Transport Again

Office Workers at Work

Russia, Office, Men, Women, Working

My last posting was about digital technology and how it could be used to improve our well-being. There was reference to traffic issues in major cities and how they might be improved by increased use of internet technology. This last week in the Wellington media, a major story surfaced once again, about how to fix the rush-hour traffic problem. The most interesting part of the story, was an account of the working party being set up to look at the problem (again). The people were mainly from transport-related organisations.  This will pretty well guarantee that solutions proposed, will be transport-focused. Not a very good example of what to do in these times of major change.

The issue is that there are too many people and vehicles using the transport system during relatively short periods during the day. The most obvious solution then, is to find ways of reducing the number of users during peak periods, rather than build more transport solutions which cost mega-bucks, and more often than not, only add to the problem.  The working party then, should be mainly comprised of people who are not transport-focused, and more likely to look at other possible ways off addressing the issue: how can car-numbers in particular, be reduced during rush-hours.

Just because work-hours in Wellington have historically always started at 8am to 9am, and finish at between 4.30pm and 5pm doesn’t mean they have to continue like that. There are now other ways of managing office staff, for example, than by just making sure they’re at their desk. Not all public servants are needed in Central Wellington at all times. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars keeping this practice going, is a gross waste of money, when there are now, alternatives. But appointing transport people to come up with the alternatives is most unlikely to produce other than very expensive transport-related answers.

There are better ways, not yet widely used around the world, but we keep telling ourselves we’re a smart country, and this is a good opportunity for demonstrating it. Try arguing over this approach, as an example.

The Wellington Regional Council set up a Facebook page asking Wellington workers if they have easy access to quality broadband. (don’t rely on traditional broadband suppliers to supply the answers.) Take account of what is said, and make sure they do get good broadband. There are low-cost ways of delivering it. It doesn’t all have to be delivered by fibre.

Pay the NZ Institute of Management to do work on managers managing on outputs rather than ‘who’s at their desk’ and hold seminars on their findings.

Cajole one or two government departments to set up places for their people to work at least 20 hours a week in nearby suburbs. Porirua with its empty CBD buildings would be a good place to start.

The digital age is here, let’s make use of it for improving our lot: it is possible. These changing times demand changing ways of doing things.



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