Working in the NZTA must be like stepping back into public service prehistory. The tea lady brings the tea trolley round twice a day with a big pot of tea and a packet of Chocolate Wheatens. The boffins in the basement have just taken delivery of a very large crate containing the agency’s first-ever computer. It’s a hot day in the drafting office, and a particularly daring young man is wondering whether he could get away with ditching his long trousers and wearing walk shorts, long socks and sandals to work.
OK, it’s probably not like that at all. It’s probably all iPads and change management consultants. But whatever the internal culture, NZTA’s transport thinking remains resolutely stuck in the 1950s and 1960s, when the solution to every problem was another flyover.The rest of the world has moved on:
- Freeway removal, including flyover removal, now has its own Wikipedia page, with examples from round the world.
- In Leicestershire, business interests are behind calls for the removal of a flyover that one civic leader described as an “unwanted colossus [that] needs removing as soon as possible”.
- Popular economics site Freakonomics looks at studies that show how demolishing freeways and flyovers can reduce congestion, while building flyovers and freeways increases congestion.
But meanwhile, in the NZTA offices, the wall-mounted clock ticks down to leaving time at 5 p.m. sharp, the carbon paper is in triplicate, and transport thinking remains stuck in a wasteful, expensive and outmoded past.