Robert Brodnax 2013 LDC Fellow Robert Brodnax, New Zealand Transport Agency Regional Manager, Planning and Investment, in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region will be writing about his research and study trip to the United States and United Kingdom.

Apr 19, 2013

Well this is interesting. Boston is in lockdown, a manhunt underway, bombs stashed in various locations and the last day of our course all but cancelled. Media frantically speculating about what is going on to enable them to provide continuous coverage. All a bit frustrating.

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Apr 16, 2013

Today was day three of the negotiation training, an intense all day negotiation which has left us all a bit wrung out - lots of fun playing different roles and getting really invested in them.

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Apr 15, 2013

Well, that was a day of drama. As you will know I am in Boston now. Because one of the bombs was in the JFK library in downtown Boston, the local police decided it best to also close the JFK School of Government where I am studying, despite it being a 15 minute drive from the centre of town. Our afternoon's lectures were cancelled - lots of black SUVs and ambulances racing around with sirens on but not much else to see. I spent the evening with a bunch of Australian diplomats and UN officials taking our American colleagues minds off the day’s events; a fascinating conversation.

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Apr 14, 2013

I have arrived at Harvard for the next week of structured training at the Kennedy School of Government. This time, instead of a room the size of a railway sleeper carriage room we have large but basic two bedroom apartments. My roommate describes himself as a transport investment lobbyist working primarily in the US on behalf of provincial interests in China to broker investments both in and for China. You can see that they put some real thought into who shares with whom. We have only had a short chat so far but I can see more to come.

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Apr 12, 2013

I am behind in my blogs but will ‘keep the faith’ and try to catch up. This blog follows a weekend in Bath and my day with the Highways Agency in Bedford. In this period I travelled from Cambridge to Leicester and then York. I am now comfortable navigating the A, B and C roads of England having taken a broad sample of the network in my travels from Poole to Bath to Cambridge to York with a few tourist sites included over the weekend.

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Apr 9, 2013

My apologies for the delays with these blogs. I am now three days behind schedule. Between travel and full days of meetings I am finding it hard to find time to do justice to the conversations I am having when I finally return home in the evenings.

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Apr 8, 2013

With my nomadic lifestyle, I have fallen a little behind on the blog - my apologies to you readers. My life has been further complicated by only intermittent access to a charger for my iPad due to the loss, somewhere in our luggage, of the UK adapter - I have a French one, an American one but no UK one.

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Apr 4, 2013

After a brief holiday in Paris over Easter we returned to freezing England on Wednesday. Our travels take us away from London to visit practitioners in the rest of England, so much of my time is now spent navigating the highways and byways of England.

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Mar 31, 2013

While I am taking Easter to visit Paris, I did have the chance to visit an amazing new environmental education initiative at Docklands, London, on Good Friday. Siemens (a major supplier of IT, engineering and infrastructure services) has created ‘The Crystal’ at Greenwich.

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Mar 28, 2013

It’s the end of two days of intensive interviews with representatives of the Society of Local Government Chief Executives, Department for Transport, Institute for Collaborative Working, Network Rail and FIRSTGroup plc (a private sector public transport operator). To be honest, my brain is spinning a bit at the moment.

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Mar 27, 2013

Today was an intense day of interviews. I started the morning with Eleanor Rowe and Dr Michael Harris from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), talking about their experiences with geospatial planning tools and how they're used in the UK.

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Mar 25, 2013

Today was the first day of interviews and navigating the underground system. I made a few mistakes - missed my stop once and failed to recharge my Oyster card correctly, much to the amusement of you Aucklanders and Wellingtonians I expect.

I had two interviews today - one out at Kew Gardens with Nick Fleming from BSI group (the equivalent of Standards New Zealand) and another in town with Garrett Emerson, the Director of the Surface Transport and Streets Division of Transport for London (TFL).

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Mar 24, 2013

The weekend is coming to an end now in London. The snow has followed me across the Atlantic - two days of snow and London is way colder than Boston (even if the snow hasn't stuck around). It is a good reminder that damp plus cold is way worse than dry and cold!

Professor Tushman at Harvard nailed his big reveal on the last day. My blog sized summary of the sound bites I have taken away from this fantastic course are:

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Mar 21, 2013

I am sitting here in our tiny little rooms (5m by 2.5m including single bed, work desk, full bathroom and chair) watching lovely light flurries of snow fall past my window onto the snow covered courtyard outside. If you lived in a place like this you would quickly take up cross country skiing instead of jogging - the entire town of Cambridge has been covered in about 15cm of snow all week and when running along the river in the evenings you periodically have to pad through the snow. The locals look at you a bit oddly - they use the indoor running track at the University.

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Mar 20, 2013

Today was one of those slower days in a course where you can see that the lecturers are building to a big finale the day after next. We covered:

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Mar 19, 2013

Heavy snow overnight blanketed the campus in about 20cm of snow. My icebreaker gear and new boots earned much praise from our Australian cousins - once a New Zealand tramper, always a New Zealand tramper I suppose.

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Mar 18, 2013

Today was the first full day of lectures and working group sessions. Our case studies were eclectic in their range:

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Mar 17, 2013

Day one of the Fellowship and I seem to have been travelling forever. Having left New Zealand on Saturday 16th March at 9.50pm I finally arrived in Boston at 6.00am on Sunday 17 March; 17 hours of flying and seven hours of stopover in Los Angeles. The only real shock to the body has been the two degree Celsius high today and the forecast for four inches of snow on Tuesday.

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