Denys Lawrence Munby was a man with a passion for transport statistics. The first reader in transport economics at Oxford University, he spent his life collecting rail, bus and tram timetables. By the time of his death in 1976—murdered by bandits, it is thought, in the mountains of Turkey—he had amassed Britain’s most complete set of travel data. With it he was able to pinpoint, for the first time, the moments at which different types of transport hit their peak.
Munby’s successor at Oxford, Phil Goodwin, found himself intrigued by these turning points. Did planners in the 1920s, having seen…
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