Britain's roads are heading for gridlock, warns the RAC Foundation

The solution? Pump more money into already overstretched roads and charge drivers to use some of them

by Simon_MacMichael   November 22, 2011  

Traffic Jam in Croydon Pic: Chris McKenna

A report from the RAC Foundation warns that with congestion on the rise on Britain’s roads, the country is heading for gridlock. The suggested solution? Encourage people to change to other modes of transport such as cycling and walking for shorter journeys, and promote car-sharing and use of public transport for longer ones? Not even close. It’s to spend more money on roads, and to charge people for using some of them.

According to the charity in its report Keeping The Nation Moving, published today, “There will be at least four million more cars on the UK’s roads in the next twenty-five years as the population grows by more than ten million. The jump in people and cars will be accompanied by surges in traffic volume and delays on the UK’s roads, which are already the most heavily used in Europe."

In other words, if you think it’s bad now, just wait and see how much worse it’s going to get. As the RAC Foundation points out, the government’s own projections suggest that road traffic will rise by 40 per cent over the next 25 years.

The report, which in essence is a call to action to policymakers to start planning now for the challenges ahead, is peppered throughout with other statistics from a variety of sources that make you stop and wonder how we became a nation so dependent on the motor car to get around.

Here’s a few of them:

  • The UK has a higher average density of passenger road traffic per mile than any other country in Europe; only Italy comes close.
  • Most European countries, including France, have passenger road traffic densities at half or less of the UK’s levels.
  • Including journeys made on foot or by bike, a staggering 63 per cent of all journeys made in the UK are by car.
  • Half of all trips undertaken by car are of five miles or less; almost a quarter of all trips are no more than two miles.
  • A third of drivers believe “most people in cars could use public transport instead.”
  • However, almost four out of five say that they would find it “very difficult to adjust my lifestyle to being without a car.”

It’s a depressing picture of a country in thrall to the internal combustion engine, and one in which alternatives, according to the report, are limited; public transport, it insists, is too expensive to provide a realistic alternative, while the Smarter Choices pilot from 2004-08 is cited as evidence that spending money on promoting other options may result in “useful change, but not step change.”

Three choices are put forward. The first, clearly not a viable option, is to do nothing and let congestion strengthen its grip.

The second comprises a range of short-term measures designed, as the RAC Foundation puts it, ‘sweating the assets’ – in other words, growing capacity on the already overburdened road system by more effective management, such as letting motorists drive on motorway hard shoulders, as well as spending money on “some selective road building and improvement.”

Acknowledging that “we cannot ‘build ourselves out of trouble’,” the charity believes that such targeted schemes can help relieve existing roads already subject to congestion; but what happens when those new roads themselves become choked with traffic, as they inevitably will?

Then there’s the question of how such an interim package might be funded. Increasing “the rates of taxation on road users over and above the already high level” is ruled out as unworkable, citing previous protests over fuel duty.

So the alternative is “to divert government spending from other areas. In effect this would mean spending a higher proportion of existing motoring tax revenue on roads.”

You may have already guessed where this is going.

The RAC Foundation says “there is no sign of government accepting the logic of ring-fencing a higher proportion of road tax revenue” – while they may be referring to all monies raised from motorists from the likes of Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel duty, it again reinforces the misconception that motorists pay for the roads.

As is well documented on the site iPayRoadTax.com, they don’t; road tax itself was scrapped in 1937 in part to avoid motorists claiming ownership of the roads, the construction and maintenance of which is funded out of general taxation.

That point seems lost on the RAC Foundation, however, which goes on to say that “the continued inability of 34 million drivers to get a fairer deal is a symptom of the lack of a single, coherent consumer voice for motorists and a regulator to ensure that motorists get the service from the road network that they have paid for.”

They, and every other taxpayer in the country, that is – leaving aside the issue of how many of those 34 million motorists actually want more money pumped into the road system, rather than on alternative modes of travel that could help ease that congestion in the first place.

