Technical and financial changes for personal travel

There are two possible revolutions for personal travel. The first is more people switching from owning to hiring a vehicle when they need one. The second is self driving cars removing the need for a driver. Let me make it clear I am not recommending this all be made compulsory or will happen in the next couple of years! I like many people need to own a  car to do my job.

The average UK private car  travels less than 8000 miles a year. This means it is only in use on the road for 11 days a year. For the remaining 354 days it is parked.

If many more  went over to hiring in a car when needed the numbers of cars could fall substantially  and still leave unused vehicle capacity to allow for non use overnight, for areas of low demand  and for maintenance of vehicles. This would have major consequences for car makers, for tax revenue from vehicle ownership, and for the need for parking.

In practice it is easy to see more city dwellers opting to rent not own, but it is less likely to   catch on in rural areas where people depend on cars and where it is more difficult guaranteeing hire car availability when needed. It is also related to the development of the automatic car, which would be easier to hire in as they would come round to your home when you needed one.

The move to self driving vehicles will  take time. Legislators are not yet persuaded that the technology of the automated vehicle hits acceptable safety standards, and fitting automated cars onto roads with cars with drivers poses problems. We will move to a world where the car increasingly drives itself but a person is needed to remain in charge.

Parking is a big issue. We need  to make more  off road parking provision all the time we run on our current car ownership  model. We have insufficient road capacity, so we need to work to get parked vehicles off the highway.

 

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136 Comments

  1. sm
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Until a few months ago, I lived in a small but rapidly expanding old market town, which happened to be sited close to London, a major airport and motorway. It also has its own busy train station.

    The Elizabethan centre of town was self-evidently not constructed for motor vehicles. Ditto the surrounding Victorian and Edwardian homes (some beautiful mansions, mostly ex-farm workers’ cottages).

    The huge housing development in the wider area over the past 20yrs has been hamstrung by the planners’ views that private cars are not to be encouraged, yet since there is virtually no public bus service (and what there is unpredictable and unreliable), so anyone who is a parent or a worker (or both) needing to get to the station, the primary and secondary schools and other vital services MUST have a car. The only residents I knew who could leave their car in their garage for most of the year were retirees, who could happily spend hours walking to the shops or the doctor, or waiting an hour for a bus, and who had no grandchildren nearby and therefore did not get the frequent urgent calls for assistance that I did!

    It’s time legislators and regulators stopped treating the car as the enemy, but as a vital component of the way C21st society works.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I live in the constituency next to Mr. Redwood’s. By any standards this is now an urban area. Lots of people, housing and offices and, of course, houses going up by the thousand each year. Train travel is ludicrously expensive and, during the day, just one train an hour going to the nearest town. Watched a bus go across in front of us around a roundabout the other day and my wife said ‘that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a bus here’. The failure of successive governments to incorporate proper bus and train services into local planning is … well … typical really. They (government, local and national) are not very good at it. Other countries seem to do a lot better.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

  2. Duncan
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    It is a nonsensical suggestion that people should hire a car to make a limited but essential trip on a daily basis. People own cars for many reasons. One of the reasons is absolute convenience that allows the owner to move freely by car at any time at his own discretion. During an emergency for example should a family member become ill and you need to get from A to B in swift time.

    Mr Redwood needs to focus on freedom of movement and private ownership rather than focusing on some form of collectivist system through a car-hiring process

    I am naturally and indeed rightly suspicious of the State, those it employs and those who derive their authority from their association with it. I have noticed, certainly in the last 20 years or so, a tendency for the State to become ever more interventionist.

    The movement of people and the freedom that this confers is a prime target for the pernicious and overactive imaginations of public officials who are continually looking at methods of both taxing us more, opportunities for further monitoring and limiting our freedoms. This article reeks of such a mindset and it leaves me cold.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      I had intended to make the same points, I could not have made them better. Mr Redwood is clearly forgetting the meaning of freedom and independence. He ought to be championing them not suggesting how they can be surrendered.

      Reply Of do stop finding wrong interpretations to attack. I support freedom and said so in the article. I am asking what if people exercise their choices in certain ways?

      • jerry
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        @JR; “I am asking what if people exercise their choices in certain ways?”

