Sic Transit Pittsburgh

While I've been focused on my day job this week, Chris Briem tackled the Post-Gazette's comic book solution to the Port Authority's budget problems. (Part One, and Part Two.)

Chris has tools at his disposal that I don't, so while I generally agree with his observations, I have only one point to add: A hub-and-spoke transit system is potentially efficient, especially if transit users behave perfectly rationally -- and potentially disastrous -- despite perfectly rational behavior. Put the hubs in the wrong places, and you have catastrophe. Even if you put the hubs in the right places, the smallest errors or disruptions can have system-wide effects. Ask anyone who had to fly through Chicago or Atlanta during the peak of the hub-and-spoke era of airline deregulation.

And, of course, one or two Pittsburghers fail to act rationally. From time to time.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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