Monday, September 8, 2008
The Largest Public Works Project Ever
I have been told my idea for automating our transportation system is crazy or undoable by different people, mostly because of the scale of it and political realities that exist today. If someone were to attempt this by themselves, there is little doubt of failure. Any project of this sort will require the efforts of a very large number of people and a vast amount of resources, akin to building pyramids or the great wall. This requires a well-thought out plan of execution and, in a representative democracy, the support of a large majority of the citizenry. In the beginning, there will be work for public relations people and planners (computer programmers, designers, engineers, etc). Public relations should be the number one emphasis until sufficient interest is generated to begin planning. Generating that interest will possibly be the most ambitious part of this whole idea and must be carried out in a thoughtful manner for any chance of success. Right now the plan for generating interest is to keep this blog up to date, do a valid cost/benefit analysis, comment every place I can find relevant (i.e. letters, newspapers, blog forums, conversations etc), find other people to participate in publicizing, and to write a book. Once a good cost/benefit analysis is done the rest should be much easier but still not easy. The next step will be finalizing the design of the system, requiring the work of many design engineers and others. If all of this is done and it is finally decided that the system will be built, there will be work for literally millions of people, from the most unskilled laborers to the most highly qualified engineers. I would expect construction to require more peoples efforts than the CCC work projects of FDR and if it is to be done in the time frame of by mid-century a societal commitment nearly on the order of what it took to build pyramids many centuries ago. The reason I don't think it is hopeless, is that I have seen most people work very hard when they can see that their efforts are producing a positive effect and not mostly wasted or for some unknown benefit.