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PDR
1321391.  Thu May 09, 2019 7:21 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Indeed, in the early days of the building programme, there would probably be no need for an underground network at all. I imagine all transport needs could be met by a good network of buses or, if suze was in charge, trolleybuses, in the early stages.

Once the city has grown to sufficient size to require a more efficient mass transit system, only then would the capital need to be raised to implement this.


I was mainly responding to your original proposal in post 1320646 where you said:

DrBob wrote:
Of course. I've already said, several times, that this is a thought experiment not designed to consider every tiny practical detail. Although, if you built a new city from scratch, you would at least be able to build all these things in from the start, rather than trying to retrofit them. Imagine how much easier Crossrail would've been if it didn't need to be threaded through all the existing infrastructure!


If this isn't what you're now suggesting we have to return to the (not insignificant) question of how we create this underground transit system without substantially disturbing the living and working environment. You offered "build the transit system first and then build the city" as a reason why the cost of crossrail alone was a poor comparative metric for the affordability of the underground transit system. So if it's now to be built incrementally how do you make its construction (a) affordable, and (b) non-instrusive?

Quote:

If we wanted to make the whole thing underground, maybe it would be possible to build the grid of tunnels at the initial stages of construction (an increase in initial costs, but with potentially much fewer problems later on), and only build all the rails and platforms once the city is big enough to sustain such a large mass transit system.


A couple of points.

1. The network of tunnels (a massive civil engineering project) is itself a sunstantial part of the overall investment, so that capital would be sunk from day one and would need to be serviced somehow. In the incremental concept early revenues wouldn't even scratch the surface, and it wouldn't be long before the accrued interest completely dwarfed the original investment capital making it almost impossible for the debt to be serviced by the operating profit unless fares were massive.

2. Once you have built the tunnels you can't just leave them alone. They need regular inspection and maintenance or they quickly deteriorate. Some of the internal infrustructure would been needed from day one regardless of whether there were trains/cars/horses in them or not - things like power substations, lighting, ventillation, draining pumps, pest control, fire control etc. So there would be a non-trivial sustainment cost to the whole network even if you were only using the small bit of tunnel between Trump Towers and Camoron Crescent.

3. Whenever you went to extend the next bit of transit system you'd disturb the ones it joined to. In the most simplistic form there's the matter of joining the tracks up, but that means that the existing service now has an extended set of destinations so the timetable needs to change, and that new run of track needs to be tested and certified, drivers trained etc. The signalling systems and control centres need to be extended to incorporate the new section, which will inherently disturb the operation of the existing system while its done. This whole process is likely to happen continuously for many years (decades?) while the city is being completed.

4. Over the sort of timescale for the completion of the whole system the systems will be plagued by obsolescence issues. If you build the whole thing in one go you can do a single buy of all the signalling, control, power, trackside systems etc etc so it will all be mutualy compatable and systems intergration will be relatively straightforward. But oif you build one bit, then look to build another five years later you will find that the required systems are no longer available and the new ones are not fully compatible with the existing system. Lifetime buys can work, but this involves putting kit in storage for long periods and expecting it to still work when you come to use it - history suggests we don't really know how to stop in-storage deterioration yet. This leaves the choice between a complete technology refresh (expensive and wasteful) ir coming up woith the sort of interfacing bodges that so often cause major grief and huge cost later.

PDR

 
suze
1321424.  Thu May 09, 2019 12:05 pm Reply with quote

cnb wrote:
I think the reason is that LA, or at least the parts I've been to - has denser suburbs than other US cities. Most cities slowly reduce in density until you reach single storey houses on two acre lots. LA is constrained by the mountains and ocean, so in general the lot size is far smaller even at the extremes of the sprawl. The comparable map for New York - Newark extends a very long way into very low density suburban New Jersey.


Thanks, that does explain the matter. It is hardly for me to tell the US Census Bureau how to do its job, but its definitions of "Greater New York" and "Greater Los Angeles" don't seem especially consistent. If NYC is to be taken as extending well into NJ, then LA probably ought to be taken as extending as far out as places like Lancaster and Santa Barbara.

