Transport Strategy and Planning

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Optimism Bias in Project Planning

Professor Bent Flyvbjerg in his research identified two main causes of misinformation in policy and management: strategic misrepresentation (or lying!) and optimism bias (appraisal optimism). Strategic misrepresentation is the planned, systematic distortion or misstatement of fact in response to incentives in the budget process. Optimism bias is the demonstrated systematic tendency for people to be … Read more

Are you a rational or biased professional?

We like to think we are rational decision-making professionals. But the research shows we all have a vast number of biases. Cognitive biases are systematic patterns of behaviour, which means we deviate from making rational judgments. Many of these biases are mental shortcuts, called heuristics, that our brain uses to help us make decisions. Wikipedia … Read more

How can you avoid transport policy mistakes?

  Solving complex policy issues, such as improving travel time reliability, are challenges facing transport professionals. Policy analysis, however is not a common skill among transport professionals. Transport policy problems are complex Transport problems are increasingly complex and dynamic, making them difficult to fully comprehend. These complex multi-actor problems usually don’t have a simple solution … Read more

Bus network design: CSO or ROI?

Bus network design involves difficult choices, and trade-offs between competing objectives, within funding constraints. At one end of the spectrum, investment in public bus services aims to achieve the strategic community outcome of moving people in an efficient manner. I refer to this as ROI or return on investment, using the commercial definition.

Where Next with Public Transport?

The Australian Infrastructure Plan released in February 2016 by Infrastructure Australia (IA) has some key findings and recommendations for public transport across Australia. With the project growth in population to 30 million over the next 15 years, and 5.9 million of that growth occurring in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, there will be much greater demands on … Read more

The Seven Whys of Travel Demand

Congestion is the dominant challenge in cities and infrastructure networks [1] Putting the customer first is top priority for most transport agencies. This requires improving the quality of service to users by providing key infrastructure improvements, offering travel choices, managing as one network and providing integrated services.

Next Generation Traffic Management

  What are potential next generation road system management innovations to address ever increasing demands on major urban road networks with more and more data becoming available? Australian road owners and operators in major urban areas, both public and private, are facing ever increasing traffic volumes and more pervasive traffic congestion, constrained funding for new … Read more

Benefit Cost Analysis of transport projects: 9 No-Nos

Failing to state assumptions clearly. Ignoring costs due to disruption during construction Showing ‘optimism bias’ in demand forecasts; project costs; downside risks Not accounting for full costs of base-case (or ‘do-minimum’) option. Double counting benefits, eg increased land values due to better accessibility Ignoring the costs of items simply because they do not have been … Read more

How better transport results from land use planning

Why is understanding the linkages between land use and transport so important for transport and planning professionals? Transport is a primarily a derived demand, we travel in order to get to a destination, to undertake an activity and to carry goods. Land use is a key determinant of the need, when, how, and where to … Read more