Planning: Just Some Ivory Tower Thing


It’s an interesting intellectual exercise, all this thinking about what might happen in the future and how we might get some project done. But does it really impact my life? How does effective or ineffective planning impact us on an individual basis?

Well, let’s ponder that question by looking at road construction and traffic. I’m from Chicago, which Forbes Magazine recently ranked as number 10 in terms of having the worst commuter traffic in the US. I no longer have a commute, because I moved close to the office, and I don’t miss it. The hours I spent on the road getting to work and getting home each day took a toll (pun intended).

The worst days for me happened when construction crews were behind schedule and did not open lanes closed for the previous night’s work before rush hour started. With close to half a million cars driving to downtown Chicago every day, a delay of just half an hour translates into 122 full-time work years of lost productivity. I know – I doubted the math as well! Let me show you how I calculated this number.

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