The US Census Bureau does not constrain itself to legally defined city limits, and of course these too are often arbitrary, but if we do work on that basis then NYC is indeed the US's most densely populated city.

cnb wrote:
Not meaning to be rude about it, but I'd argue that where you live isn't really a proper town in its own right. It's part of a larger urban area which has roughly the number of supermarkets any other conurbation of the same size has.


Yes, that's fair comment. Even Medway Council isn't entirely consistent on how it treats the continuous built up area, and I've heard it described as one town, two towns, three towns, and five towns. (Never four, as far as I can remember.)

If we take that figure of eight "proper supermarkets" and five towns, then the eight are distributed two in Strood, three in Chatham, one in Gillingham, and two in Rainham. None in Rochester, where all we have is three Co-ops which never have the item you went in for, and an assortment of convenience stores which are of varying quality and reputation. (As in any large town, some of them brazenly sell Belgian cigarettes, some of them equally brazenly sell vodka to 12 year olds, and some of them are really pretty good.)

If you want an apparently excessive supply of supermarkets, check out Inverness. It has far more of them than you'd expect in a town of 47,000 - but that's because they cater for people who come into town once a month from places as far afield as Skye and Caithness to fill their cars up with groceries.

 
dr.bob
1321471.  Fri May 10, 2019 6:13 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
So if it's now to be built incrementally how do you make its construction (a) affordable, and (b) non-instrusive?


I agree, that's an important consideration. I already said "The question then becomes how best to allow for a later implementation of this mass transit system."

PDR wrote:
1. The network of tunnels (a massive civil engineering project) is itself a sunstantial part of the overall investment


How substantial? We're talking about building a huge city from scratch. That in and of itself is a massive civil engineering project and will require huge investment. What percentage of that investment will be required to build a grid system of tunnels around the nascent city?

PDR wrote:
2. Once you have built the tunnels you can't just leave them alone. They need regular inspection and maintenance or they quickly deteriorate.


How quickly? One example I found was the Two Tunnels Greenway in Bath which Guy may be familiar with. This is a mile-long cycle track created from a disused railway tunnel. The tunnel was closed down and left derelict for 50 years before reopened as a cycle route.

For sure the tunnel deteriorated. It cost £4m to bring it back to life. However, not all of that money was spent on repairing the tunnel. Apparently they were required to install gates and a CCTV system "at huge expense". However, even as a conservative estimate, £4m to tackle 50 years worth of repairs sounds surprisingly manageable. And you can bet that regular maintenance would be cheaper since prevention is better than cure.

PDR wrote:
Some of the internal infrustructure would been needed from day one regardless of whether there were trains/cars/horses in them or not - things like power substations, lighting, ventillation, draining pumps, pest control, fire control etc.


Why would an empty, unused tunnel require lighting and ventilation? Are draining pumps necessary? What's wrong with a passive drainage system?

PDR wrote:
So there would be a non-trivial sustainment cost to the whole network even if you were only using the small bit of tunnel between Trump Towers and Camoron Crescent.


I don't understand this statement. I was proposing a system that wasn't used at all until passenger numbers were sufficiently high, whereupon it would all be used. I can't think of a situation where only a small bit of tunnel was being used.

PDR wrote:
3. Whenever you went to extend the next bit of transit system you'd disturb the ones it joined to. In the most simplistic form there's the matter of joining the tracks up, but that means that the existing service now has an extended set of destinations so the timetable needs to change, and that new run of track needs to be tested and certified, drivers trained etc. The signalling systems and control centres need to be extended to incorporate the new section, which will inherently disturb the operation of the existing system while its done.


I think disturbance could be minimised with careful planning. Imagine the initial rail system set up like this:



I've depicted three pairs of tracks operating as part of the grid system. Arrows on the tracks show direction of travel so trains on the top track will travel right to left (from the city towards the depot). At the edge of the city will be a set of points to allow the trains to switch tracks, change direction, and head back into the city (the "Direction Change Zone" in the red box). Apart from early in the morning and late in the evening when services start and stop, the tracks to the left of the red box will host very little traffic.

To expand the system, we first create more tracks like this:



Everything in the green box is new track. As it's to the left of the red box, it will be very quiet most of the day. That will allow plenty of scope for testing and certifying the track without interrupting people's daily commute. Once the new track is properly approved, the network (and the city) can be expanded by moving the "Direction Change Zone":




Clearly this step will produce some interference with normal operation, but this interference is minimised and can be carried out on a bank holiday weekend, or whenever major rail works are normally carried out.

