How Accurate Are California's HSR Ridership Figures?

When she read over the ridership estimates behind California's HSR plans, Elizabeth Alexis was expecting to have "obscure arguments over the standard deviations," but instead found glaringly obvious "math" mistakes.
July 23, 2010, 5am PDT | George Haugh
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Martina Castro and Nathanael Johnson examine California's drive to construct the nations first high speed rail line.

The state senate ordered a second independent review led by a team at UC Berkely. It found major errors in the original report of more than plus or minus 50%. Sameer Mandanat reminds us that while "travel demand models are useful but always have to be taken with a grain of salt." The fact that these estimates have been used as accurate figures by politicians and planners has become problematic.

Bent Flyvbjerg a leading academic at Oxford University's BT Centre for Major Programme Management suggests "there needs to be a study of whether the decision is biased. Meaning whether it's optimistic or whether there is strategic misrepresentation."

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Published on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 in San Francisco Chronicle
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