For anything in life, it is necessary to have a purpose, a direction, a gameplan. Without it, one is lost and fumbling through the brush, making no or inefficient progress. Therefore, it is only fitting to create one as the first post. Otherwise, the content would be lost (and this would not be a very good transportation blog).
The reason I am writing this as my first post is because I have learned the hard way, that when you do not have a purpose, you almost always fail. I was bitten by this “purpose bug” when I screwed up as a software developer in grad school. I had spent a few weeks developing a code for my professor. I was trying to create a macro for his traffic simulation software that would allow the efficient coding of transit networks. After I had created it and given him the bill (I was also an independent contractor for him at the time), he looked at me and asked, “Why do I need this? What need does it solve? Can I use this in the future?”
This took me back, and I was initially a little offended. “Why do I need this?” Why not?! It is a better way to do data entry. Now that I spent 3 weeks coding this, I can enter in all my data at twice the speed! I solved a problem, coded it, and now I can use it. However, after we discussed this it opened my eyes: what bigger problem was I trying to solve? Could this be used in the future? What I forgot to do was figure out the purpose of my coding. I just started writing code and hoped the end would come. This caused 3 weeks of work to be wasted (fortunately, I was still paid).
Now, back to the original intent of this post: the purpose. The purpose of this blog is a selfish one: to record my nonsensical ramblings about transportation, which is a topic I hold near and dear to my heart. I have been in the transportation field for less than a decade at the moment, but it has been on my mind constantly. This purpose has taken a few weeks of soul-searching to decide exactly why (and what) I would like to contribute to the blogosphere. My goal with this is not to preach, teach, or denounce the hard-working professionals or the transportation industry at all, and I know some of my future posts might seem like this.
So, with this poorly written (nay, “engineeringly written”) first post I hope that I can record my thoughts/experiences/observations on something that affects our daily lives.