Thursday, 29 May 2008

Gridlock and Road Rage

This is the title of a TV programme at 21.00 tonight on Channel 4. Apparently it's all about people spending half their lives stuck in traffic jams, and "the absurdity of our small island and its 33 million vehicles".

The Radio Times has this interesting quote:

One expert hits the nail on the head when he observes that, given a blank sheet of paper, you'd never come up with the car as a rational solution to personal transport -- "an individually owned, very expensive box, easily damaged, kills people, pollutes the environment, and they crash into each other".

Hear hear to that. I hope the programme will make it clear that there are practical public-transport alternatives to quite a lot of car journeys -- to a greater degree than many motorists realise, in my experience.

2 comments:

lola said...

I quote:-

"One expert hits the nail on the head when he observes that, given a blank sheet of paper, you'd never come up with the car as a rational solution to personal transport -- "an individually owned, very expensive box, easily damaged, kills people, pollutes the environment, and they crash into each other".

Just shows that you can't trust an expert. In fact the truth is exactly the opposite. The car is just the thing you'd come up with as a 'personal' transport solution. And what's more, thanks to the wonders of free market economics they have cheaper and cheaper and better and better every year since 1896. The car is now without doubt the absolute best solution to the 'personal' (as opposed to 'personnel' - but that too) problem. Thanks to the car personal transport is now not a problem at all. The car enables everyone who has access to or owns one to make extremely flexible choices about their lives without waiting on the whim of a bureaucrat or other gauleiter - which is of course exactly why the left loonies hate them so much.

Even if you belive in the pollution argument (and I don't) then the real problem (well non -problem) is traffic. And as the oil runs out free market entrepreneurs will invent an alternative fuel source to enable us to continue to use the 'car' as the best solution to our personal transport problem.

So bollocks to your expert for talking bollocks.

peezedtee said...

It's very difficult to take such a preposterous point of view seriously, but I'll try.

If you are going to insist on everyone travelling around in their own personal tin box, you will have to abolish the whole concept of cities as we know them in Europe, which are the whole basis of our civilisation.

Even before the congestion charge was introduced, over 80% of people commuting into central London did so by public transport. London simply could not function if that were not the case.

So you will have to abolish cities and disperse everybody to live in a much lower-density arrangement. They can do this in America (at the cost of wasting a lot of time and money driving long distances)because there is lots of space there. In Britain, and indeed north-west Europe as a whole, there isn't enough room for that.

Like many, I prefer to live in a city, with all the amenities that can only be justified by the high density of population, and where a private car is not only unnecessary but a positive encumbrance.

You say "The car enables everyone who has access to or owns one to make extremely flexible choices about their lives". This only works if most people choose NOT to do so. It is therefore an extremely selfish position, as well as being wildly unrealistic.