        But people have been able to do that since the dawn of the motor car, in the same way as those wealthy or lucky enough could before with the horse and carriage. Motor car rental, private hire with a driver & taxi services are not new ideas. If you do not want people finding wrong interpretations, and then attacking your words, you should perhaps stop asking daft questions! Yes you might be playing Devils Advocate but then you should expect the odd brickbat…

        People have wanted to own and drive their own cars for decades now, people aspired to such things long before WW2, hence why Messrs Austin, Ford and Morris (to name a few) all made their fortunes in the 1930s, nor is it even a personal freedom issue, just one of connivance, and no politico short of a one party dictatorship is going to put that Genie back in the bottle very easily.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      looking at methods of both taxing us more, opportunities for further monitoring and limiting our freedoms

      And, of course, they want to do away with cash. Then you really will be monitored. Use cash. Use it all the time. Take £100 out of the machines and spend it instead of using your cards.

    • Hope
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      JR’s view is flawed. Rural communities have been dumpy by the Tory party. No dubs services, closing post offices and taxes pubs out of business. All focal points being closed. Snooper charter introduced by May so bodies like the Food Standard Agency can watch our internet activity! CCTV to watch us walking about, listen and monitor smart phones to know where we are and who we talk with, ANPR to watch where we drive and park. An interventionist Tory govt incrementally ridding us of our freedoms. He Tory govt now trying to force how we should think through disguise of hate crime, equality and PC crap. Make t abnormal seem normal. Now it is on manouvres to indoctrinate our children through revising sex education in school. This is not education but indoctrination. State broadcaster used for propaganda. Quite Orwellian govt. Not all is what it appears. Any person or body that challenges get extra legislation or an inquiry i.e. Press or police or get hammered by all establishment bodies like Farage. MPs inappropriate conduct dismissed or swept under the carpet. Getting more like the USSR every day. May and her likes needs to be ousted her view of the world is disturbing and she is completely untrustworthy.

      • BOF
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Well said Hope. And ‘May and her likes’ apparently intent on selling us out to the EUSSR.

        • Hope
          Posted December 28, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Let us not forget May took away our freedom and liberty under the European Arrest Warrant when it was against Tory manifesto/policy and it was a choice made by her. No right to prevent extradition to some back water despot country.

          JR also forgets you can only exercise choices available. We are now in a period which of the two socialist marxist evils do you prefer Corbyn or May? Both horrible choices. That is why they refer FPTP. Like Brown before people will vote just to get rid of ghastly untrustworthy May. It will take longer than 22 years for Tories next time. Leaver MPs need to wake up and forget any worry of Corbyn becoming PM.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Ownership of a commuting car is a fraction of hiring a tax every day – with the added bonus of being able to use it when you need it any other time.

      Outside of London a car is not just economical, it is an utter bargain. I fail to see how private hire is going to compete – driverless or not.

      (My commuting car costs about 30p a mile all costs – including depreciation – in. A taxi charges £4 a mile.)

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        A relative bargain, despite the fact that the fiscal subsidy system is very anti car and for no good reason at all.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

      The state will be telling you the times you can go to the loo soon and how much loo paper you can use each time and what colour it must be. There is no aspect of life that they will not interfere with, licence, ban or tax given half a chance. Usually done on bogus grounds of health and safety, climate alarmism, fake “equality” or anti “discrimination”. Perhaps they will stop you “discriminating” in your choice of girl/boy friends or wives and husbands soon. You already are restricted in whom you choose to employ.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Hear hear

    • Nig l
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Yours and others’ dystopian views bear no relation to my or my friends, associates etc daily lives. JR rightly highlights a problem and offers some thoughts on solutions. Over my working life the one thing that annoyed me more than anything else was the ‘it will never work’ response combined with no alternatives.

      People complain daily about traffic problems that are caused by themselves when they make no attempts to find solutions. If people will not car share, use PT etc local authorities should ban private transport from their centres, full stop. Although I use a car, I am fed up with too many car owners believing the world totally revolves around them.

    • rose
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Norman and Prangwizard, my freedom and independence have been severely limited by other people’s cars and lorries. I can no longer go about on my bike as I used to, and walking isn’t much fun either. If I were a motorist I don’t think I would feel very free either as they all seem to clog each other up! Our problem is a shared one, far too many people, cars, and lorries. This is what has to be addressed.

      • John C.
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Nearly all our problems can actually be whittled down to one: too many people.
        No government will ever admit to this, and so will never solve our problems, which will inevitably get worse.

        • Dennis
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          John C. exactly right. These problems would never be if the UK population was around 10 – 15 million. Many user friendly ways to achieve this too. Coming problems of increased population was known in the 1950s when the world population was 2.5 billion.

          • John C.
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            We seem to be the only two people who see this. No hope,I’m afraid!

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      The Chideock speed camera caught 57,000 motorists in one year exceeding 30mph.

      The Dorset village must be a scene of perpetual carnage if 30mph through it is dangerous.

      It doesn’t look like a 30mph zone – that’s why so many are getting caught out by it, and by the lack of accident stats it seems it is drivers who are right and the police who are wrong and why lorries can’t get up the other side of the valley.

      Highway robbery. Literally.

      • APL
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Anon: “Highway robbery. Literally.”

        But the State is the thief, so that’s alright then.

        And of course, the state has the monopoly on weapons. No self defense for the ordinary subject.

  3. Mick
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Off topic
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/897121/michael-heseltine-brexit-jeremy-corbyn-bow-group
    This muppet should not only be kicked out of the Conservative party but also out of Great Britain into his beloved eu along with all the other leeches who want to be ruled by Germany, I’m getting very fed up with all these parasites coming out against my country and in favour of Europe, if you love it that much then bugger off and live there bye bye you will not be missed muppets

    • Hope
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Tory party and govt advisor. Odonis? Clarke? All supported by May without censure or sanction, why?

      Osborne the other day made it quite clear on radio that he should have resigned as chancellor as he did not believe in govt policies! If collective responsibility applies he should have walked or be sacked. It convinced me what a discredited bitter person he was/is and how unfit for public office he was and never should be allowed in public life again.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I do not agree with Lord Heseltine, or for that matter much like him. But he is entitled to his views and the Conservative Party is entitled to act or not as it sees fit.

      As for him leaving the UK, as far as I am concerned where he goes is his business, but who comes here to work, settle and integrate is ALL of our business. This is OUR home and we should only invite people that will work and help make it better.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        Agreed.

        Heseltine lost the plot many years ago, but that is for the Conservative Party to discipline him should they wish to.

        I wonder why he and his like still like to live in the UK given the EU is such an attraction.

        Actions speak louder than words so they sooner they back up their words with actions the better.

        Quite why Cleggy got a knighthood and Farage is still vilified, is beyond me.

        Seems like the establishment are still very much in power

        • Hope
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Alan and Mark are both wrong. It is our business when he is entitled to vote in the Lords under Tory whip and is appointed as an advisor to the govt. He is in a position of influencing the laws of this country and should be subject to scrutiny by the electorate. It also shows why politicos from the HoC should not get a second bite and additional pension in the Lords. Therefore he should be censured lose his advisory role and lose the whip.

          • Hope
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Mark,,you are also wrong about people invited here to work. Unfortunately this is not the case now or in the future despite our vote to leave. Rudd has sent an open letter to all EU citizens telling them their family can come here, that is irrespective of age or irrespective of work and irrespective whether our public services cannot afford the 20 million or so concerned. I agree wi the sentiment but it is not based on reality now or in the immediate future. May has truly sold the country out, as Hunt put it May’s Brexit or no Brexit and the leavers MPs are accepting it. Helena was right about phase one in the blog before Christmas. Time to wake up guys.

  4. Mark B
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A very intelligent and well thought out article.

    The only questions to me that arise, are one of liberty and privacy. It is not beyond reason that the owners of rental and driverless cars will wish to fit tracking technology. We already have this in the form of mobile phones but, I can choose to leave my phone at home and not be tracked. I can also be tracked whenever I use public transport via my Oyster. But again, I can choose to use money when possible or, a private taxi and pay cash.

    It is not that I have something to hide as some may suggest, but those that know me know that I am very much against big state and governments. Such things have proven to be quite literally dangers to both personal liberty, freedom and life.

    The personal car provides freedom of movement. For me to use a rental car I must first travel to the rental place. Then queue, then register and then, when finished, return the car and travel back to my home. This is quite some task ! I wonder if our kind host does this on a daily basis ? Perhaps it is time that MP’s ‘before’ they pass laws actually try to live under the rules themselves.

    Driverless cars are quite possibly the future. But what of insurance ? Who will ultimately be responsible ? I can see a legal minefield with all this.

    With all the traffic on the roads today and public transport under enormous strain, once again I say, we need to tackle the root cause and not try to look for complicated, expensive and possibly pointless solutions.

    • John C.
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Root cause? Too many people. Technology will not solve this.

  5. Duncan
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Hands-free driving will demand constant driver monitoring in case of inevitable mechanical or technological breakdown. DMS is being installed now as we speak and has been used now for years in off-road trucks in mining.

    GM is currently installing Super Cruise (CS) in their high-end vehicles. CS is a DMS (Driver Monitoring) system that has at its heart a tiny camera that is installed at the top of the steering wheel. This camera continually monitors the attentive state of the driver by analysing the dilation of the pupils of the driver and emits warnings through various means when the system detects a diminution of driver attentiveness or the possibility of the driver falling asleep at the wheel

    Such a system has been in use now for years and has been used extensively by Caterpillar in their off-road trucks

    DMS can also be used by the driver to control various functions in their car simply with the use of blinking and staring

    Of course the vile State will see all of this as the perfect opportunity to introduce monitoring of all kinds to promote tax revenues, monitor movement and police our behaviour

  6. Nig l
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I am not a cyclist but would be if it was safer, so envy people on the continent who have vast networks of dedicated lanes. I know our roads are narrower etc but national and local government have completely failed to even try and address this issue. In my area I cannot think of one scheme. HMG should set targets and demand action to benefit us and the environment.

    We have an obsession with grass verges that more and more people park on anyway. Why not ban the parking and turn them into off road dedicated safe havens or make more urban streets one way to enable a cycle lane to be included on the road, I could then cycle to my local shops/doctor etc and eliminate 80% of my car journeys.

    • John
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Places where bikes are used lots, such as the Netherlands, tend to be flat. The UK is very hilly.

      • rose
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        We have lots of steep hills but they aren’t the problem: the fumes and traffic are.

    • rose
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

  7. jerry
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “The average UK private car travels less than 8000 miles a year. This means it is only in use on the road for 11 days a year. For the remaining 354 days it is parked.”

    Wrong, yes they might be only used for those 11 days but they are available at a moments notice for the other 353 days.

    “self driving cars removing the need for a driver”

    Can we please debunk the idea, there will be no such thing, what is being developed are autonomous cars, not driver-less – there will always need to be someone qualified and in a capable state to take control should systems fail.

    What is it with politicos, these ideas along with PPM road pricing that will track vehicles, whilst I suspect thay are trying to find ways to square the cost/income circle at the DfT within roughly the current budget (that are far to low), most people will just see it as Big Brother wanting to curb our freedoms within the law.

    • agricola
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      For once Jerry you are spot on.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Or they are on the road almost every single day doing 22 miles – to and from work, the shops, schools, the doctors, the chemists, dentist, banks, grandparents …….

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      I don’t suppose insurers will want to cover solo cars either.

      Present levels of revenue collected from cars are returned to the state at 75% – a mere 25% going back into roads. No more tax, thank you.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Then the motorists have to pay in their time stuck in jams on top of that!

    • Chris
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Gosh Jerry, I agree with you. May 2018 prove hopeful!

    • libertarian
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Jerry

      I agree with you, totally.. You must be coming round in your old age… Lol

  8. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    You don’t need a car until you get one, and your life becomes configured to be dependent on it.
    The density of car ownership, given the available parking, is excessive in some areas.
    My suggestion is to make the driving test very much harder than it is today, reflecting in part the roads having become so much busier. With less people passing the test, there will be less need for parking cars.
    I think it would also be a good idea to subject anyone convicted for a careless driving offence to a re-test. This might relieve the roads of those whose driving skills have lapsed.

    • agricola
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Why not just stop importing people at a rate of 600,000 plus each year, most of whom are to serve the needs of the ones you imported in previous years. The NHS is a classic example of such accelerating need.

      • APL
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        agricola: “The NHS is a classic example of such accelerating need.”

        The government runs the NHS, it runs the teaching hospitals, I presume there are NHS janitor schools too, but the government can’t manage despite nearly a hundred years of experience, to put enough trainees through the teaching hospitals such that the supply of trained doctors and nurses is sufficient to meet the demand of its own operation.

        The government is incompetent.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      One can also make the public transport option more convenient and affordable. That does not require high subsidies as the continental experience shows. A lot depends on population density and where that is high, proper combined private/public infrastucture can be very effective. It may need different business models for the rail and bus operators though.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Then expect house prices in areas of high employment to become stratospheric.

      It is already hard enough for kids trying to live responsibly and independantly to drive cars. £4000 insurance.

      Are you trying to make them hate you ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Get rid of the litigation culture, the no win no fee system and the massive insurance fraud that exists. The legal system need sorting out.

    • jerry
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      @Dave Andrews; If we prevent people from driving, not because they are not fit to drive but because the state has conspired to prevent them the Govt. would then need to radically improve the plentiful provision of PT at all times of day and night, both urban and perhaps more so in country areas, so why not just do that anyway, if the fares structure was such that it was cheaper to use PT than running a car only those who truly need to use a car or van would do so.

      As for your suggestion about careless driving offences, well that always assumes the police actually prosecute the correct person, the person who caused the accident and not just those who became involved in it – it is often said that many who cause accidents never have accidents themselves, they just see them in their rear view mirrors, assuming that they bother looking!

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        In regard to the last comment, I also think there should be a “rat-line” to report poor driving. Anyone reported 5 times, say, would need to submit to a re-test. That might also help to curb road-rage, as cut-up drivers would have a non-violent avenue to vent their frustrations.

    • sm
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Dave, I disagree with your first assertion, unless you happen to live in a city with ample public transport and a plethora of taxis/mini cabs.

      Parking is a problem, especially in any area containing listed buildings, but it is not insurmountable if addressed rationally rather than hysterically.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    There are many issues to be resolved before we all end up using rented, self driving cars. Among them are: insurance responsibility and reliability; maintenance and cleaning of rented vehicles; the taxes that will be levied by central and local government both to replace the current high levels of tax on the private car and to protect public transport; working out a viable business model; redesigning the car as we know it for use as a rental vehicle. My guess is that we shall see early efforts to resolve some of these issues from new entrants to the market in countries like China where the state can more easily impose it’s will.

  10. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    John do you realise what a rip off some if these car hire companies are? You can end up with a bill for hundreds of pounds and at the least, with all insurances etc to pay for, a big bill to hire for a short period anyway. Hiring on a permanent basis just would not be practical for a lot of us. The trains I use are often cancelled for no good reason at the last major town leaving people with the problem of lugging shopping, children, buggies etc onto a bus or phoning someone to come and get you. That won’t be easy if they have to hire a car. Forget this idea John. There will be riots on the streets and quite rightly so!

    Reply It is happening through Uber and other hire options for urban travellers. I am not recommending it and certainly not wanting to make it compulsory! Do sometimes allow intelligent exploration of ideas and social trends.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply It just won’t be viable everywhere unless public transport improves dramatically in rural areas and companies just don’t want to invest in the rural areas. Same with broadband. We don’t have a hope in hell’s chance. We can’t even get deliveries of food from major supermarkets where we are. They stop about 4 miles away from us. I am well aware that those living in cities like London don’t own cars but they have a fantastic public transport system and for many like our friends, it’s free. I recently had to present myself to A&E at night and my car was a God send.

  11. formula57
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Extensive internet shopping means most of my supplies are delivered now, much reducing my car usage over what it would be if I had to collect goods myself. I do foresee some onerous delivery tax levied on a per parcel basis as government adapts to tap new revenue streams.

  12. agricola
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Renting transport as opposed to owning your own should be a matter of personal choice. Any compulsion would be a political hot potato.

    Consider this thought on driverless cars. Air travel is much safer than road travel, a fact. Would you be happy to fly in a pilotless aircraft; I thought not. Driverless cars are a long way off if ever. Government cannot sell guard less trains when the technology is available to do away with the driver as well in a situation that lends itself to such a system. The period when there is a mix on the road could prove very fraught and highly dangerous. Ask yourself who gains from such a situation. It is certainly not those who currently have the freedom of their own vehicle. It offers greater government control of the individual, a further step on the road to “1984.” The only plus I can see would be the blameless attrition rate on mindless cyclists.

    Public transport in the UK is third world and grotesquely expensive. The first act of government should be to correct this to the point where it is the transport of choice. Another thing the government could positively encourage is working from home. For those who sit before a computer all day what is the point of commuting for 2 or 3 hours a day to do so. This could reduce the need for ever more road and rail use.

    Much of the decay of many town centres can be laid at the door of local government through lack of affordable parking. Government both national and local is a committee. Committees are renowned for producing camels when horses are required.

    • agricola
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      So what is wrong with this submission.

  13. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    A mix of public transport, clever taxation, disregarding NIMBY when it comes to infrastructure (MPs should look at the public interest at large, not only their personal electorate -or is suicide not an option when it comes to one’s own seat? ) and modern work practices with flexible starting times.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      The NIMBY is a good barometer to detect when the country is full.

      Fine. Disregard him.

      Scrap Government too then. Think of the savings !

      • jerry
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        @Anonymous; “The NIMBY is a good barometer”

        No it is not, all it tell us is who can SHOUT the loudest, not who is correct or what is for the best.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Jerry – wrong. A NIMBY deselects his MP when his area goes downhill on their watch.

          • jerry
            Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous; Sorry but something tell me that you do not actually understand the accepted definition of a NIMBY. Yes they might well conspire to unseat their MP but that does not mean the NIMBYs are correct or even have much local support, just that they only want what they want and nothing else – most of them are nothing but an undemocratic bunch of rent-a-rants in my opinion!

      • rose
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The NIMBY does an essential job which should be valued. He looks after the heritage where the Quangoes and Local Government fail.

        • John C.
          Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Well said.

        • jerry
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          @rose; “[The NIMBY] looks after the heritage”

          In my areas, if the NIMBYs had their way some years ago one of our lovely town centres would not have been pedestrianised, meaning that damage to centuries old buildings would have continued, meaning that the old centre of the town would not have been restored as it has been in the years since.

          We have on-going new green field housing estates being built in my area, typical NIMBY activity at the planning stage though, many of which came from NIMBYs living in 1970s era green field housing estates, complaining about the lost of green fields – Was this concern about the loss of green fields, so why did they buy in the first place, or was their concerns really about the risk that their own house value would decrease as the available local housing stocks increased?

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    JR: “The average UK private car travels less than 8000 miles a year. This means it is only in use on the road for 11 days a year. For the remaining 354 days it is parked.”
    An example of a nonsensical, derived and misleading statistic. According to your statistic the average UK private car travels 727 miles a day. It is quite possible to use a car every day of the year and still drive less than 8000 miles. You need only to observe the ever increasing congestion on our roads, exacerbated by government both national and local, to know that cars are not parked for 354 days per year.

    Reply The equivalent – of course typical use is a few miles each day with most of the time parked

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Why didn’t you write that instead of quoting silly derived statistics? Possibly because politicians do such things on a regular basis? Far from enhancing their arguments they serve to make them readily dismissable.

    • jerry
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      It is quite possible to use a car daily, and frequently each day, but still cover less than 8000 miles pa. A more meaningful debate might be on How and why cars are used.

  15. David L
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Many years ago my partner and I chose to live where we do because so many things were in walking distance and our need for a car wouldn’t be essential. Since then, out of town shopping, closure of local hospital facilities, over-pricing of public transport and developing family demands would have made life without a car a huge problem. Luckily we have a driveway for parking, but our road is a constant unofficial car park for commuters who can walk to the station, an obstacle course for emergency services and a nightmare for tradespeople with nowhere to leave their (often large) vehicles. The hitherto green verges are churned up mud. Ok, so it’s “First World Problems”, but it’s becoming unpleasant and unacceptable for many residents; several have sold up and left.

    • jerry
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      @David L; “Since then, out of town shopping, closure of local hospital facilities, over-pricing of public transport”

      Well, one might suggest that some people (perhaps not you personally) chose their politics, cast their vote, paid their taxes and now live with the consequences … but now bleat about how bad things have become since.

    • rose
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      “First World Problems” are going to develop into third world problems if we carry on increasing the population like this. When an African population increases at this rate we are all be concerned for stability, resources, etc.

  16. Edward2
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    There are two projects underway regarding autonomous vehicles.
    One is nearly ready the other is a few years away.
    The first is where the driver can switch on a sort of auto pilot and let the car steer itself and alter its speed by itself.

    The other is the fully driverless vehicle where the vehicle needs no human involvement.

    There is a revolution in road transport approaching.

    • jerry
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      “There is a revolution in road transport approaching.”

      Yes, politicos are trying to put a couple of Genies back in their bottles, whilst others who think they see an ‘opportunity’ try and cash in, nether truly understands why people like to drive, those who wish to be driven already catch a bus, train or hail a taxi….

      • Edward2
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        It just another choice.
        Choose auto gearbox or manual
        Use cruise control or don’t.
        Take the train, get a taxi or just walk.
        It’s up to you.
        But autonomous technology in cars vans and lorries will very soon radically alter the way we get around.

        • jerry
          Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Edward2; You are getting confused between driver aids and autonomous technology.

          “But autonomous technology in cars vans and lorries will very soon radically alter the way we get around.”

          No it will not, what will these autonomous vehicles be, hovercraft?!

          If the public will not accept pilot-less passenger aircraft, with all the years of inbuilt safety systems both on board and on the ground, do you really think they are going to just roll over and accept “driver-less” motor vehicles and that’s before lawyers start arguing about possible liabilities should the on board AI unit make the ‘wrong choice’ or fails without a human back-up ready to take instant control of the vehicle.

          The “Driver” is safe for sometimes to come…

          • Edward2
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            I suggest you stick to subjects you know a little about Jerry
            This post of yours demonstrates you have a very limited knowledge of vehicle automation and the various advances in autonomous technology that is developing fast and is already on sale.

          • jerry
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; I suggest that you stick to subjects you know a little about. Unlike you I actually work in the motor trade, and have done for many years now, unlike you I do not get my technical information from magazines, Top Gear or off populist internet sites. Unlike you I understand how vehicles work currently and thus how they will need to function safely in the future, with the correct error and fail-safe systems.

            As I said, I have no doubt that further driver aids will be deployed, making them semi autonomous is you like, but these vehicles will NOT be driver-less, there are simply to many variables both inside the vehicle and out, our highways are not closed-systems like the DLR is for example were full automation works well.

            The way you dismiss all concerns does nothing but make me wonder if you can actually drive, have ever driven, perhaps not, hence why you are so keen to seem driver-less cars. Re-read this entire debate Eddie, you will note that many who I regularly disagree with, and you readily agree, share my concerns and not your hyperbolic enthusiasm.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 30, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Jerry
            You came back to this site after a long lay off with some very good posts.
            Your alternative view is useful.
            But you now have reverted to personal attacks rather than decent debate.
            Sad.

  17. Epikouros
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Montreal Canada does have a car hire system. So I am told. Cars are place strategically around the city and they can be hired by the hour, day, week or month or parts thereof(not sure exactly how that works). How well it works I do not know. One problem no doubt is if a hirer damages a car without reporting it which in the UK is more likely than not. Not to report it that is.

    When all vehicles are self drive then that would make vehicle hiring very practicable(just dial one up and when finished send it on it’s way again) and would of course considerably decrease accidents as most of them are caused by driver error. It would also increase road capacity and traffic flow as drivers and current systems are inefficient are doing that. Computerised systems would undoubtedly improve that efficiency. For the whingers though the downside will be that fewer vehicles would be owned (only for off road enthusiasts) so less would be manufactured and so lead to job losses. They would also be fairly uniform in appearance as they will no longer be sold on their looks but on their utility and safety.

    • Epikouros
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Another advantage of self drive hire would be that domestic parking spaces would no longer be needed so as to free up more land for other uses. No more roads congested with parked cars. No more frustrated drivers looking for parking spaces. The benefits must be immense.

      • jerry
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        @Epikouros; Care to explain how and what those who hire these cars do that requires them to hire the car in th4e first place if they will never park outside their house or someone else’s, be it on the street or drive-way. Will they have to walk to/from were ever they hire the car from, will that mean having children and luggage in tow, or will the hire company deliver the car, if so were do you think the car will be left until when ever?

        Hire cars do not remove the need to have domestic car parking!

        • Epikouros
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          They pull up outside to the nearest point where you are or wont to go then they leave. They charge by the journey like a taxi but they will be cheaper as they will utilised more frequently and there will not be a driver cost. So they do not have down time stood outside waiting to be used. They may even do away with trains if it is cheaper to take a self drive car on long journeys which it may well be as road vehicles and roads are cheaper to build and maintain. It does not take much imagination to work out how driverless vehicles are going to revolutionise transport. If it was not for unions and their safety scaremongering all trains could be driverless now.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      You’ll get fed up of clearing out other people’s McDonald’s cartons, puke, Starbucks cups…

      This is not happening.

      What happens to all the rush hour auto-hire cars outside the peaks then ?

      How will the companies that have to leave them standing idle most of the day make a profit ? An extortionate hire price, that’s how.

      • Epikouros
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        If they are not being used then they will return to depots just like buses do now. As for abuse of use then yes that will happen but pertrators can be deterred by on board surveillance and complaints from the next user and as all hirers will be identifiable as they will have to pay with a system like a debit card (cash would not be practicable) they can easily be tracked down and punished. If a vehicle arrives so badly contaminated then the vehicle can be sent back to the depot to be cleaned and a new one quickly ordered.

        • jerry
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          Epikouros; “If they are not being used then they will return to depots just like buses do now.[..//..] If a vehicle arrives so badly contaminated then the vehicle can be sent back to the depot to be cleaned and a new one quickly ordered.”

          So even more congestion on the roads, not less, perhaps doubly so as hire vehicles are ‘rejected’ by the next customer and a replacement is obtained (which also causes customer delays), duh!

          “but perpetrators can be deterred by on board surveillance [..//..] tracked down and punished”

          Big Brother strikes once again, not only do it know home address (from credit card), where the travelled from and were they went, but also know what happened inside the vehicle, and no doubt there will also be a microphone to for good measure…

          • Epikouros
            Posted December 30, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            Yes there well maybe a microphone as an added safety measure and for other conveniences. As for congestion. No that will be drastically reduced compared to now. It is crass to suggest otherwise. Big brother yes that is an ever present danger and we should do everything we can to fight it but in this technological age we cannot fight the means so we must invent the methods to stop it being used to gain power over us.

          • jerry
            Posted December 30, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

            @Epikouros; You said yourself that hire cars would “return to depots”, that means extra cars on the roads when in the past they would be parked up. Then you said that dirty cars could be rejected, the “vehicle can be sent back to the depot to be cleaned and a new one quickly ordered”, that means (unless the customer is to be badly delayed) one car returning to the depot whilst replacement is sent out, that again means an extra car in on the road, possible two if the customer would have been travelling in a completely different direction. It is crass to suggest otherwise…

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Well yes, but the problem is most people need their cars at similar times, bank holidays, weekends … so hiring is not likely to work very well in most cases. Unless you have loads of hire cars equally unrented for most of the time. Also you have to pick up the vehicle (perhaps two (time two way) taxis journeys, deal with the paperwork, insurance, licence and check the vehicle condition well (or find you get mugged by the hire company for damage you did not do like a windscreen chip or flat tyre. So load of hassle and cost relative to owning you own. Anyway second hand cars are so cheap anyway and often better, simpler to maintain and more reliable than new ones. The new ones are too complex and have more to expensively go wrong.

    Also when the car is not being driven it is still being “used” it might be parked at work containing items needed later or waiting for you to come out of another shop while holding other shopping. If you rent a car unless it is made very local and very convenient for short rentals. So you will generally rent it for a few days anyways and it will be not be used most of the time. I often rent at airports for say 5 days but drive only for 12 hours or perhaps less.

    Driverless cars will indeed come but not for quite some time. What happens when some one stands in front of the vehicle to stop it while others mug the occupants I wonder?

    Parking is indeed a problem if we fail to provide sufficient parking spaces in the right places as we do, but not otherwise – even more of a problem with electric cars are they need hours to charge and need very frequent & longwinded charging. While the occupants have to hang about waiting.

  19. Bill
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    So the average car is only used for 11 days a year, but covers 8000 miles, making 727 miles a day?

    Yes, of course that’s right.

    Reply Yes, if you assume it is driven continuously which of course with a single owner is not going to happen.

  20. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    There has never been, to my knowledge, a proper analysis done on journeys made throughout the UK – Surely this should be done before we go making major road changes.

    More needs to be done to stop people using roads/trains by encouraging more use of Broadband.

    Why does the government encourage ever more cars to go on the road, increasing congestion, constantly – by subsidising car manufacturers?

    • David Price
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      There have been analyses, you just have to look for them, eg;
      – DoT Transport Statistics GB reports (2002 onwards)
      – 2013 RAC report “the car and the commute”

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Fast charging of batteries can easily waste over 30% of the (electrical) energy as wasted heat just in the charge. With current technology electric cars are not green and not very practical for most people. Wait until they get them working & economic and certainly do not force tax payers to subsidise other people to buy duff technology early and virtue signal.

  22. Chris S
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I’m approaching this subject from the position of a dyed-in-the-wool petrolhead but even I can see the sense in people renting cars when they only need one occasionally.

    There are, of course, a wide variety of usage patterns within the large group that drive around 8,000 miles pa. Many will use their car every day, or, at least, each day that they go to work. Their average commute would be 15-16 miles. For them, renting is not an option and there may well not be an alternative of public transport.

    If you live and work in London or Manchester, you might only leave the city a few times a year and, if you then went by car, to rent one would be much more cost effective. However, there are already car sharing “clubs” which are an even better option and far cheaper than a straight rental. They look to me to be the best way forward for many city dwellers.

    I went to a lecture at Jaguar cars in November and the head of their research department on self driving technology said that full self driving cars i.e. vehicles without a steering wheel at all, are many years in the future. For the time being, then, these can be disregarded.

    I’ve driven two different Tesla models recently and their self driving mode is extremely impressive, particulary in heavy traffic, but it works only in favourable circumstances and requires the “driver” to keep in contact with the steering wheel.

    Active cruise control and radar controlled braking, slightly less advanced than fitted to Teslas, are already available as optional extras on many new cars. Eventually this will eliminate almost all rear end and many other type of shunt but only when a high proportion of all cars on the road are fitted with the technology.

    That will take at least another eight to ten years but my classic cars will always require their driver to remain alert 100% of the time !

  23. Peter A
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    My 20-something son & daughter cannot afford a car, they rely on (1) cadging a lift (2) public transport and (3) Uber taxi. The Uber taxi is in fact an essential part of the daughter’s life. One day maybe they will learn to drive, but even that small step to car ownership seems to be a major difficulty.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Uber are great, so why are the government, the courts, Hammond/May/Mathew Taylor report and the EU attacking them and others like them? Let the customers & drivers make their own choices, they are the ones paying.

      The convenience can mean there is no need for many to own a car.

      Get the damn government out of the way please as usual. