(39) Highway Cost Overruns

The Antiplanner takes a crack at Highway Cost Overruns : ““Transportation costs too much,” argues a blogger who calls himself The Transportationist, which I suppose isn’t any more ridiculous than calling yourself the Antiplanner. The Transportationist lists several good reasons why transportation costs too much, including the fact that–despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on transportation planning–no one really does benefit-cost analyses. But he misses the point about user fees: projects funded out of user fees are more likely to be efficient, partly because the agencies or private parties receiving those fees know the fees are limited and partly because they want to spend them in ways that will generate more fees (which means in ways that benefit users enough that the users are willing to pay for them).”

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King
A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King

I will number this (39) on my list. I am not sure I agree with this (Robert Bain has shown toll road over-forecasts of demand, though I am not sure about under-forecasts of costs). I do agree that indirectly political “commission” governance probably beats governance through a more directly political agency, and have some work coming out soon showing this.

Linklist: December 17, 2911

Eric S. Raymond: SOPA and the oblivious: “A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything away from you – including your Internet freedom.”

USA Today: In-flight dating? Using social media to find a seatmate: “In what could be fodder for a flight from hell – or potential membership in the Mile High Club – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is launching a “meet and seat” service early next year that will let passengers tap their social media accounts and pick seatmates based on similar interests.” [And they cannot guarantee me an aisle or window seat? Or keep my family together?]

The Scholarly Kitchen: Measuring the Wrong Things — Has the Scientific Method Been Compromised By Careerism? : “Perhaps we’re measuring the wrong things — number of publications, number of citations, impact factors of publication outlets — as a way of measuring a scientist’s productivity, which we then reward with money, either directly or indirectly. Perhaps we should measure how many results have been replicated. Without that, we are pursuing a cacophony of claims, not cultivating a world of harmonious truths.”