Time and money will be wasted

This weekend 80 to 100 coders will join others at the Seattle Hack The Commute Hackathon. The one thing I can guarantee that will happen is time and money will be wasted. Some might say I am being negative, but I firmly believe there is no software that can solve the commute and traffic problems that Seattle is experiencing. How much money? Well, 100 coders who command an average rate of $100 will blow through $160,000 in (free) labor across 2 8 hour days.

Let’s be clear, the problem is not construction, the problem is too many people want to drive private and often single occupancy vehicles to and from work in the central business district.  The problem is also that there are not sufficient fast and convenient public transit options.  Software cannot solve these two problems.  We need to fund more transit options and create serious disincentives for people to drive SOVs into the CBD every day.

Here is my free advice: make parking cost a minimum of $25/day in the CBD. That will modify behavior. Pass a transit package that will increase frequency and reliability of mass transit. Build more mass transit with dedicate, grade separated right-of-way.

We don’t need more hackathons with largely homogeneous groups of coders and tech people trying to solve problems with software that actually require policy solutions.

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