Charting the Bumpy Road to Recovery

Author: Andrew McCulloch

Following on from the success of the renowned Big-Mac Index, devised by the Economist Magazine, which uses the relative price of a Big Mac to measure relative differences in the value of currencies across the globe, and the same magazine’s more recent "shoe-thrower's index" which measures the potential for civil unrest across the Arab world we today report the most recent advance in the development of statistical indices. Building on the £200 million announced in last weeks budget to repair potholes in British roads, the "pothole-index" aims to chart the economic recovery using the number of potholes on British roads. Although unknown even to many historians, statistics on potholes were first collected in the UK during Roman times when minimum criteria for road quality were laid down by the Emperor Hadrian.

By Raimo Miettinen (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Raimo Miettinen (Own work)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

The Domesday book recorded the number of days peasants in each village were expected to work for their feudal Lord repairing holes in the roads. Although many British roads subsequently fell into disrepair during the Middle Ages, statistics on potholes again started to be collected during the Elizabethan period and many of Britain’s best know potholes are known to date from this period. The SI unit of passenger deflection is the 'jolt': one jolt being the energy necessary to produce a vertical deflection of 1 cm per kilo per kilometre per hour. Hospital records show that an exposure of 2000 jolts is almost certainly enough to produce instant death unless fortunate enough to be travelling in a soft-top. Potholes continue to play an important part in English history. Most notably when the English goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, missed his kick in a Euro 2008 qualifier and the ball bobbled into the net for Croatia to score. As of this morning, April 1st, nobody was available to comment from the newly created Ministry for Potholes (or MiniPot) while a spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said that there was little anyone could tell them about how to dig themselves into a hole.

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