The third option put forward to address the looming – some might say existing – crisis is to give the Highways Agency greater independence and more of a strategic role in how the road network is managed and paid for, including the extension of pay as you go road charging, although it admits that other than for HGVs, there is little prospect of that happening for the existing road network under the Coalition Government.

With congestion on the rise and motoring costs set to continue to increase, particularly as the price of oil heads ever upwards, the RAC Foundation is to be commended on at least trying to instigate a debate; however, we can’t be alone in feeling that the obvious solution lies in finding ways to encourage people to reduce their dependency on their cars in the first place, rather than seeking to find ways of accommodating even more of them on the nation’s roads?

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Good little charity! Have a pat on your head and Aviva-owned RAC will give you more cookies!

Correction: RAC was sold to the Carlyle Group off of Fahrenheit 911 and other documentaries. Their links to the US Republicans makes the carphilia of the charity wing less surprising, doesn't it?

posted by a.jumper [701 posts]
22nd November 2011 - 22:55

7 Likes

Quote:
"There will be at least four million more cars on the UK’s roads in the next twenty-five years as the population grows by more than ten million. "

There will? And do they realise how much the petrol is likely to cost? This is a fantasy. Even if the government agreed to build the new roads these dreamers think are required all the others would still be as busy as they are now, assuming fuel prices don't rocket further. And where will all these additional cars be parked? Driveways and streets are often already full, land for town parking is not getting any cheaper... meanwhile urban air pollution is not getting any better.

As Carlton points out, motorists are already subsidised, but not many people want to tell them this fact (more accurately, lots of interested parties want to tell them the opposite).

I see the queues at the perennial bottlenecks in Shrewsbury, I hear the colleagues moan about the time it takes to get to work and I don't know whether to laugh at them or feel a little sorry for them.

If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1967 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 0:10

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People are so welded to the idea of using cars they see no alternative, despite the fact that commuting by car is costly and time-wasting. My commute by motorcycle or bicycle and train (depending on weather) takes 45 minutes. On the rare occasion when I have to take something big and/or heavy to or from the office and I take the car, the commute is 1 hour 15 minutes. On the motorbike it's noticeable how I overtake the same people sitting in the same cars by themselves every day. How many of those people sitting by themselves really need to have a car and could use either a scooter/motorcycle or a bicycle instead? I'd reckon maybe 80% could switch to two wheels and save themselves a lot of money in fuel. Doing the same journey as me, at present they'd waste an hour/day sitting in traffic jams that I buzz right past either on my motorbike or on the train. And yet they won't change their ways. Basically, a lot of people are like sheep.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2205 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 9:44

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The RAC clearly don't talk to young people - the percentage of the population between 17 and 25 with a driving licemce has halved in the past decade. Many have worked out that owning and driving cars is a cost they can avoid.

So we have an aging pool of drivers and a call for many to be banned from driving when their fitness to drive deteriorates, further cutting back on the number of drivers who can only be in one place in one vehicle at one time.

I've actually seen a dramatic decrease in traffic - it has seriously limited my ability to hitch a lift but also made my driving substantially less stressfull In one journey of 50 miles on a main trunk road (A66) I passed 1 car and 1 HGV and was passed by by 2 other cars, and can expect to get from Glasgow to Birmingham in around 4.5 hours with no delays or hold ups, agaion for the times of day I travel the roads are either deserted or free flowing with masses of excess capacity. As David Begg once observed of a major Scottish motorway - the level of effective utilisation of such a costly liability was so low that had the road been a railway it would have been closed years ago. Maybe I should film some trips

Take a look at car parks - a good indicator of car use and a prime cause for gridlock, when say 3000+ drivers all try to arrive at or leave the out of town retail park, or major employment site at the same times, each car takes say 15 seconds (optimistically) to get clear of the exit and into the traffic flow at the exit so at 4 cars/minute a 2000 car reservoir (and some places have over 6000 parking spaces) will take 250 minutes to empty, if everyone wants to leave at the same time - that's 4 hours 10 minutes

