The absense of such a body, which would operate to an agreed agenda and establish spending priorities, means the many agencies involved in Dublin transport continue to operate in isolation. As far as the tunnel is concerned, it seems there has never really been any widely agreed and accepted consensus about its expected role and contribution, and about how it would mesh with traffic flows and other transport projects in the greater Dublin area. The result is that it now seems to be creating as many problems as it solves, and all these problems have costly solutions.
But while I accept the desire, for a singular, cohesive body, which would provide all of the above, I am not sure, she has the form of this idea right. I mean, I think there is some intangible element, some collective coming together of minds, which is really important to have - as I said, the closest I can come to it, is better communication, between disiplines who have virtually drawn boundaries around themselves. The work and effort, to break down those barriers, might be just enough, and better than this one, cohesive, United Nations, kind of idea. Down below, I have quoted a piece about Linux Torvalds, bridging the gap, that exists, between hardware and software, in computers. But this quote from Charles Landry, on the RTE radio talk show series, is worth posting up, to put it in context.
City making is a complex art, involving many disiplines, both soft and hard.
The monopolies, [who design the cities currently] as the urban act unfolds, only deal with the bones and skeleton, rather than the blood and tissue.
Highway engineers - unusually with bad guidelines and criteria, define how cities work.
Adapt and re-shape cities to suit the needs of the car.
People who understand psychology are not around the table.
I always like to compare the art of making cities, with the process of making IT infrastructures, and there, a similar need for communication exists. What both Charles and Olivia have highlighted above, is like in the computer scene, where different companies value their own Intellectual Property. Because, that property, makes up a large part of their capital, wealth and importance. I wouldn't blame the various agencies, involved with transport planning, for wanting to keep their own Intellectual Property. That way, it can remain pure and undiluted by other external interests. There is something to be said for that. There is also something to be said for the mixture of different interests, but I think definition of things is needed. I am not even sure, what powers, a central transportation body, could have to go into the various agencies and extract that intellectual property - they probably wouldn't even recognise the wheat from the chaff.
The open source movement in computer software, is about sharing intellectual property, in a way that can benefit everyone, and enable you, to build much better infrastructures. As Linus Torvalds claims he is not interested in open source software, as a means to making 'free software'. But that the open source development model, represents the best way to engineer good solutions, for complex problems. I think, this movement in computing, provides a much better model, for how to go about transportation planning, and coordination of different transport agencies, than the way, that Olivia suggests above. Which was a United Nations council to gather information from the various ajencies. If you look at the United Nations today, it is often high-jacked for use as a propaganda platform. Krushev, hammering a table with his shoe springs to mind. Below, is a quote, from 'Rebel Code'.
Brian O' Hanlon
Linus then went on to make an important point. The Transmeta platform is 'also a very cool vehicle for doing debugging,' he said, because 'when you control the whole chip, there are lots of interesting things that can be done.' That is, because the x86 processor was created by Transmeta's new Code Morphing Software - which he helped to write - Linus was able to get inside the processor and examine and even hack around with the way the Intel family worked; this was a powerful and unprecedented mechanism for software designers.
Even Ditzel had underplayed this aspect, limiting himself to an interesting anecdote. It concerned a Transmeta customer in Japan who needed a bug fixed in the processor itself (chips are in some ways just software that has been turned into silicon and need to be debugged like programs). 'Normally,' Ditzel explained, 'to get a new CPU [processor chips] would take weeks of fabrication time, testing, and shipping it to them.' The design of the chip would have to be modifed, and then new realisations in silicon produced, tested, and sent out ot Japan by air.
'What Transmeta did was to send them a new CPU over the Internet. In fact, we simply e-mailed it to them,' Ditzel explained. This was possible because bugs in the silicon could be worked around by modifying the Code Morphing Software. Sending updates to the Code Morphying Software was as simple as sending a patch to any piece of software. 'Crusoe is the only CPU that is software-upgradeable over the Intenet,' he went on.
This was the real innovation of Transmeta: The company had managed to turn the closed, black-box chip of Intel into a hackable piece of technology. It was half way to producing a chip that could be changed at will; it would need only to release the source-code to the Code Morphing Software and anyone could reprogram the chip - in just the same way that anyone could reprogram the Linux kernel to suit a particular need.
Not that Transmeta was contemplating such as step. One of the ironies of Linus's move to Silicon Valley was that it saw him working for a hypersecretive company that produced close-source products. The point was that it had come up with a radically new approach that included what might be called the open-source chip as a possibility.