Friday, September 23, 2005

Teleconferencing Has Saved VDOT $11 Million

The Virginia Department of Transportation has saved $11.3 million in avoided time and travel costs for meeting by conducting them through teleconferencing rather than in person, according to an article in Shenandoah.com. In the last four years, the agency has invested about $1 million in videoconferencing technology expansions and upgrades. In fiscal year 2005 alone, 798 videoconferences were held, encompassing 2,486 hours of meetings.

It's interesting that the agency responsible for buiding and maintaining roads is the leader in state government for using teleconferencing to avoid using--and congesting--those roads. Maybe it's an example worth emulating.

3 Comments:

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Communications can replace transportation in many, but certainly not all, situations. It should be encouraged.

Moreover, elementary network theory teaches that, in order to avoid network overloading, one must build one's network to meet the needs of the busiest time period. However, it is often less expensive to shift demand from the busy hour to some other time period or to some other network. This applies to transportation as well.

Virginia doesn't need to move everyone from its roads to fiber for their to be a huge benefit to everyone, except, of course, those who make money from building roads or having roads built by their landholdings. Also, the same amount of money spent on increasing the capacity and availability of broadband connections would purchase more relief than spending the same amount of money on concrete and asphalt.

Virginia should grab the low-hanging fruit before it spends billions and billions on more roads. Addressing demand will reduce the amount of additional road capacity that needs to be built. The choice is not between fiber optics and broadband wireless on one side and road building on the other. We will need more road capacity with expanded communications, but not as much. How can that not be in the public interest?

 
At 6:43 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Anonymous:

That was brilliantly said. Why hide your light under a bushel?

"Virginia doesn't need to move everyone from its roads to fiber for their to be a huge benefit to everyone..."

Exactly right. A three percent reduction in demand could easily equate to a 10% decrease in congestion: Queueing therory 101.

"...except, of course, those who make money from building roads or having roads built by their landholdings" Here I beg to differ. This is not a given. I'm sure I'm not the only person in the state who has actually lost money by having a road built through my landholdings.

"We will need more road capacity with expanded communications, but not as much." Right on.

"...the same amount of money spent on increasing the capacity and availability of broadband connections would purchase more relief than spending the same amount of money on concrete and asphalt." Right on, again.

But I'll say again, teleconferencing, telecommuting, and telemarketing has some limit to its value. It is not very useful in construction, transportation, retail, and manufacturing; except to the extent that communication is part of those functions.

In order for profit to occur, sooner of later, someone is going to have to tke something on the road,

 
At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray Hyde: I'm glad we are finding some common ground.

I periodically do some work for some NoVA developers that do want roads built where they own land. It's not a major part of my income stream, but I fear repercussions as a result of full candor.

 

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