« welcome, atlantic readers | Main | wellington: some sharp (and critical, and nice) comments on our network plan »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Chris B

WalkScore is essentially accessibility minus the jobs right? I mean it can be tweaked to give different weights to different things... SO I think it is a philosophical challenge - what weighting you give everything (is a line near a job paying 15K worth more than one near a job paying 150k? How about to a big grocery store with a big parking lot versus one without a parking lot etc etc etc)


My conjecture: It's the Self-Esteem Thing.

If you ride transit in California, or work for an agency here, you know all about it.

You likely cannot get usable data because there are many agencies -- particularly in L.A. and the Bay Area -- and each of them have their own mission, metrics and organizational structure. This means you have many separate systems with no or little means of integration.

That would be OK if we were talking about something like computers, but you add a human element and you now overlay human and cultural aspects to the systems issue.

Even in professional capacities, humans still bring in good and bad personality traits into their jobs. Even though they are supposed to be paid to know better, humans don't always act better. Employees don't put jealousies, fears, resentments and wants in a paid capacity.

If enough employees do this, it defines an agency's culture.

Common cultural disputes are over turf, AMP (authority, method and process -- or Who is in charge, What is to be done and How is it supposed to be planned and maintained) and David v. Goliath (think BART versus Bay Area bus systems or L.A. Metro versus the munis).

The FTA knows that if it wants this kind of data, it will have to be the grown-up in the room and tell every agency what it's supposed to do, and by doing so would have to take responsibility for the agencies.


Correction to my post above: The sentence should read: "Employees don't put jealousies, fears, resentments and wants aside in a paid capacity."


I suspect there's at least partly a philosophical problem here. I think the problem is one of aggregation. You can say what it means for a transit line to improve one person's access to jobs, education, healthcare, etc, and you might even be able to develop a measure of how much a transit line improves an individual's access to all these resources. But even once you've done that, there's a question of which transit improvement improves more people's access more - does it help more to bring 1000 people from a very low access rating to a moderate one, or bring 1000 people from a moderate one to a very high one, or to bring 500 people from a very low one to a very high one? You could use a Rawlsian maximin idea (in which case we want to improve 1000 of the worst off to medium access) or an average value idea (which could go to any of these three, depending on how the numbers work out) or something else. It's not clear that one measure is more justified than another.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

the firm

Jarrett is now in ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...