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IFW on February 9th , 2006

 

Subject: "managed to avoid congestion"
Message:

The anti-rail argument on this site is pretty much built on the single premise that roads will be "managed to avoid congestion".

In practice there is only one proven way of "managing roads to avoid congestion", at least in densely populated areas such as the South East and that's running them like an enterprise rather than a public good free at the point of use. In other words: Tolls.

Sounds lovely in theory, but unfourtunately it ain't gonna happen in a democracy.

Say we really tore down all the railways and converted them to roads. Would the public then support the next step of introducing road pricing? No, public sentiment would force the government to provide the additional road capacity free at the point of use as well, and with rising car ownership they'd be congested in no time.

And we'd live in a country where the last remaining mode of transport capable of bypassing jams is the helicopter. Then we could truly call the UK third world.

In response - electronic tolls on the "Lexis" lanes in the USA work well. Cars carry smart cards, debited as you drive, Tolls change frequently according to traffic flow.

 

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