In Glasgow we have car parks offering discount rates to get them filled up,, part of this being the fact that the volume of traffic required to fill them or empty them at the time of peak demand is far greater than the roads feeding the car parks can handle, but even during the day those roads are a vast wasteland of tarmac with a paucity of traffic. Leicester has closed half of a huge car park in the city centre - it lies empty and a potential playground for freestyle cyclists. Preston, Wigan and other places have newly built car parks with vast over capacity in anticipation of growth but have discounted rates to try and fill them up now, and recover the £23,000/space it cost to build them. Coleshill Station has opted to close the ticket machines and offer free parking - until September 2015. Please do send in pictures of car parks desperate to get users, and details of the cost per space - currently at £83000 per space Penrith Stations additional 30 spaces seem to be a top price to beat.

On street parking is another detail that can change at a stoke. Over 60% of the road space outside was blocked between 7 am and 7 pm by parked cars before the parking charges came in - now less than half of the marked bays are filled, and the huge jam that came at 5 pm has vanished. Her less than 35% of households own a car and many tenement blocks have no cars owned. Yet we suffer twice per day (and some evenings when events are on from those who drive in to the city - but who would actually have a faster trip if they came in by train

So I say what gridlock? lets just look at how much these roads are really used 24/7 and realise that most 'gridlock results from the grossly inefficient use of the space, and the use of the roads for parked cars further eroding the provision. Return to the original system roads = moving traffic and no parking - anywhere - eliminating all the need for yellow paint and signs and arguments about where and when you can park , and cutting some 50% of the road surfaces that need to be maintained in many urban areas - 50% less road - better maintained and all for moving traffic, and parking a resource that you pay for or provide for yourself whereever you need to use it.

Remember that most shoppers do not go to the shops by car, most rail pasesngers walk to the station yet the car user gets all the land and resources without anyone questioning this.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [486 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 9:54

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The problem with the motorcycle is that you also need a car for those big/heavy items. So if you are going to have one form of motorised transport the car is the most flexible even if it is not the most efficient.

But back of envelope stuff here. 30p per mile marginal cost for a car (fuel + wear & tear). 10p for a 125cc motorbike. So 20p difference in marginal costs. Fixed costs of £600 per year for motorbike (insurance & depreciation). You need to be doing 3,000 miles to make it worth while which is true for most of those commuters. However move to a bigger bike and it probably isn't worth it unless you can replace a second car.

The bicycle is an obvious answer but until most workplaces have showers and people live within 5 miles of their work it isn't going to happen.

posted by 0liver [76 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 10:07

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I think its a noble ideal to get more people out of cars and onto scooter, motorbikes and bikes but I think it is going to be very hard to persuade them. You see those lone people in the traffic jam in their business suits or dolled up for the call centre? There is no way they are going to hop on a bike to get to work, it just doesn't fit with their grooming routine or vanity. People like cars because they can arrive at their destination in comfort and unruffled and for many, those things are more important than cost, time, fitness or environmental concerns.

I'm being flippant and recognise that a) I can wear casual clothes at work, b) my office has showers and c) I don't really give a shit if I'm a bit scruffy but it is a genuine blocker for people to use less comfy transportation.

I think those people could be persuaded onto public transport if it was reliable, clean and reasonably priced but if someone has a car and their commute is just on the side of tolerable (and people will tolerate a lot to stay warm and listen to the radio while they breathe in fumes) then they are going to be reluctant to pay for the ownership costs on a car and for the annual costs of public transport.

If Cameron thinks the country can build it's way out of the recession then perhaps he should be commisioning real transport infrastructure changes and revamping housing near the places people work, not just encouraging the creation of more bland satellite estates of pokey little houses and a bypass to link them into the nearest out of town retail park.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [823 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 10:47

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Why has no-one even touched on the tried and (moderately) successful means to reduce traffic used by some US states - incentives/disincentives around car-pooling?

