Facebook has failed in efforts to revive a historic railway bridge to relieve traffic congestion near its offices. Nevertheless, it is the current major obstacle confronting forward-thinking internet giants as they attempt to solve transportation problems.
After acquiring Instagram and Whatsapp, the social media corporation intended to restore the Dumbarton Rail Bridge, a disused railway across San Francisco Bay, increasing employee headcount nearly tenfold in six years, from 3,200 in 2011 to over 25,000 by 2017.
The initiative was launched to boost Facebook’s property portfolio by reviving a 40-year-old railway and converting it into a travel-time public transit system. In addition, it was meant to help with the growing traffic to the company’s headquarters.
“We felt we had an obligation not just to be proper stewards of the community we manage online digitally,” said Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s former vice president of communications and public policy.
“But we had some responsibility to be good stewards of the community where we had a physical presence.”
According to The New York Times, which published a detailed investigation into the failed initiative on Saturday, the $20 million project was started in 2017 and abandoned in 2020 owing to political obstacles and COVID-19 challenges.
“I was heartbroken,” Warren Slocum, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, who was heavily involved in the project on the community side, told the NYT.
“I understood some of the business reasons, but heartbroken nonetheless.