Spain achieves low infrastructure construction costs in part by setting its regulations as well as internal oversight and procurement to maximize the speed of decisions.

Writes Alon Levy, revealing a fascinating way to reduce public sector project costs in his piece on The Private Sector’s Role in Transit Innovation.

Done is better than good.

A maxim he shares that I never heard before reminds me of Simple, correct, fast: in that order, something I definitely agree with when it comes to software development. This is also a lot easier for transit and infrastructure if you follow another slogan I learned from Alon, Organisation vor Elektronik vor Beto.

And of course, as a former public sector worker, everything Alon says about hiring in his piece is painfully familiar.

General indifference within HR to applicants. A Boston resident was offered a job at the MTA that required residence within New York City; as the potential hire had a partner who worked in Albany, they proposed that they should live in Poughkeepsie and the MTA hire would commute by Metro-North. HR required them to file forms stating their exact address in Poughkeepsie, never mind that they still needed to find an apartment in the area and had no reason to do so without a written job offer. The applicant was unhired and the position remained unfilled for years.

Although, I disagree with Alon’s seeming suggestion that transit agencies are best led by PhD engineers and whiteboard exercises are good hiring practices.