I drive my family mad any time we are in the car by keeping a running total of single vs. multi-occupant vehicles I see (commercial vehicles etc. are excluded)

Seriously - how many people don't live close enough to a co-worker to car pool?

posted by mad_scot_rider [548 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 12:11

5 Likes

Overpopulation plays a massive role, I never remember anyone at anytime other than politicians thinking that massively increasing our population through immigration was a good idea. And it is unevenly distributed everyone arrives in the south east and never goes any further. Now we see a stress on all our infrastructure, roads, schools, waiting lists, housing, services, countryside, which increases stress in peoples lives and conflicts of interest. Thanks for destroying where I live all in an effort to get voters or increase GDP, which has no personal benefit to individual wealth.

posted by surreyxc [45 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 13:18

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We, at www.carpooling.co.uk found the RAC study 'Keep the Nation Moving' and your subsequent comments really interesting.

Although the report is pro- pay as you go, it also stated "Car sharing, car clubs and car rental are all growth areas and are likely to make their mark, mainly in large urban areas” which we believe to be true.

As the largest carpooling network in Europe (carpooling.com) we promote the idea of car sharing to save money, contribute to the environment and also reduce congestion.

Although a 'no car world' would be great, it can prove impractical. Therefore our website, in 9 countries and 7 languages, aims to make it easier for people to find suitable carpools.

We have 3.4 million registered users now and think the UK government should get behind the concept of carpooling as one method to reduce congestion on the roads.

Maybe you will consider giving it a try at www.carpooling.co.uk.

carpooling.co.uk's picture

posted by carpooling.co.uk [1 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 13:30

4 Likes

Surreyxc:

My wife's American. I'll tell her to go pack this evening, maybe she can get a flight home in time for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law's family arrived from East Africa when Amin kicked the Asians out in the early 1970s, so they can go too. Perhaps we can send our own editor back to Ireland, and I'll get the first train out of Kings Cross back North of the Border where I clearly belong?

Angry

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8116 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 13:38

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It's mathematics a resource is finite, a country can only support so many people, migration is fine in moderation but not when unhindered, can you honestly say that our services have not become drained and overburdened, our commutes that much harder, the green belt not suffered, all of which in some part excessive migration has played a part. There is also a distinction between those coming to the UK because they have an interest in the country and those who seek to come for nothing but economic grounds, and care nothing for the country. Sadly there is a very great distinction between the skilled and educated migrants (minority) and the mass of migration. I am unrepetent on my views, these are issues which need to be discussed and to often anyone who cares about where they live and quality of life for all are immediately shot down as a xenophobe. It is a reality that we are overcrowded and we have to ask how that happened and how detrimental that is to everyone's daily lives. Perhaps I am wrong and you're right but tell me how right will you feel when we have a population of 85 million, the largest in Europe in a country a fraction the size of France or Germany, do you think it will be a better or worse place to live.

posted by surreyxc [45 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 14:03

3 Likes

maybe I am just a crank, but this article can perhaps explain it more eloquently:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1567068/Record-immigration-sees-U...

Not the exclusive view of one paper, many media resources are reporting similar.

As I say I am sure I am wrong and we and our children will all be so much better for a substantially larger population.

but I do not own a car, and commute 12 miles off road so what do I care, mind all those green places that define a nation will be gone soon enough.

posted by surreyxc [45 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 14:37

3 Likes

Hmm… that article is 4 years old, quite a bit has changed since then.

One thing that hasn't though is that one of the biggest pressures on resources in the South East is not from immigration it's from migration within the UK's borders - people moving from north to south. Historically that has always been the case and it is exacerbated when there is a greater than usual disparity between the wealth of the South East and that of the rest of the country - short of moving London to Birmingham there isn't much that can be done about that.

Blaming all our ills on foreigners coming over here taking our jobs and our place in the traffic jam is a dangerous road to go down so best we don't.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4143 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 15:13

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0liver wrote:
The problem with the motorcycle is that you also need a car for those big/heavy items. So if you are going to have one form of motorised transport the car is the most flexible even if it is not the most efficient.

