Sunday reading 25 June 2017

Welcome back to Sunday reading. It’s been a pretty interesting week in New Zealand politics, if you’ve been reading. But that’s not what this is about, so we’re not going to talk about it. Here’s a thought-provoking factoid about technological progress, from humanprogress.org: As the BBC recently pointed out, our prehistoric ancestors needed to gather and chop “wood 10 hours a day for six days… [in order to] produce 1,000 lumen hours of light… That is the equivalent of one modern light bulb shining for just 54 minutes, although what you would actually get is many more hours of dim, flickering light instead.” Even when better alternatives, such as candles, became available, it was still prohibitively expensive to light the house for the common person.…
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Flashback Saturday: “What’s wrong with this picture?”

This post originally appeared in June 2012.Now I’m sure many of you will assume that this post is going to be about the old thing on rails in the middle of this picture but that isn’t what interests me the most about this beautifully framed shot – I just love the separation of the dark shaded foliage on the left from the brightly lit trees on the other side by that narrow stream of sky.…
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East-West questioned in Parliament

The East-West Link has been in the news a bit recently, such as on TV3’s The Nation on Saturday where Simon Bridges received a grilling about the business case. Cam has also written recently about the economics of the project and the discussion that’s occurring about it at the Board of Inquiry.…
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London’s new transport strategy

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, recently released his new transport strategy and – in short – it looks fantastic. Crucially, the strategy recognises that transport is – literally – a means to an end and it really focuses on the question of how transport in London can contribute to that city being a great place.…
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Making PT hard

Over recent years public transport has clearly improved, as can be so easily observed by looking at the ridership figures. Yet, while it has improved and more improvements are on the way, it often feels like the system is let down by making it unnecessarily hard for users.…
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May-2017 Ridership

Auckland Transports public transport ridership numbers for May are out and and they continue to show impressive growth. This was helped in part by there being an extra working day in the month compared to May-16. – and a lot more than there were in April (only 17 working days).…
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Broken Business Cases

A few weeks ago, Steven Joyce spoke regarding traditional cost-benefit basis, here is what he said reported in NZ Herald: Some projects in Auckland, such as the City Rail Link, did not stack up on a traditional cost-benefit basis, he said, although the Government has committed to funding for it.” “I think there is unfinished business now for all of us to think about what are the true wider benefits of some of these projects and trying to get a bit more discipline to them in the years ahead,” he told the finance and expenditure committee at Parliament in response to questions from Greens co-leader James Shaw.” “From my perspective, I think it is important that we go through the benefit-cost ratio discussion.” “However I would signal that some of the projects that we collectively have all committed to, including the CRL, doesn’t really stack up on a traditional cost-benefit basis.”Joyce is off the mark, however, the issue is not that we need better discipline but if whether the current way we calculate for business cases is even fit for purpose for the 21st century.…
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