Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The train that is coming

I know I am running late. I really have to catch that train if I want to get there on time. Luckily for me the train won't be leaving the station till this August. That is if there are no more delays. The train: the Jerusalem Light Rail.

People who know of my former involvement in planning the Jerusalem Light Rail Train (JLRT) ask all sorts of questions beyond the usual "when is it going to open?". Some wonder why Jerusalem isn't getting a subway and others why a bus system wasn't sufficient. Many are curious if the already annoying street congestion in Jerusalem is going to finally get better or will it degrade even further. Mostly I can supply passable answers, although sometimes I am not entirely certain. Training and experience help.

My perspective of transportation for the last 20 years has been that of a transportation modeler using EMME (an off the shelf program for transportation planning) in Israel. I have worked on transportation models for the JLRT, the Cross Israel Highway and for the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv rail link. In the 20+ years I have worked on quite a few projects, have learned a great deal, and still have much to learn. For the last 10 years I have been doing economic analysis of transportation projects, a specialty within a specialty.

For some time I have been mulling over whether I should voice my opinions, backing them up with what I have learned. In addition I would like to explore, along with those who are interested different issues in transportation, technologies and how modelers deal with them when preparing forecasts.

All this might seem a bit technical at times, which for those disinclined, can be skipped, although, in my opinion, try to stay on board and I will try to make the ride as smooth as possible. Far from being esoteric, the modeling part of transportation planning is a fairly useful tool in evaluating how policy could be made as opposed to how it usually is.

And to those who stay. I thank you in advance