But back of envelope stuff here. 30p per mile marginal cost for a car (fuel + wear & tear). 10p for a 125cc motorbike. So 20p difference in marginal costs. Fixed costs of £600 per year for motorbike (insurance & depreciation). You need to be doing 3,000 miles to make it worth while which is true for most of those commuters. However move to a bigger bike and it probably isn't worth it unless you can replace a second car.

The bicycle is an obvious answer but until most workplaces have showers and people live within 5 miles of their work it isn't going to happen.

You shouldn't focus solely on calculated costs. The benefits of a motorcycle include the space they occupy (at home as well as at the destination) and the ease of filtering / overtaking standing or slower traffic.

Even today lots of people live within 5 miles of work and even the others don't necessarily need a shower at work. A flannel and a change of clothing may be fine.

Meanwhile try looking at the queues or busy lines of commuter traffic you encounter and note the proportion of vehicles with more than a single occupant.

surreyxc wrote:
Thanks for destroying where I live all in an effort to get voters or increase GDP, which has no personal benefit to individual wealth.

A lot of those people you blame facilitate your own existence - doing dirty jobs in the NHS, the trains and the Underground, agriculture, manufacturing, running convenience stores and much more. There are plenty of immigrants here in Shropshire, never mind the urban centres of the north of England (not that you'd know where they are). I guess you don't know Leeds or Bradford very well. Most people who come to this country have no choice but to work damn hard and put up with abuse you'd find unacceptable. My dentist is from Poland so you will blame him too, but when I am in pain and need treatment I'm f**king hugely grateful he is here, I can tell you!

My mate's wife was brought to Surrey from Colombia as a child after their class was held hostage at gunpoint by terrorists. Perhaps you'd like to swap places with her.

And never mind all the people who are cruelly exploited abroad, often working in desperate conditions (e.g. 1, 2)to make everything from your mobile phone to the clothes you are presumably wearing.

Unless you live in a cave and grow all your own food I suggest you take a long look in the mirror before blaming immigration for the state of anything in this country. By blaming other people you come across as a selfish, racist twat. I'd be happier if you can demonstrate otherwise.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1967 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 15:30

3 Likes

A depressing conclusion to the report.

It takes alot for people to use their cars less. I remember in the fuel duty protests in 2000 the roads were quiet as people used buses, car shared and didn't make very short journeys by car. I wondered at the time if this would be the start of a change in behaviour, but two weeks later it was back to normal.

As increasing cost seems to be the only effective way of getting people to think of doing more trips outside of a car, road pricing would be the best way. Maybe starting with tolls on motorways.

posted by thereverent [300 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 16:43

2 Likes

Trouble with road pricing (which I think I agree with) is that it removes many people from the roads, but not all the rich gits.

Zil lanes for the rich could be result. BMW and Merc drivers will demand to go faster on what could become "their" roads.

However, as A V Lowe says, many parts of the UK have plenty of capacity, but too many people try to use the same bits of road at the same time. Road pricing could reduce much of this pressure.

Except, of course, for rich folks who will be able to drive anywhere and at any time.

Singapore brought in number plate recognition road pricing, with vehicles ending in certain letters not allowed to drive every other day. What did the rich gits do? Bought new cars so they always had a car available, no matter what the reg no requirement that day.

Road pricing is therefore not a perfect solution. Many others have to be run at the same time.

PS
Getting rid of cars parked on the public highway would be great (although cars may go faster on the wider roads) but Hell would freeze over before any UK Gov't ever had to balls to bring in such a policy.

Carlton Reid's picture

posted by Carlton Reid [110 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 17:42

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The problem with the motorcycle is that you also need a car for those big/heavy items. So if you are going to have one form of motorised transport the car is the most flexible even if it is not the most efficient.

You don't need to OWN a car for that occasional trip though. Many people happily rent vans when they need them but wouldn't dream of driving round in one the rest of the time too. This is where car share companies could be useful. But for this to work people would actually have to start looking at car ownership and use rationally instead of through the car ad-tinted lenses they do now.

