Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Tory Transport Plans

It sounds like John Redwood wants to return to the Conservative road building program of the 90’s that lead to increased congestion. www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2007/11/11/the-a13-how-to-mess-up-a-good-road
The answer to reducing congestion as well as emissions is to improve public transport and cycling facilities. Their policy was thought to have died in 1994, when a government committee concluded that what environmentalists had been saying for years was correct - building more roads encourages more traffic.

Just look at the Newbury bypass, lots of money spent on what he may call a ‘green road’, but it encouraged traffic. See www.cpre.org.uk/news/view/321
John says that driving at 40 mph is very inefficient, and that speed cameras cause people to speed up and slow down to avoid fines. I say, leave it in high gear and save fuel. Or better yet get the train.

Johns Reply ‘I did travel at 40mph but that means a lower gear and more fuel consumption. Be realistic - 86% of all miles travelled are travelled by car or van. Even buses need roads. It is often a green option to improve the road. Why do you think trains are green? Many of them are dirty old diesel engines of a kind we wouldn’t allow on the roads’.

I think public transport is green because it produces less emissions. Instead of spending the money on yet more roads, invest in more efficient train engines, get traffic off the road. We don’t have enough land to build all the roads you want.

Do you have proof that you consume more fuel at 40 than at 50/60? It depends on your car/style of driving/tyre pressure etc, but in a high gear at 40 isn't so bad. Perhaps all motorways/roads should have a max speed of 55 to conserve fuel, as happened in the USA after the oil crisis in the 70s.

John also admires Paul Smith www.safespeed.org.uk, he thinks speed cameras have caused fatalities. ‘I am glad Paul Smith’s excellent research work showing our roads have got more dangerous as safety policy has concentrated on speed control is now receiving a wider airing’. He is wrong, speed cameras save lives.

From www.thebikezone.org.uk/motorcarnage/motorcarnage.html
Across the UK 10 people are killed and many more seriously injured everyday. Rare events such as rail or plane crashes or murders receive blanket coverage in the press and yet road killings usually receive only a brief mention in the local press. A minor injury resulting from a cyclist colliding with walker on a bridleway or on a footway is likely to create headline news in the local papers, lead to calls that all cyclists be banned and demands that police action taken against offenders, yet almost everyone turns a blind eye to the 3,500 deaths and one third of a million injuries that occur on UK roads each year. Even worse, any calls to reduce the danger posed by motor vehicles, such as actually enforcing legal speed limits, leads to howls of protest from drivers and claims that this somehow amounts to their 'civil liberties' being curtailed. The scale of road killings is such that they are almost considered to be a normal and even acceptable part of everyday life. Fatalities occurring only a few miles away, even in an area covered by a sister paper, will go unreported in the local press. A few days later, the newspapers become 'tomorrow's chip paper' and the only ones who remember the dead are the friends and families of those who have died. They will never be able to forget.

The Department for Transport published the results of the study it had commissioned into the efficacy of its speed cameras. It found that the number of drivers speeding down the roads where fixed cameras had been installed fell by 70%, and the number exceeding the speed limit by more than 15mph dropped by 91%. As a result, 42% fewer people were killed or seriously injured in those places than were killed or injured on the same stretches before the cameras were erected. The number of deaths fell by over 100 a year. The people blowing up speed cameras have blood on their

Update: John responded to my comments.
'My car tells me how much fuel it is using as I drive. I cannot drive at under 40mph in top gear, so yes it does use more fuel. Why are you so against personal flexible transport, and do you not appreciate buses and coaches, lorries and vans needs roads as well as cars? Trains are often dirtier than cars - trains onyl work as greener methods of travel when they are full or nearly full and when it is easy to get to and from the station.'

My response:
Perhaps you have the wrong car, most cars will do 40 in top on a flat road in my experience. I'm against cars as they are the problem, polluting the air, and there are so many that average speeds decrease over the years. Supporting public transport will reduce pollution and congestion. Freight should also be encouraged to use trains, again to reduce pollution and congestion. Can you prove 'trains are dirtier than cars?', that isn't what I've read.

Most people use cars as they feel they have to, public transport is so bad and expensive in this country. Improving it, will reduce congestion. Building more roads has been proved not to work, and where will room be found to do it? Compulsory purchase of peoples homes will not be popular.

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