Socially Optimal Solutions

Congestion is a problem of bad economics, not bad engineering. I've heard this said a few times and I think it's worth repeating. Another way of putting this is that our current economic framework does not result in a "socially optimal solution". Economists define a "socially optimal solution" as "the optimal distribution of resources in … Continue reading Socially Optimal Solutions

Are We There Yet? Hydrogen Trains and the End of the Carbon Era – Part 2

Yesterday I wrote that hydrogen trains are beginning to emerge as a genuine option for long-distance trains in New Zealand. Part 2 of this series further explores how we might solve the problem of needing to store electricity when the wind's not blowing. According to the Wide Spread Adaption of Competitive Hydrogen Solution -Nel Hydrogen … Continue reading Are We There Yet? Hydrogen Trains and the End of the Carbon Era – Part 2

Are We There Yet? Hydrogen Trains and the End of the Carbon Era – Part 1

Steam trains signalled the start of the carbon era. Will hydrogen trains signal its end? This article was first published on Brendon Harre's blog and interest.co.nz, and has since had some updates. The world’s first hydrogen train is now in service — Engadget New Zealand’s goal of being zero carbon by 2050 is like ‘crossing a river … Continue reading Are We There Yet? Hydrogen Trains and the End of the Carbon Era – Part 1

Transparency at last

In my last blog, I asked: “how is Canterbury patronage doing?” The background to that question is that Auckland Transport regularly puts their patronage data onto their website, and Greater Wellington used to update their data monthly until mid-2018. With Environment Canterbury (ECan), you’ve got to dive into the reports that go to their Greater … Continue reading Transparency at last

What Makes Cities Tick?

A few months back I saw an interesting thread of tweets written by Kent Lundberg, an urban designer who has been a big part of the revival of the Auckland city centre in recent years. I think it's a neat wee summary of what makes city centres tick. I took 3 points out of this: … Continue reading What Makes Cities Tick?

Why people oppose good transport policy – central city speed limits

This post first appeared at TraNZport and is republished with permission. Further speed limit changes have been approved in Christchurch’s inner city, which will see a number of roads changed from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour. This decision was made despite overwhelming opposition from the submissions process. Cue outrage. “It’ll take … Continue reading Why people oppose good transport policy – central city speed limits

Good State Builders Are Hard To Find!

Finding someone to lead the building of 100,000 affordable homes is a big ask. This article first appeared at Brendon Harre's blog and is republished with permission. New Zealand has a system of government where elected government Ministers do not directly employ staff for their departments. Ministers produce policies as a result of electoral outcomes … Continue reading Good State Builders Are Hard To Find!