Unfortunately I don't see that happening anytime in the near future without some large disincentive.

posted by Chuck [382 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 17:53

2 Likes

I guess the rich will always have more opportunity to travel. Bicycles were once the preserve of the wealthy, as was the motor car when it first appeared.

Perhaps road pricing can be made intelligent enough to charge different amounts depending on the road type/time of day/location.

It seems vital to me that we need to balance any reduction in driving with an increase in good, affordable public transport (as well as cycling). Every other European country seems to be able to do this far better than us, but what UK government is going to have the nerve to spend the money it needs, especially in this economic climate?

I almost feel sorry for drivers in this country (almost..)

posted by don_don [149 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 19:59

3 Likes

If you factor in time as a cost, then the arguments for using a car and wasting time in traffic jams look really bad. Even at the basic minimum wage, an extra hour commuting/day soon adds up. And for the hourly wage rate of a professional or skilled worker (plumbers and so on), at £100 or more/hour, then the cost of having a motorcycle soon becomes worthwhile. Remember too that for anyone without off-street parking or a garage and living in a CPZ, a car has additional costs while a motorcycle can be slotted into motorcycle only bays, which are free. It is interesting that so many low income households do have cars. It is also interesting that those using bicycles tend to be higher earners with and also have higher education.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2205 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 20:19

2 Likes

The RACF are renowned for their guesswork on driving matters and this is no different? This is all theory and prediction based on what?

The car ownership explosion from the 50s has happened. 2 & 3 car families are now common. There are already more vehicles than the drivers to drive them and RACF don't seem to have noticed that less & less people are driving already. Most vehicles are actually parked up most of the time; as my two are as I write and yours is as you read this. Their figures are based on registration and not what's actually on the road. The RACF are not a driver's lobby group for sure.

Of course there will be congestion at certain points at certain times, so road building is appropriate and it is a myth that more roads create more vehicles; they don't. It was pure coincidence that the boom in car ownership coincided with road building.

But what has really caused congestion, as anyone who has managed traffic flow will confirm, is closing of legitimate alternative routes and funneling traffic to the same choke points, reducing lanes for buses and for turn only lanes. We could start by reversing all the idiocy of the last 40 years & having local politicians, just to please one street to get elected, making road policy decisions. In effect a national roads policy based on local parochialism. Totally nuts!

posted by Driver Protest Union [17 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 20:21

1 Like

'Higher education'? That's rather smug; especially as most of the cyclists I see are young hoodies.

posted by Driver Protest Union [17 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 20:24

3 Likes

Driver Protest Union wrote:
'Higher education'? That's rather smug; especially as most of the cyclists I see are young hoodies.

I think you may have just undermined the credibility of your previous assertions with that anecdote.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [823 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 21:00

1 Like

OldRidgeback wrote:
those using bicycles tend to be higher earners with and also have higher education.

Is this a fact? Or are you living in a university city / apportioning undue weight(!) to MAMIL cyclists, many of whom are likely to still drive their cars on weekdays.

One problem I can envisage with road pricing is an increase in 'rat-running' down country lanes and B-roads when the wider, faster route is made a toll road.

Increasing the price of fuel will hurt the rich less (though the Range Rovers and X5s might eventually be driven less aggressively) and disproportionately disadvantage those in rural areas, but at least it's an easily implemented way to force people to examine their driving habits. To have even the slightest chance of working it has to be accompanied by improved public services (so no chance of the Tories even thinking of it). Far from perfect, I realise, but there is no ideal solution. To reduce traffic you have to persuade/force people out of their cars, and they won't want to do it.

Edit (an additional thought): by paying more to drive their gas-guzzlers the rich will effectively be taxed more but, unlike a hike in income tax, they will be effectively choosing to spend more.

And two minutes after writing the above I stumble across this in The Economist:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2011/11/fuel-duty-0

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1967 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 22:54

2 Likes

Simon E wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:
those using bicycles tend to be higher earners with and also have higher education.

