Saturday, March 12, 2016

How dumb will the SMART system be?

Streetsblog loves trains almost as much as it loves bikes, because they aren't cars. But what they are is a 19th century technology that's expensive to build and maintain.

The big questions about this system: How much will complete build-out of the system cost, and how much will it cost to operate after it's built? Rail system boosters routinely exaggerate the benefits of these systems---especially how many passengers they will carry---and minimize the costs to build and operate.

Later: See Richard Hall on SMART's inflated ridership numbers.

A reader supplied a Robert Moses quote that illustrates the attitude: ''Once you sink that first stake, they'll never make you pull it up.''

See also Megaprojects and Risk, a book that found a pattern in hundreds of major projects around the world:

Cost underestimation and overrun cannot be explained by error and seem to be best explained by strategic misrepresentation, namely lying, with a view to getting projects started (page 16, emphasis added).

Dick Spotswood on a few of the problems the SMART system faces.

From Richard Hall

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