanes don't cause much congestion. One researcher says they're measuring congestion wrong and that, when done right, the data shows that bike lanes cause less than "very little" congestion. They cause none.
By focusing on the volume-to-capacity ratio, rather than a measure of traffic speed or traffic density, the authors miss the effect of bike lanes — even when it’s staring them in the face. Just before their main argument, they write:
“[E]ach road seemed to have about the same traffic volume after its bike lane was installed. Running a statistical test … confirmed that there was no difference in [average daily traffic] before and after the installation of the bike lanes.”
Hold on. This is an incredibly powerful statement: These roadways were able to move the same number of cars and provide space for people on bikes. Reducing a roadway by one lane and achieving the same volume of cars means you’re doing more with less, not that the roadway is necessarily experiencing congestion. They reinforce this point later with an example from New York City, which directly measured travel times before and after the addition of bike lanes, and found that travel times didn’t change. Again, hold up — there was no change in travel time! This is what really matters when you talk about congestion.
fivethirtyeight points out that you go to blog with the data you have, not the data you want, and that there just isn't much travel time data out there.
I read it as a pretty devastating critique, whether you agree with the outcome or not.