Monday, November 29, 2004

Traffic Congestion

Wouldn't it be great if there was no traffic congestion? Everyone could travel wherever they wished with no fear of getting caught in a traffic jam. This must seems to be the Utopia and certainly a noble goal that Ministers, and their electorate, the great travelling masses dream of whilst stuck on the M25 on a Monday morning.

It strikes me that no matter what Minsters do, whether it is building more roads, road pricing, multiple occupancy lanes or one of numerous other solutions, traffic congestion is something that will never go away. It will never improve overall but then, it will never worsen significantly either.

Every couple of months, some think tank will produce "shocking" research that if traffic growth continues at it's current rate then London, for example, will grind to a halt within five years. This is nonsense. People do have alternative means of transport and can make sensible!?! choices. These choices may be "sticky" in the short term ie unable to take the train to work or can only drive to work. In the longer term though, you can possibly relocate to be closer to your workplace, change your job so that you do not have to commute as far or chnage your mode of transport. I cannot ever see the time when I would willingly drive to work across London if traffic is not flowing at all!!

The typical response from all shades of government is to restrict traffic growth by increasing petrol and diesel prices with a nod and a wink to the green lobby. The most significant transport cost for me is the car purchase price and annual costs such as Insurance, Vehicle Excise Duty, Car service and MOT. As these are all significant costs in their own right, it unfortunately becomes the case that the more I use my car, the cheaper the average cost per mile becomes!! Perverse logic I know, but there we are, get out and drive!!

Identity Cards

The next big anti terrorist idea is to give everyone in the UK an ID card. How is this expected to protect the UK from terrorists? Passports can already be faked, carrying an ID card will not be obligatory, if you are requested to show your ID, you will have seven days grace (presumably terrorists will believe it to be a fair cop and will turn up at the police station with their fake ID).

How will it be organised, who should pay the £10bn estimated cost of it and why will it take so long to implement? ID cards were issued at the start of World War 2 when they were required, not six years later when they were no longer required. How did our grandparents achieve this before the first true computers had even been invented?

Not only is there a £10bn cost, but each individual will have to pay an additional £85 for their own card. What's that all about!?!


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The purpose of this blog is to be a foil to the Labour party's