Why American [Subway Construction] Costs Are So High (Work-in-Progress) [Toronto and Canada mentioned several times] preliminary analysis from a transit consultant of why building subways costs so damn much in North America as compared to other places. It comes down to 3 main categories: sub-optimal design, bad management, and crappy politics. For various reasons, here in the 21st century our continent sucks at all of those.For those too lazy to even skim through the article but will comment anyway, here are the subheadings:1. Engineering part 1: station construction methods2. Engineering part 2: mezzanines3. Management part 1: procurement4. Management part 2: conflict resolution5. Management part 3: project management6. Management part 4: agency turf battles7. Institutions part 1: political lading with irrelevant priorities8. Institutions part 2: political incentives9. Institutions part 3: global incuriosityWhat’s not on the list are union costs, since in the first paragraph the author links to several essays he’s written debunking that talking point among others (see here and here in particular).I am going to put this in bold and hopefully skip this particular comment: according to this analyst, unions aren’t why subway construction costs so much in the US and Canada.Anyway, I liked the global overview of building transit. I also liked what it mentioned of Spanish innovations in transit building, specifically where contracts aren’t just awarded based on the lowest bid, but instead also scores the proposal by construction speed and technical points, which would ameliorate the practice of cutting corners that come back later to bite you in the ass.The second Spanish innovation I liked was that design and construction are split. The article says that it stops the construction team from being religiously devoted to the original design and leaving them free to make small changes, but in my opinion it also stops the design team from padding the design since it doesn’t matter how many frills and gewgaws they put in the plans, they’re not going to build it so they’re not going to get paid more.Anyway, this is some dorky infrastructure shit to pore over this Saturday morning but I think it’s interesting for what it is. via /r/toronto

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