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Daniel Sparing

Jarrett, maybe this an acceptable place to mention that I recently finished the book which was an excellent read and will remain a useful handbook, just as I expected based on this blog.

About being neutral, you are being tricky and you know that. You offer well-defined choices to the policymakers/readers, such as high frequency vs. complexity etc. etc., but finally, in the last chapter, you reveal which of each choice pair are characteristics of World class, high ridership transit systems. -- As a transit advocate, one would thus really have a preference in these questions, but it is a smart tactic of yours to make the client articulate these choices.

Jarrett at HumanTransit.org

Daniel.  Thanks so much for the compliment, but I wouldn't use the word "tricky"!  The whole book says that you get to make choices and that choices have consequences, and the epilogue is no different.  You don't have to be a "transit metropolis" if you don't want to be.  I perceive the global market to be saying that there's an increased demand for that, but the markets say all kinds of crazy and mixed things, as you'd expect of something made up of so many people.   Others argue that the future is in small cities where there's room for everyone to drive.  What I do know is that decisionmaking is, fortunately, still very decentralized in most of the world, so communities will differentiate based on their values and the market will reward them if those values are popular with enough of a population.

Barry Watkins

The neutrality in consultancy takes a while to master, especially when you work in a field that you're passionate about.

Many clients expect us to share their beliefs, enthusiasm and predetermined positions on the projects which they invite us to assist on. And when a project has clear benefits - those 'no brainers' that we sometimes work on - that enthusiasm can be contagious.

But for me the biggest challenge can be to tell a client that their idea simply isn't feasible. Even feasibility studies, the intent of which is to determine whether a project is viable or not, usually come from a position of wanting to prove that it is. The emotional response of some clients when you inform them that, in your professional opinion for which they have paid, their idea simply doesn't stack up, can range from disbelief through to betrayal.

A good consultant tells their client want they need to hear. But many consultants seem to feel obliged to tell their client what they want to hear. And this is where so many bad investments of public moneys begin.

Danny Howard

If ever you are Knighted, you could be "Sir Jarrett, the Un-tedious"


So, did the guy who asked you the question in the bathroom express his values? Or did he have no values and vote to do "none of the above"? :-)

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