“The story of how it could take 28 years to install clocks that tell you when the damn trains are coming turns out not to be about some dinosaur fixed-block signaling system and the gleaming new technology here to replace it. It’s simpler than that: It’s the story of a large organization’s first encounter with a large software project.”
If you wanted a snapshot of every problem a bloated government agency could have, here it is: necessary modernization held back by unions that won’t trade hours for a system that works; contracts bloated by greed and political posturing; intentional inefficiencies introduced into the system so as not to “kill the job”; spending hundreds of millions to create duplicate systems; and more.
At one point, the reporter says it will take 175 years before the whole MTA signaling system–which is early-20th century vintage now–will replaced. 175 years! That would be like a major transportation infrastructure in our largest city today relying on technology from 1840!