I finished one job recently, and I’m starting another one soon. Which left me in need of a break and with some annual leave left to take, so I decided to take a holiday. 🏖

The world being the way it is at the moment, COVID-related restrictions were a big part of me deciding where to go. I restricted myself to places with:

  • No need to self-isolate when I got there
  • No need to self-isolate when I got back
  • Fairly low case numbers (<50 per 100,000 in last 7 days)
  • Ability to actually do something when I’m there

At the…

Originally published on Observable in Febuary 2020 — I’m just consolidating my blog posts in one place.

Sleeper trains are a very time-efficient way of getting from place to place. They’re gaining in popularity in the context of the climate emergency, especially amongst those who want to reduce their carbon footprint. But they tend to be substantially slower than high-speed daytime services on similar routes.

I’ll aim to find out whether there are opportunities for new high-speed sleeper services to play a part in rail mobility across Europe.


The expansion of high speed rail in many regions of the world…

A lot of my work over the last couple of years working on public digital services has touched on decisions about the best way to deliver some ‘thing’. Lots of questions come up, like ‘should we build or buy?’, ‘do we have the capability to run this ourselves or do we need a supplier to do it?’, ‘X has a product that could do 50%/80%/100% of that, should we just use that?’. …

Tl;dr: I intended to fly less in 2020 than I did in 2019. I did fly less, but not in quite the way that I’d hoped.

I ended 2019 having flown more flights than I’d ever flown in a single year before — a total of 19. I know this because I’m a nerd and keep track of this stuff (in this case, on myFlightradar24). I’d become increasingly less comfortable with this record — surveys suggest that 85% of the UK’s population take 2 or fewer flights in a year, so that figure placed me way on the upper end…

At work this week, my colleague MJP was doing a discovery on transport ticketing, and it got me thinking about how the concept of the ‘best value ticket’ for a transport journey is really hard to define.

Lots of the assumptions you might think are true about transport tickets, that might look like handy shortcuts when trying to show someone the cheapest possible ticket for their journey, aren’t always true. So I figured I’d write one of those posts like Falsehoods programmers believe about names, addresses, time, phone numbers, etc. …

Most public services and public policies involve some level of competition between different outcomes — whether economic, social and environmental — or creating a model that simply allows a particular service to exist. Those who design policy have to make tradeoffs between different outcomes all the time.

Sometimes these discussions can become really confusing. If someone’s looking to make a decision on a project, there are always financial elements to be considered — and rightly so, when public money is at stake. Perhaps someone has heard that public services ought to be “more commercial” — and attempted to apply an…

Keelan Fadden-Hopper

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