9 Construction Projects That Broke the Bank
Large and sophisticated construction projects have a tendency to go over-budget and to sometimes stall indefinitely. However, there have been some that have disappointed more than others. Today’s infographic covers some of the most notorious construction projects that quadrupled in cost, become obsolete, or were downright botched.
For good reference before reading this list, it may be worth checking out this previous infographic: Top 10 Civil Engineering Projects of All-Time.
10 Construction Projects that Broke the Bank
1. Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang (North Korea)
Construction began in 1987 and stopped in 1992 after North Korea spent as much as 2 percent of its GDP on the project and funding dried up.
2. Montreal-Mirabel Airport (Canada)
After $1 billion and five years of construction, this airport was hoped to take 50 million passengers a year. Instead it took 2.8 million, and ended up becoming a testing and cargo airport.
3. Millennium Dome, London (United Kingdom)
Costing $1.1 billion, ticket sales for attractions were well below expectations. The dome’s operator only made $275 million in revenues and were accused of fraud by vendors and suppliers.
4. Burj Khalifa, Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
The construction of the world’s tallest building coincided with the global financial crisis. Taking six years and costing $1.5 billion, Dubai had to borrow money from Abu Dhabi to complete it and the majority of residencies remain vacant.
5. Strait of Messina Bridge (Italy)
This 3.3 km bridge was expected to link Sicily to the Italian mainland. In 2013, it was discontinued because of lack of funds, and concerns that money would go to the Sicilian and Calabrian mafias.
6. Mose Project, Venice (Italy)
This project hopes to prevent Venice from sinking deeper into the lagoon on which the city is located. $7 billion has been spent to date, but it has been hampered with delays because of Italy’s economic condition.
7. The Channel Tunnel (UK and France)
50km long, underneath the English Channel, the Channel Tunnel continues to be a heavy financial toll. The rail link connecting London to the British side of the Channel opened, costing $13.8 billion, the most expensive individual construction effort in the country’s history.
8. The Big Dig, Boston (United States)
The original cost estimate for the Big Dig, an underground road of eight to ten lanes, was expected to be $2.6 billion. Now it is expected that with interest, the total cost will come to $22 billion.
9. The International Space Station (Space!)
Costing over $100 billion over 13 years, the space station is the most expensive science project ever attempted. Critics suggest that the money could have better spent on robotic spacecraft missions or space exploration.
Original graphic from: Gutter Masters
Every Mission to Mars in One Visualization
This graphic shows a timeline of every mission to Mars since 1960, highlighting which ones have been successful and which ones haven’t.
Timeline: A Historical Look at Every Mission to Mars
Within our Solar System, Mars is one of the most similar planets to Earth—both have rocky landscapes, solid outer crusts, and cores made of molten rock.
Because of its similarities to Earth and proximity, humanity has been fascinated by Mars for centuries. In fact, it’s one of the most explored objects in our Solar System.
But just how many missions to Mars have we embarked on, and which of these journeys have been successful? This graphic by Jonathan Letourneau shows a timeline of every mission to Mars since 1960 using NASA’s historical data.
A Timeline of Mars Explorations
According to a historical log from NASA, there have been 48 missions to Mars over the last 60 years. Here’s a breakdown of each mission, and whether or not they were successful:
|1||1960||Korabl 4||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|2||1960||Korabl 5||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|3||1962||Korabl 11||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|4||1962||Mars 1||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|5||1962||Korabl 13||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|6||1964||Mariner 3||US (flyby)||Failure|
|7||1964||Mariner 4||US (flyby)||Success|
|8||1964||Zond 2||USSR (flyby)||Failure|
|11||1969||Mariner 6||US (flyby)||Success|
|12||1969||Mariner 7||US (flyby)||Success|
|15||1971||Mars 2 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Failure|
|16||1971||Mars 3 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Success/Failure|
|20||1973||Mars 6 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Success/Failure|
|21||1973||Mars 7 Lander||USSR||Failure|
|22||1975||Viking 1 Orbiter/Lander||US||Success|
|23||1975||Viking 2 Orbiter/Lander||US||Success|
|24||1988||Phobos 1 Orbiter||USSR||Failure|
|25||1988||Phobos 2 Orbiter/Lander||USSR||Failure|
|27||1996||Mars Global Surveyor||US||Success|
|31||1998||Mars Climate Orbiter||US||Failure|
|32||1999||Mars Polar Lander||US||Failure|
|33||1999||Deep Space 2 Probes (2)||US||Failure|
|35||2003||Mars Express Orbiter/Beagle 2 Lander||ESA||Success/Failure|
|36||2003||Mars Exploration Rover - Spirit||US||Success|
|37||2003||Mars Exploration Rover - Opportunity||US||Success|
|38||2005||Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter||US||Success|
|39||2007||Phoenix Mars Lander||US||Success|
|40||2011||Mars Science Laboratory||US||Success|
|42||2013||Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution||US||Success|
|43||2013||Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)||India||Success|
|44||2016||ExoMars Orbiter/Schiaparelli EDL Demo Lander||ESA/Russia||Success/Failure|
|45||2018||Mars InSight Lander||US||Success|
|47||2020||Tianwen-1 Orbiter/Zhurong Rover||China||Success|
|48||2020||Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover||US||Success|
The first mission to Mars was attempted by the Soviets in 1960, with the launch of Korabl 4, also known as Mars 1960A.
