Reduction in traffic contradicts Goverment's proposed toll scheme
10 November 2008

Traffic and congestion on Britain’s roads is dropping for the first time since the 1970s, undermining the case for the Government’s national road tolling scheme.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has recorded a drop in road traffic during two consecutive quarters of this year. Its figures show a 2.2 per cent average reduction in traffic across the nation. The slowest ten percent of journey times, on the most congested roads in the country, have also improved.

The news appears to contradict the Government’s case for the road tolling trials announced last week, which was justified as the only way to avoid what Transport Secretary Paul Clark described as “gridlock”. The system will require motorists to fit a satellite tracking box in their car and set up an account that could be debited depending on where and when they drive, with users being charged up to £1.30 a mile on the busiest routes.

The decline in traffic levels is thought to be caused by both the economic slowdown and rising oil prices, with many car users choosing to drive less. The RAC Foundation recently released a report that suggested the Government should seriously consider building more roads to beat congestion.

Unfortunately, traffic figures for major urban areas including London were unavailable from the DfT due to a ‘technical fault’. This makes it impossible to gauge the true effect on London’s Congestion Charge zone of the slowing economy.

Will Powell

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10 November 2008

So, to sum up, the Transport Secretary, Paul Clark - who he? - is lying:

"If we sit back and do nothing you can be sure that economic growth will lead to gridlock,”

Clark be a good creep and go forth and multiply.

The RAC, the Royal Automobile Club essentially another public policy parasite, wants more roads built 'to beat congestion'. Er, for what? Less vehicles, less journeys, less economic activity in general? Is the RAC proposing a 1930s style, Autobahn building programme? How about raise say £50bn in borrowed money on the UK National Debt to pay people to dig holes and some others to fill them in. Be about as useful and wasteful. Can the RAC auto fornicate too and stick to mending flats at roadside and its big cheeses receiving regular gongs off her maj.

"Unfortunately, traffic figures for major urban areas including London were unavailable from the DfT due to a ‘technical fault’. This makes it impossible to gauge the true effect on London’s Congestion Charge zone of the slowing economy" - how awfully convenient.

Jesus, this shower, RAC and such included, know no shame. Live high on the hog and stay there.

10 November 2008

Sorry - but as a trained journalist - I'd have to point out that the above story is actually an opinion piece and not a news one. You haven't even gone to the trouble of finding a talking head from a pressure group or opposition party who you know is going to agree with the slant of your article, which is inexcusably lazy. You've just presented an argument in the third person.

10 November 2008

[quote Autocar]Its figures show a 2.2 per cent average reduction in traffic across the nation.[/quote] If these figures are correct, a fall of 2-3% is surely fairly insignificant. We seem to be in a situation where every minute drop in percentage terms is hailed by the headline writers as a "disaster". Any business that relies on its survival on such a slim percentage must be on an unsteady footing to say the least. Seems like a "SUN-like" headline writers dream. It saddens me to see such a poor article being featured in Autocar. Please don't go down this route of ill-researched quick headline grabbing articles - your heritage deserves better.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

10 November 2008

[quote RobotBoogie]but as a trained journalist [/quote]

Good for you - but what are you doing on here then?

Oh, and after some digging - if you want to see a really lazy and one-sided story based on the same facts, try here:

10 November 2008

[quote ordinary bloke]If these figures are correct, a fall of 2-3% is surely fairly insignificant.[/quote]

As a trained traffic manager (ahem) I can assure you it's a major difference. Most UK roads run so close to their 'saturation' point - when everything grinds to a halt - and even a reduction of a few hundred vehicles an hour on a major arterial route can make the difference between free-flow and gridlock.

Not that it will last of course. With the run up to Christmas, worse weather and falling fuel prices I bet that traffic volumes are already back up again, and that this report is already out of date.

10 November 2008

ESP, wanna bet? Yes, run up to Christmas generates more traffic, but highly localised around major shopping centres, not overall. Worse weather? Hardly an excuse for road tolling or building more roads is it? How about we lay off with the global warming taxes instead and leave some of the money people earn in their pockets. Falling fuel prices? :

"Oil jumps above $65 on higher stock markets"

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — Oil prices jumped above $65 a barrel Monday as world stock markets rallied on news of a massive Chinese economic stimulus plan, which could underpin demand for crude.

Increasing evidence that OPEC production cutbacks were taking hold also helped support prices.

Crude is already off lows of sub $60/barrel from a month ago. Pound sterling is still falling against the dollar, negating as much as half of the recent eighty-odd dollar per barrel fall. This can go two ways. The Chinese, US, UK, European stimulus packages, otherwise known as funny money or flatout counterfeiting of the currency will within months of New Year 2009 cause hyperinflation in commodiites, food and oil prices, again. So we're back to mid-2008 but this time with an utterly worthless pound currency to make it even worse. If the funny money can't hold against deleveraging of trillions of dollars worth of fraudulent derivatives the world economy and particularly UK will collapse into a deep slump. Either of these two happening, will within six months lead to devastation of living standards and economic activity.

10 November 2008

Labour must be gutted that even when they bugger up all the traffic lights to increase congestion the economic problems reduce it anyway thus making their 'argument' for tolling null and void.

Do roadworks at night, phase traffics lights correctly and other common sense measures will reduce congestion a great deal. But of course you cannot raise loads of money in taxes to pay for the other massive mistakes you have made in government so it is unlikely Labour or even the Tories if they get in (as they will have to sort out the mess) will back off this misguided attempt to 'free the roads'.

10 November 2008

@Cheltenhamshire 3:52pm

- hear, hear!

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