THE SOLUTION TO THE TRAFFIC CONGESTION
DECEMBER 1st 2006
Now we have the Eddington Report,
commissioned by the government, delivered 9 months late. It is so
lacking in imagination one wonders how this guy ever became a company
director, let alone chief of British Airways. The Barker
Review of Land Use Planning is of more interest. It is important to
understand that our planning 'culture' is what influences where people
build, where they work, where they live and how they travel. To sort
out the mess we have to sort out the planning culture and then in 20-50
years time we might see people not having to travel so often, so far.
Meantime here is the James Baring
Report. It took about as long to write as it will take you to
read, so of course there is stuff left out.
If we take, as the starting point,
our economy, that is the competitive commercial operations of UK
plc in a global context, requires a level of transport that is likely
to grow rather than shrink, then we need to deal with these three
1. To facilitate necessary transport
by all means possible and avoid congestion inefficiency and waste
2. To urgently reduce the adverse
environmental effects of transport, which are already excessive and
need to be reduced
3. To reconcile the above demands in a
single coherent set of simultaneous solutions.
This can be done by:
way to achieve the above is by:
the overall energy used per traveller,
the total Carbon and other pollutants emitted,
the congestion which causes increased cost, delays and inefficiency
inessential and frivolous use of transport
as a long term policy, the reliance on transport-dependent economic
changing commuting practices so as to reduce the Rush Hour effect.
Congestion Charges in urban areas so as to split users who can choose
to select different days to travel on non-regular, optional trips, and
give them incentives to travel at off-peak times and on alternate days.
that vehicles, whether cars, trains, buses or other, have incentives to
travel with few empty seats.
the same time, use the same means to ensure that demand for seats does
not exceed supply.
alternative power plants, both mobile and fixed-generating, to reduce
both CO2 output and energy waste.
and introducing railway carriages for secure bicycle and luggage
attention to the all-weather needs of all travellers.
all the railway lines Beeching closed and converting them to Coach Only
Roads with special everlasting surface and automatic control for
driving in poor visibility. (added later, sorry, left that out)
As for travellers, they are already paying pollution charges and
congestion charges in the form of fuel tax. These should only
be added too in a way that allows people to avoid the increases and by
so doing still reach their necessary destination.
That means setting up the on-the-fly
carshare system I have suggested years ago, and others, and applying
differential stick and carrot congestion charging on roads, which again
will allow travellers to chop and choose to save time, money and
Trains must immediately be equipped
with bicycle storage areas, as they should have been always. Since this
is now retrospective these will have to be special carriages made for
bicycles and luggage, with secure storage operated by an Oyster type
card or other simple means.
Add some of the obvious things in the Eddington Report that anyone
could have spotted and that's it.
report, delivered on half a page in 5 minutes at no cost to the tax
payer. The way to implement it is not rocket science. The Eddington
Report is a waste of time and money.
You can read the Eddington Report
by downloading megabytes of guff via the PDF links on
Or if you can't be bothered (and I
don't blame you) here's a quick summary from the Beeb
Motorists 'must pay for road use'
Motorists should be asked to pay to drive on the nation's road
a report commissioned by the government has recommended.
Former British Airways chief Sir Rod Eddington has examined options
for modernising the UK transport network.
He has reported that road tolls could benefit the economy to the
tune of £28bn a year.
With road charging, drivers would pay more to use roads when they
were busy or more congested.
If road charging was introduced, the government would be able to
examine the option of whether it could raise enough revenue to replace
fuel duty and the car tax disc.
Road charges could cut congestion by half, Sir Rod said in the
report commissioned by Chancellor Gordon Brown.
Grand projects like high-speed rail links were less important than
using existing networks better, he added.
Smaller projects, including an expansion of the UK cycle network,
received strong backing.
But Sir Rod warned the new technology would be hard to implement.
"Road pricing on this scale is new and at this stage has unknown
implementation costs," Sir Rod said in the report.