As the table above shows, the voyage was unsuccessful. The spacecraft made it 120 km into the air, but its third-stage pumps didn’t generate enough momentum for it to stay in Earth’s orbit.
For the next few years, several more unsuccessful Mars missions were attempted by the USSR and then NASA. Then, in 1964, history was made when NASA launched the Mariner 4 and completed the first-ever successful trip to Mars.
The Mariner 4 didn’t actually land on the planet, but the spacecraft flew by Mars and was able to capture photos, which gave us an up-close glimpse at the planet’s rocky surface.
Then on July 20, 1976, NASA made history again when its spacecraft called Viking 1 touched down on Mars’ surface, making it the first space agency to complete a successful Mars landing. Viking 1 captured panoramic images of the planet’s terrain, and also enabled scientists to monitor the planet’s weather.
Vacation to Mars, Anyone?
To date, all Mars landings have been done without crews, but NASA is planning to send humans to Mars by the late 2030s.
And it’s not just government agencies that are planning missions to Mars—a number of private companies are getting involved, too. Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX has a long-term plan to build an entire city on Mars.
Two other aerospace startups, Impulse and Relativity, also announced an unmanned joint mission to Mars in July 2022, with hopes it could be ready as soon as 2024.
As more players are added to the mix, the pressure is on to be the first company or agency to truly make it to Mars. If (or when) we reach that point, what’s next is anyone’s guess.
Brand Loyalty is Declining for Most Luxury Automakers
Brand loyalty has declined for most luxury automakers, but three brands—Tesla, Maserati, and Genesis—appear to have bucked the trend.
Brand Loyalty is Declining for Most Luxury Automakers
New research conducted by S&P Global Mobility has found that brand loyalty—measured as the percentage of buyers that go back to the same brand for their next vehicle—is falling across the luxury segment.
In this infographic, we’ve visualized the results of this research, which spans from January 2020 to April 2022.
Brand Loyalty Losers
The following brands have all experienced a drop in brand loyalty over the time period.
For additional context, we’ve also included each brand’s score in the J.D. Power 2022 Initial Quality Study. This is measured based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) in the first 90 days of ownership.
|Brand||Percentage Point Change|
in Brand Loyalty
|🇬🇧 Land Rover||-9.2||193|
|🇮🇹 Alfa Romeo||-6.6||211|
Land Rover experienced the biggest drop in loyalty, despite a better than average PP100 rating. One potential reason is timing—the brand’s premier model, the Range Rover, has been in its fourth generation since 2012. The SUV has become relatively dated, though a new fifth generation was recently revealed for the 2022 model year.
Two Volkswagen Group brands, Audi and Porsche, also fared poorly in terms of loyalty. This is somewhat surprising, as both brands offer a portfolio of both gasoline and electric models. Many competitors, such as Acura, Lexus, and Maserati, have yet to release an EV.
Brand Loyalty Winners
Three brands have managed to buck the trend, as shown below.
|Brand||Percentage Point Change|
in Brand Loyalty
We can draw parallels between Tesla and Apple, in that both have incredibly loyal followers.
For instance, between March 2021 to April 2022, 62% of buyers/households who returned to market and previously owned a Model 3 purchased a new Tesla. That’s an impressive statistic, especially when we consider Tesla’s history of build quality issues.
Maserati appears to be in the same boat. The Italian automaker has strengthened its brand loyalty by 4.3 percentage points, despite having the luxury segment’s worst PP100. Perhaps build quality matters less than we think.
Another Factor to Consider
Ongoing supply chain issues could also be contributing to wide-spread declines in loyalty. Rather than waiting several months (or in the case of EVs, years), buyers may switch to a different brand that has cars in stock.
We are still monitoring it week to week, but up to now basically worldwide, we had no issues running production.
– Joerg Burzer, Mercedes-Benz
Many automakers have reported that their supply issues are diminishing, though new economic challenges have risen. For example, surging inflation has pushed the price of a new car to record highs. Combined with rising interest rates (cost of borrowing), this could negatively impact the demand for new cars.
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