9 Apr 2012

Why planners fail

Imagine an area where you are allowed to drive as slow or fast as you want, depending on the circumstances. That area may look like this.

Now imagine that there's a speed limit in the area. Does this mean that you will drive faster than before (more dangerous) or slower than before (more bored)? Either one is worse that driving your "natural" speed. And what's the goal anyway? A certain speed or safety? Some rules are useful for helping drivers work together (stop signals, side of road to drive one), but others are just in the way (and thus often ignored, except when it comes to meeting ticket quotas).

Bottom Line: The problem with planners is that they cannot be as flexible or accurate as individuals making their own choices when those choices do not affect each other or can be coordinated at a low cost.