"There are very significant risks and uncertainties involved in
delivering a pricing policy, particularly around the technology needed
for its delivery."
The government announced the transport study in 2005 as
part of an effort to examine the long-term impact of transport
decisions on the UK economy.
Sir Rod has examined the possibilities for road
pricing, road building, rail and airport investment, as well as the
His report identifies three strategic transport
priorities - congested and growing city catchments, "inter-urban"
corridors and important international gateways showing signs of
congestion and unreliability.
Such gateways include Heathrow Airport where 28% of flights are
by more than 15 minutes - some of the worst delays in the EU.
The report concludes that the potential benefits of charging
motorists for using roads will outweigh the costs of the scheme.
Road charges will put some people off driving entirely, cut
and carbon emissions and could raise up to £16bn a year in
Sir Rod says.
Sir Rod's report also says:
- The UK has a greater proportion of its population connected to
strategic road and rail networks than European competitors
- Management of transport is very inefficient and disjointed in UK
- especially for buses
- Road pricing should only be rolled out after proper testing on
- Policy should be focused on improving the performance of existing
transport networks in those places that are important for the UK's
Many of the recommendations are in line with government thinking,
but have now received the backing of a respected businessman.
The prospect of road pricing was given a cool welcome by some.
The Transport 2000 lobby group said that, for road pricing to work,
alternatives to driving must be improved.
Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling said a national road
scheme for every road was not "realistically achievable in the near
Sir Rod's report warns that how we get around Britain will be vital
for future economic success.
| For road pricing to work it's
going to have to be accompanied by a lot of other measures
The government has already indicated it will press ahead with trial
road-pricing schemes across England - amid fears congestion could rise
by 25% by 2015 in big towns and cities.
The draft Road Transport Bill, announced in the Queen's
Speech, gives councils more freedom to bring in their own schemes in
The Conservatives have released their own strategy,
Getting Around: Britain's Great Frustration, calling for greener cars
on the roads and major long-term projects.
They have also not ruled out road pricing but say they would build
new roads and have a more integrated transport policy.
FULLER CARS, TO MOVE THE SAME NUMBER OF PEOPLE, IS
WHAT WE NEED
scheme was first submitted to Vodafone in the mid 1990s. It
seems it got lost
in the rush to 3G etc. and I submitted it again in 2002. To give
Vodafone their due, they immediately sent a clued up man to see me
and we duly covered a restaurant table in paper and scribbling and
pronounced the dawn of a winning idea.
can work with basic GSM-SMS technology, and it can benefit from
enhancments for those who graduate to 3G and even GPS, but the point is
it can work for all, very cheaply.
In the 1950s, fewer people had their own cars. During my national
service in the RAF I used to often thumb a lift even in civilian
clothes, and when I had a car, stop and pick up hitch-hikers. These
days few people do that. But there is a way it could come back.
far, all that has happened is a more elaborate version, aplicable to
taxis and paying assengers and using GPS has been trialled, by an
independent company that has done the work for Vodafone and other GSM
service providers. It does NOT use the simple, universal technology and
principles of the attached proposal.
The text in the two versions accessible by the links above (HTML and
RTF) is the same.
Since it has been decided that people
are not capable of driving and using a mobile, the system will need to
be restricted to hands-free audio and text. Hands-free text is
possible, but the aim was to keep it simple.
21st SEPT 2006
- http://www.liftshare.org/welcome.asp -
is a good effort. All we need now is for the mobile ISPs to get
involved and power up the idea so that people can join groups that are
organised along the lines suggested in my original paper.
The next part of the jigsaw requires any increase in congestion zone
charge in London, and any extension of the zone westward, to be
acompanied by 3 cheaper days per week allocated to half the cars
registering for access and 3 other days of the week allocated to the
other half. Perfection and total compliance is not required to make
this reduce congestion dramatically while allowing London business and
shops to have better access and trade than they do now. Combined with
some significant lift-sharing its win-win-win for travellers, the
environment, London and business. It's a no-brainer.
UPDATE APRIL 4 2007