What We Are Learning » Lessons for the future

Doing research/ infrastructure projects

Normally projects that involve big infrastructure changes do not have much research done on them when they are finished. What tends to happen is the project gets completed and then everyone walks away and onto the next thing.

Te Ara Mua – Future Streets had a very different approach. Researchers were involved throughout the project: before it started, during the design and consultation, during the build, and now after it has been finished.

Having researchers involved has two key benefits for ongoing lessons. The first you can see throughout this website – we are learning how the street changes influence how people get around. The second benefit is more subtle and behind-the-scenes.

By having researchers involved from the very start, we have been able to better understand how and why decisions are made at a high level – like in the government, in councils, and in Auckland Transport and NZTA. Over the years of this project we have learned that some of the embedded ways of doing things in these organisations can affect the way that projects are ultimately delivered. We have learnt that this wasn’t just a problem for Future Streets, but is a wider problem in New Zealand, and around the world.

We have written four key articles about these issues. You can access them below.
Understanding the system failure at the Massey Road crossing
Knowledge exchange
The sociotechnical system and Future Streets
Barriers and opportunities within the sociotechnical system in New Zealand (pages 13-16)