Is this a fact? Or are you living in a university city / apportioning undue weight(!) to MAMIL cyclists, many of whom are likely to still drive their cars on weekdays.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2011/11/fuel-duty-0

Consumer research (eg by Mintel among others, based on sample weighted to represent GB population) consistently shows that regular cyclists tend to earn more than average and to have higher than average levels of education.

Oh, they're also more likely than average to have multiple cars in the household (and are therefore more likely to pay more 'road tax' than average household) Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8116 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 23:09

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cat1commuter wrote:
I use my car so infrequently that it is a huge relief when it actually starts!

Actually, I think the "do nothing" option is quite a good one. As gridlock sets in, more people will switch to bicycles. (I find cycling past queuing traffic very satisfying.) More people on bicycles will increase demands for better cycling infrastructure. Better cycling infrastructure will encourage more people onto bikes.

We need more gridlock! Reduce the capacity of a few key junctions, and watch the cycling revolution bloom!


Yes--quite right. In fact I always make a point of whistling into open car-windows as I glide by, particularly when the driver is the sole occupant.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [284 posts]
24th November 2011 - 3:13

1 Like

The real problem when it comes to cycling to work not withstanding the need for cycle parking and showers,would be the short sighted development in these out of town "industrial parks" they assume everyone has the use of a car or other motorised transport and scant thought is given to an integrated safe cycle path scheme!
Why oh why dont they look at the dutch system they may learn a thing or two but alas they will still plough on constructing badly planned schemes until such time as A the country goes in to total gridlock or B fuel becomes so expensive, then we may see the politicians actually put through a white paper underlining the need for an alternative but we can only live in hope?? Thinking

andrew miners's picture

posted by andrew miners [46 posts]
24th November 2011 - 9:23

0 Likes

"We need more gridlock" - ha ha, love it!

I might try the whistling too.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1967 posts]
24th November 2011 - 11:24

0 Likes

Quote:
Thanks for destroying where I live all in an effort to get voters or increase GDP, which has no personal benefit to individual wealth.

Sadly you are perpetuating a fallacy. Thankfully that well known Left-Wing paper The Economist knows what it's talking about when stating that: "policies that restrict free human movement and cooperation create a stupendous amount of preventable poverty and suffering."

Carlton Reid's point is very pertinent. The fall in vehicle miles doesn't just seem to be a blip. It is the first time (since the start of the data set) that the 5-year moving average has fallen. (According to my own calculations using the data-set, which I have yet to write up fully).

posted by Henz [40 posts]
24th November 2011 - 13:25

1 Like

I love my car! But I use the bicycle for my 10 mile (each way) daily commute. I also use the bike for trips down to the local high st, and if going out somewhere local after work.

But there are times where the bike isn't suitable so I drive. Don't hold it against me, it's a luxury I have because I work hard and pay through the nose for the car (depreciation), the tax, the MOT, the maintenance, the insurance, the fuel. So when I make this once a week drive it cost me a lot and I know it. But I say make myself (and all other drivers pay more, much more).

To encourage other people out of their cars and into alternatives (that already exist!) double or triple the tax on fuel. Also get a tax\mile system on HGV.

Remember someone has to pay for the roads we cycle on! And wouldn't it be it would be nice if they were high quality and no traffic jams.

posted by Lobo [2 posts]
25th November 2011 - 14:18

3 Likes

I must be a rule to the exception Sad I have no car (but do have a licence), am on minimum wage and oh, I don't have any 'higher education' Thinking Oh and I work in an out of town complex and my employer has no bike facilities. Think I may have a raw deal somewhere along the line here. Also when I add up my mileage (social and commute) it looks like it's in excess of 9k per annum. That must put me in the regular cyclist catagory Wink

And Driver Protest Union, not all low income cyclists are 'hoodies' so please dont lump me with them. maybe the Daily Mail has influenced you too much in that aspect Angry

oops that should read exception to the rule _ sleep deprivation an all that ;D

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1056 posts]
25th November 2011 - 16:48

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