Partners
HOME    BLOGS    BLOGGERS    MESSAGES    VIDEO    AUDIO    REPORTS    RESEARCH    WEBINARS

No, Brits Don't Need a Polar Express

Newest First    Oldest First    Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
richheap
richheap  
12/14/2012 4:22:06 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
You're right. In theory, investment should be made to so big climate changes don't have a big impact. The problem over here is we don't know what we're preparing for.

In Britain's case, we could get very cold if The Gulf Stream is affected as some scientists predict. But, if The Gulf Stream continues as it is at the moment, Britain could in fact get hotter along with the rest of the planet. We don't know yet. Or perhaps the main impact on us will be heavier rainfall and more flooding.

It is true to say that Earth's climate has been through big changes before, but human beings don't have established ways of dealing with it. And it is difficult to know how to prepare when we don't really know what we're preparing for. Perhaps we just have to wait and see what happens.

 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/13/2012 7:45:09 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
"But if that happens it'll have huge consequences for a lot of services, not just trains."

Right, Rich. So it sounds like investment and efforts should go into ensuring that doesn't happen, but is it too late? And if so, do we need to make investments to mitigate impending disaster due to the changing climate?

I mean, I agree with you about not snow-proofing a train line when an area doesn't get much snow, but we're both kind of saying the same thing here, which is that the weather conditions are subject to change. How to prepare for that possibility?

richheap
richheap  
12/13/2012 5:32:10 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
I think you're right, and my suggestion about automated messages at travellers using a specific route is only one possible solution. I don't know if this sort of thing exists already. Perhaps somebody else reading this can put me right on that?

And Nicole, there is a situation under which it would be worth investing in snow-proofing the rail system in Britain, which I didn't want to get into in my main post. Some scientists suggest that global warming could disrupt The Gulf Stream that keeps Britain warmer than other countries on a similar latitude.

If The Gulf Stream is weakened or switched off then Britain could end up with a climate more like those in Canada or Russia and, if that happened, snow would be a far more common occurrence and the investment would be beneficial. But if that happens it'll have huge consequences for a lot of services, not just trains.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/12/2012 5:49:42 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
I'd agree that that's where the money should be spent, richardbyatt. Delays and closures are inevitable, and I think Rich makes an important point about not investing heavily in weather-proofing for rare situations. We do have the means to keep people informed, so investments should be made there.

At the same time, with changing climate conditions, no city really knows what to expect weather-wise anymore. NYC wasn't built for hurricanes, for example. Past conditions aren't a safe indication of what's to come anymore.

richardbyatt
richardbyatt  
12/12/2012 10:20:41 AM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Set priorities!
In the UK the biggest complaint about transport problems is poor or non-existent information. I think people will accept disruption by weather events if they are kept informed and they can trust the information. So, invest in real-time information systems accessible from mobile devices and use displays at stations, bus stops etc. The rail franchising system in the UK sometimes leads to strange decisions made to meet performance targets rather than to respond to the situation on the ground. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2012 10:15:02 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
I'm not sure that people who really need to be on site to do the job wouldn't travel distances to get there. The big hotels and restaurants in Manhattan, for instance, are not located in residential neighborhoods.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2012 10:13:01 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
Great point; and don't leave out hospital workers, tradesmen, janitors, hotel workers.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2012 10:10:43 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
All good points, Rich. And I hadn't even thought that perhaps Chicago was looking to avoid big consulting fees by offering a talented unknown a bit of recognition for a crowdsourced solution. Clever!

richheap
richheap  
12/12/2012 6:27:09 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Set priorities!
That's a good point, Richard. However, I'd suggest that long-distance rail commuting is, by and large, the preserve of people with office-based jobs that are mainly done in big cities.

I also think that most teachers, shop assistants and cleaners wouldn't work in roles that require long train journeys, for a couple of reasons: (1) it's not cost-effective to do so and (2) there is demand for these roles across the country, meaning they don't need to make a long journey into central London or similar.

Even so, how do you think we can get around travel problems for these people? Should we spend the money on the rail system? Or should businesses just accept that, in bad weather, some of their employees may not get there on time?

richardbyatt
richardbyatt  
12/12/2012 5:34:53 AM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Set priorities!
Working from home or other "third place" locations is definitely an option for some, maybe many but not all. Plenty of those people struggling to work early in the morning by public transport HAVE to make the journey - teachers, shop assistants, cleaners, catering workers etc etc. Let's not assume we can all work virtually.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
research
Smart City Money Makers
companies and solutions that are most prominent, and destined to be most profitable, in the smart city revolution.
How to Make Your City Smarter
Cities all over the world need to become smarter and more sustainable. But where to start? Download this guide to learn the first, proven steps toward making your city smarter.
all research
quick poll
Join the discussion
All polls
twitter feed
Future Cities Twitter Feed
follow us on facebook
Site Moderators
Future Cities is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
moderators@ubmfuturecities.com
directory
Designed to provide the people with access to green building products all year round
connect to us
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2014 UBM,
All rights reserved.