Changing the timetable should be a minor problem. How many people using the London Underground even bother to look at a timetable? As for driver training, two words: Driverless Trains.

PDR wrote:
But oif you build one bit, then look to build another five years later you will find that the required systems are no longer available and the new ones are not fully compatible with the existing system.


That's certainly a good point that needs to be considered, but is 5 years really a realistic timescale for railway signalling systems to become completely obsolete? Do you have any sources to back up that claim?

 
barbados
1321506.  Fri May 10, 2019 10:48 am Reply with quote

Quote:
I was proposing a system that wasn't used at all until passenger numbers were sufficiently high, whereupon it would all be used.

How do the citizens of Megatropolis get around until the numbers are "sufficiently high"?
Also, when do the passenger numbers become "sufficiently high"?

 
Alfred E Neuman
1321512.  Fri May 10, 2019 11:22 am Reply with quote

Passengers get sufficiently high soon after the drug dealers move in.

 
PDR
1321517.  Fri May 10, 2019 12:14 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
PDR wrote:
So if it's now to be built incrementally how do you make its construction (a) affordable, and (b) non-instrusive?


I agree, that's an important consideration. I already said "The question then becomes how best to allow for a later implementation of this mass transit system."


So your answer to building it at less than Crossrail's cost/risk values is to build the transport system first and then build the city, but your answer to how to make it viable is to build the city and the transport system scaled at the same rate. I'm struggling to see how these two positions aren't in conflict - what am I missing?


Quote:

PDR wrote:
1. The network of tunnels (a massive civil engineering project) is itself a sunstantial part of the overall investment


How substantial? We're talking about building a huge city from scratch. That in and of itself is a massive civil engineering project and will require huge investment. What percentage of that investment will be required to build a grid system of tunnels around the nascent city?


Once again, the issue isn't [just] the size of cost, but the time-phasing. If you build 100 buildings at the rate of one a month then from the end of the first month the first building can be occupied and start generating revenue long before the costs of the later buildings are incurred. That's actually how even ordinary housing developments are funded now - the sale of the first couple of houses provides the cashflow to fund the materials and labour for the subsequent ones. Essentially it allows the same bit of capital to be recycled through the duration of the project until the sale of the final house allows it to be drawn down as profit. But if you build the transport system for the whole city first (even just the tunnels) you incur the WHOLE cost at the start (not just the cost for one building), and the revenue doesn't begin to come close to serving that debt for a very long time.

But in terms of the relative magnitudes of the cost of the tunnels vs the cost of the buildings we can look at some reference cases. The Shard, a large, luxury building on prime city land, cost under £500m (against an original contract price of £350m because accurate cost prediction isn't civil engineering's strong suit). The cost of crossrail is a fairly small bit of railway just ~70 miles in total length and its cost is currently heading for £18bn (and few seriously expect it to stay under that).

So in relative rough magnitude terms would could suggest that building the transport system costs the same as 30-40 high-density buildings. I would probably see that as a "significant cost" because those buildings would already be earning revenue as each was completed, or even before since it isn't uncommon for the lower floors of such buildings to be occupied before the upper floors are even built.

Quote:

PDR wrote:
2. Once you have built the tunnels you can't just leave them alone. They need regular inspection and maintenance or they quickly deteriorate.


How quickly? One example I found was the Two Tunnels Greenway in Bath which Guy may be familiar with. This is a mile-long cycle track created from a disused railway tunnel. The tunnel was closed down and left derelict for 50 years before reopened as a cycle route.

For sure the tunnel deteriorated. It cost £4m to bring it back to life. However, not all of that money was spent on repairing the tunnel. Apparently they were required to install gates and a CCTV system "at huge expense". However, even as a conservative estimate, £4m to tackle 50 years worth of repairs sounds surprisingly manageable. And you can bet that regular maintenance would be cheaper since prevention is better than cure.


The single mile of tunnel took years to bring back into service, and even that was only for walking/cycling. They aren't fit for the floor loading, vibration and air pressure stresses of an underground railway system. The author of that article also referenced how that was regarded as unusual, and that other similar tunnels proposed for similar use are beyond repair. So I'd suggest that is an outlier rather than the mode.

Quote:

Why would an empty, unused tunnel require lighting and ventilation?


They would require lighting to allow safe inspection. They would require power to drive the lighting and the ventilation. They would require ventilation to prevent a build-up of dangerous gases and because they are linked to the rest of the tunnel network into which those gases would otherwise flow. The MoD owns many hundreds of miles of old mines (EG those at Copenacre) which have been variously used as secure storage sites, safe communications centres and redoubts. These days they use very little of the tunnel space because since the mid 90s the MoD has been shedding inventory to save costs*, but the whole tunnel network still has functioning lighting, power and forced ventilation due to the explosive atmosphere risk which is always present in any underground space.

Quote:

Are draining pumps necessary? What's wrong with a passive drainage system?


That would depend on the water table because water is reluctant to flow uphill, but many underground spaces which used to claim they didn't need pumps have had to start fitting them due to the weather extremes we've had over the last few years. But even passive drainage systems need monitoring, inspection and maintenance because they get silted-up and they are attractive habitats for flora and fauna.

Quote:

I don't understand this statement. I was proposing a system that wasn't used at all until passenger numbers were sufficiently high, whereupon it would all be used. I can't think of a situation where only a small bit of tunnel was being used.


Now I'm getting confused! You start out by saying that the transport system would be built before the city to make it cheaper and simpler to build. Then you change this to saying it would be built incrementally along with the buildings to avoid the debt-serving problem, and now you say that it won't be built until the city is substantially complete. What is it you're actually proposing here?

Quote:
As for driver training, two words: Driverless Trains.


It doesn't matter whether the drivers a organic or silicon. Any change to the train diagram needs all the safety certification analysis and testing (verification of collision margins, stoppage limits, evacuation/fire procedures etc) to be repeated, and the control room staff/systems retested for the new configuration. If the drivers are human this involves training and testing. If the drivers are silicon then it involves analysis, testing and demonstration. There required safety levels are the same, the safety case is largely the same and only some of the individual safety arguments actually differ between the two cases.

Quote:
That's certainly a good point that needs to be considered, but is 5 years really a realistic timescale for railway signalling systems to become completely obsolete? Do you have any sources to back up that claim?


I got the 5 year number by putting some indicative items into our Technology Maturity Model and selecting the civil engineering plant environment dataset. The obsolescence risk cusp point came at a smidge after the five year point (which with that dataset is nine years after design freeze). If you ask one of your colleagues in your civil engineering faculty I'd be very surprised if they don't have a similar model. I'm not in front of the model right now, but from memory it uses TRL9 and SRL5 as the design freeze maturity.

PDR

* When I first visited RNSD Copenacre in the early 80s they were actually proud of the fact that they still had over a million WW2-era Lee-Enfield rifles and over 500rounds of ammunition per rifle that they could issue to a militia should the country be invaded. They also had light artillery from before WW2 and vast amounts of spare parts for ships, aircraft and vehicles which no longer exist. All this has since been disposed of.

 
GuyBarry
1321519.  Fri May 10, 2019 12:29 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:

The single mile of tunnel took years to bring back into service, and even that was only for walking/cycling. They aren't fit for the floor loading, vibration and air pressure stresses of an underground railway system. The author of that article also referenced how that was regarded as unusual, and that other similar tunnels proposed for similar use are beyond repair. So I'd suggest that is an outlier rather than the mode.


What about the disused Snow Hill Tunnel in London, which was brought back into service in 1988 as part of the new Thameslink line?

 
barbados
1321522.  Fri May 10, 2019 12:51 pm Reply with quote

And it took 2 years to bring back into service

 
PDR
1321523.  Fri May 10, 2019 12:55 pm Reply with quote

I don't know the details, but a quick google suggests that after being out of use for 15 years it took two years to bring the tunnel back into a usable state and another two years to then install and commission tracks and signalling systems - and that was just for a few hundred yards of tunnel.

PDR

 
dr.bob
1321691.  Mon May 13, 2019 6:30 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
So your answer to building it at less than Crossrail's cost/risk values is to build the transport system first and then build the city, but your answer to how to make it viable is to build the city and the transport system scaled at the same rate. I'm struggling to see how these two positions aren't in conflict - what am I missing?


I thought it was a fairly straightforward concept, but I've clearly explained it very badly. I'll try again, this time with diagrams. I've taken cnb's simple diagram for his proposed grid structure modular city and have labelled a few parts: letters for the "modules" with all the buildings; numbers for the transport infrastructure to link them together.


I've used different colours for numbers just to avoid having to use double-digit numbers which made the diagram look rather busy.

Just to re-iterate what I posted way back in post 1320646, Crossrail would have been much cheaper to build if it was built into the city to begin with, rather than having to be threaded through a complex existing infrastructure. With that in mind, my theory was that the tunnels (and just the tunnels) for the underground rail network could be constructed incrementally along with the "modules" of the city. Once the city is large enough to support a major mass transit system, then all the rails, platforms, lights, signals, etc could be installed and the mass transit system could go into operation.

So, referring to the diagram above we start by building city module A along with no tunnels at all. When we move on to construct module B, that's the time when we construct tunnel 1. Module C is constructed at the same time as tunnel 2 and module D at the same time as tunnel 3.

When we build module E, we now have to construct tunnels 4 and 6, while module F is constructed at the same time as tunnels 5 and 7. In this way, we are able to incrementally build a network of tunnels ready for the underground railway whilst only ever having to create a maximum of two 1.5km tunnels with each city module. Does that make things clearer?

PDR wrote:
But in terms of the relative magnitudes of the cost of the tunnels vs the cost of the buildings we can look at some reference cases. The Shard, a large, luxury building on prime city land, cost under £500m (against an original contract price of £350m because accurate cost prediction isn't civil engineering's strong suit). The cost of crossrail is a fairly small bit of railway just ~70 miles in total length and its cost is currently heading for £18bn (and few seriously expect it to stay under that).

So in relative rough magnitude terms would could suggest that building the transport system costs the same as 30-40 high-density buildings.


I think your figures in this example are way off. Firstly, this article puts the cost of building The Shard at "an estimated 1.5 billion pounds". It mentions that £196 million was required to buy the initial plot+building. Clearly this wouldn't be required when creating a building from scratch. You also wouldn't need to factor in the demolition costs of the original building. However, to bring the cost down to your quoted figure of £500 million, those demolition costs would have had to have been £804 million which seems unlikely. I think a more likely estimate for The Shard, once site purchase and demolition costs are discounted, would be closer to £1billion.

Secondly, as I've explained above, I'm talking about building empty tunnels, while your figures for Crossrail include the complete fitting out costs. Also, I've mentioned several times that Crossrail is a bad example of tunnelling given the massive complexities involved. This website give some comparisons of different tunnelling projects around the world. It shows that Crossrail is one of the most expensive project in the world, at a cost of 1 billion USD per km. By comparison, the Helsinki Westmetro project required 13.5km of tunnels at a cost of just 70 million USD per km. Clearly this figure is an over-estimate for what I'm proposing as, again, it's the figure for a completely fitted out rail network rather than just the tunnels, as well as tunnelling under an existing city with all the complications that creates. But even if we use this figure, we find that one building like The Shard would cost over 6 times as much as the maximum of 3km of tunnels that we'd have to build with every city module, or over 3 times if we use your unrealistically low figure for the cost of The Shard. This is a much less "significant cost".

PDR wrote:
They would require lighting to allow safe inspection.


True, but how often would the empty tunnels need to be inspected? If the inspectors are not down there very often, it may be cheaper for them to take mobile lighting rigs down with them rather than having to fit out the entire network with a full lighting system.

PDR wrote:
They would require ventilation to prevent a build-up of dangerous gases and because they are linked to the rest of the tunnel network into which those gases would otherwise flow. The MoD owns many hundreds of miles of old mines

<snip>

You raise a good point about avoiding the build-up of dangerous gases. However, old mines are clearly very different to man-made tunnels. For one thing, since cnb has convinced me that a simple grid system of railways is required, my initial idea of a huge 3D underground structure is clearly no longer required. The grid system requires very little crossing of lines, so all the lines can be very close to the surface. For this reason, it would surely be possible to build in a system of passive vents at sufficiently regular intervals to allow air from the tunnels to circulate with air from the surface and prevent the build-up of dangerous gases.

PDR wrote:
That would depend on the water table because water is reluctant to flow uphill


Naturally. Equally naturally, that is something you can consider when initially building the tunnels or even initially choosing a site for the entire city.

PDR wrote:
But even passive drainage systems need monitoring, inspection and maintenance because they get silted-up and they are attractive habitats for flora and fauna.


And the cost of this will be very dependent on how often the maintenance needs to be carried out.

PDR wrote:
Quote:

I don't understand this statement. I was proposing a system that wasn't used at all until passenger numbers were sufficiently high, whereupon it would all be used. I can't think of a situation where only a small bit of tunnel was being used.


Now I'm getting confused! You start out by saying that the transport system would be built before the city to make it cheaper and simpler to build. Then you change this to saying it would be built incrementally along with the buildings to avoid the debt-serving problem, and now you say that it won't be built until the city is substantially complete. What is it you're actually proposing here?


At no point have I said the transport system won't be built until the city is substantially complete. Read the quoted part again and you'll see that I say the system won't be used until passenger numbers were sufficiently high. That doesn't change the plan to construct it incrementally along with the buildings.

Also, you seem to be interpreting the phrase "passenger numbers were sufficiently high" as "the city is substantially complete". That's your interpretation, not mine.

PDR wrote:
If the drivers are human this involves training and testing. If the drivers are silicon then it involves analysis, testing and demonstration. There required safety levels are the same, the safety case is largely the same and only some of the individual safety arguments actually differ between the two cases.


IIRC this point was addressing disruption to the existing network when expanding the network once it was in use. I've explained how disruption could be kept to a minimum, and admitted that there will need to be some minimal disruption. I'm not sure your point about testing and safety levels is really a show stopper.

PDR wrote:
I got the 5 year number by putting some indicative items into our Technology Maturity Model and selecting the civil engineering plant environment dataset.


In that case, I suggest we should consult with the people in charge of the Crossrail project. AIUI, the Crossrail trains will not be running solely on the newly created track. At the far ends of the network, they will be running on existing track. I would assume that some of the signalling technology on those existing tracks will be over 5 years old (certainly by the time the Corssrail trains actually start running). So whatever problems you might be imagining in terms of trains or control rooms having to deal with older technologies seem to have some kind of practical solution.

Also, I think your estimate of 5 year obsolescence in railway technology is probably also way off*. This is largely based on information about the Dutch Automatische TreinBeļnvloeding system. The first generation "ATB-EG" was developed in the 1950s and widely installed in the 1960s. After 1990, the second generation "ATB-NG" was rolled out across the network. However, Wiki notes that:

Quote:
Trainborne ATB-NG equipment is able to receive ATB-EG signals, making the system backwards compatible.



*Though I'm no expert so, if anyone here has some real-world experience of how train technologies develop and operate, I'd be interested to hear about it

 
dr.bob
1321698.  Mon May 13, 2019 9:25 am Reply with quote

cnb wrote:
In my grid plan, everyone bar those in the outside rows of the grid would also be within fairly easy reach of 8 neighbouring modules, and therefore have a choice of probably a dozen major supermarkets within 3km.

50,000 people isn't enough to support a full-service general hospital - you'd probably want one of those for every 9-module block in the grid, but that would still put every resident within 4km. 50,000 is enough to cost-effectively provide a limited range of outpatient services within each module though.


Something that occurred to me over the weekend: A grid pattern city such as you describe would be an excellent cure to the problems many cities currently have where so much important stuff in concentrated in the centre and too many people have to try and travel to the same place, as you explained.

A grid pattern city would also provide an excellent mass transit system, as we've discussed. However, I'm now beginning to wonder if it would be needed at all. The main reason that large cities today have highly efficient mass transit systems is precisely because of the centralisation problem that we've already solved. With everyone in the city being so close to supermarkets, hospitals, and jobs, how many people would actually need to make use of the mass transit system?

Could we, in fact, make suze head of the new Bobsville* Municipal Trolleybus Service and find that this was sufficient transport to deal with the small number of people who actually had to travel significant distances across the city every day. Meanwhile residents such as Guy could simply walk everywhere they need to.



*I decided to name our new 21st century modular city. I think it has a nice ring to it.

 
cnb
1321699.  Mon May 13, 2019 9:35 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
With everyone in the city being so close to supermarkets, hospitals, and jobs, how many people would actually need to make use of the mass transit system?


I think that even with every module having a dense centre, people would still travel within the city as a whole to get to work. It's likely that each module would develop specialisms, so you'd have a module or two where financial businesses cluster together, and another where all the media businesses are etc. Even if people initially choose to live in the module where they expect to work, over time things will change, and family members will work in different fields.

Even if it's only a fairly small proportion of people who travel, the transport requirements once Bobsville grows to a few million inhabitants is still likely to be enough to warrant a rail network (see earlier post discussing how many buses it would need).

 
suze
1321715.  Mon May 13, 2019 11:53 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Could we, in fact, make suze head of the new Bobsville Municipal Trolleybus Service and find that this was sufficient transport to deal with the small number of people who actually had to travel significant distances across the city every day. Meanwhile residents such as Guy could simply walk everywhere they need to.


Can I delegate to the good husband, please? While he doesn't hold them, he does at least know which certificates and licences he'd need before he could do such a job.

On the other hand, if your startup city needs an Assistant Head Teacher Colon Head of Language Arts for the girls' grammar school that it is of course going to have ...

 
dr.bob
1321790.  Tue May 14, 2019 8:45 am Reply with quote

cnb wrote:
I think that even with every module having a dense centre, people would still travel within the city as a whole to get to work. It's likely that each module would develop specialisms, so you'd have a module or two where financial businesses cluster together, and another where all the media businesses are etc.


That's an interesting point. I'm not entirely convinced that modules would develop specialisms. Currently in a city like London, there's a certain amount of kudos to owning a certain address. If you're running a media company, it looks cool if you have an address in Soho. If you're running a bank, an address in the City of London carries a certain amount of kudos. In a brand new city, this would no longer apply.

There's no real need for companies to be physically close to each other in this age of telecommunications and video conferencing. There might occasionally be a requirement to have a face-to-face meeting but, given the excellent transport system in Bobsville, that's not a problem either even if your modules are a long way from each other.

However, I take your point that different family members may work for different companies and need to travel across the city. But surely that only applies for skilled workers.

You said above that each set of 9 modules puts every person within reach of a full-service general hospital and probably a dozen major supermarkets. Add in all the offices in those modules as well and you'll have a lot of low-skilled jobs to choose from. Surely most low-skilled workers won't have much incentive to travel far for their work. Even if they end up doing so, they'll surely keep an eye on the job market and switch to a job closer to home as soon as one comes available so, over time, the vast majority of low skilled workers will work very close to home.

cnb wrote:
Even if it's only a fairly small proportion of people who travel, the transport requirements once Bobsville grows to a few million inhabitants is still likely to be enough to warrant a rail network (see earlier post discussing how many buses it would need).


I guess the question then becomes "what proportion of city workers work in high-skilled jobs?"

suze wrote:
On the other hand, if your startup city needs an Assistant Head Teacher Colon Head of Language Arts for the girls' grammar school that it is of course going to have ...


You'd obviously be a shoe-in, despite the number of employment laws that would break ;-)

 
suze
1321803.  Tue May 14, 2019 11:59 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
You'd obviously be a shoe-in, despite the number of employment laws that would break ;-)


It wouldn't actually break any employment laws. With limited exceptions there is no compulsion to advertise vacancies, although not doing can in some circumstances leave the school open to a discrimination claim.

My current role was never advertised, but then the role was devised with me in mind and specified in such a way that only I could realistically do it. If I were to leave they'd probably have to advertise for my replacement, but if the Head and I already had a successor in mind, it wouldn't be difficult to conduct the process - within the law - such that no one else had much of a chance.

There hasn't been a completely new grammar school in England since the 70s*, so there's no one still in the industry who has been involved in starting one up. But I suspect that once the governing body had appointed a Head, she would be allowed to headhunt rather than recruit for some of the senior positions.


* The one in Sevenoaks which opened in 2017 was an additional campus of an existing school rather than a new school. A fudge, and a badly handled fudge at that, but the staff are employed by the pre-existing school.

 

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