Fascinating and face-palm-worthy article on MTA’s haphazard attempts to wrangle 1930s-era subway technology into the 21st century.
The MTA has a thankless and extremely difficult job: They have to keep the trains running. They have to do it with equipment from the 1930s, in a hostile funding environment, as administrations come and go, as public interest comes and goes, in the face of storms and accidents and pieces of aluminum foil. This they manage to do. 1.6 billion people every year take the New York subway. The system carries more than 60 percent of all people coming into Manhattan every day. It is, for the most part, safe, affordable, and there.
But still, a reasonable person looking at three projects that aim to do roughly the same thing, projects that have different teams and different agendas and seem to take, always, five years longer than planned and seem to cost, always, hundreds of millions of dollars—well, this person has to wonder whether there’s some law of the universe that makes large government software projects an expensive drag or whether in fact there’s a better way.
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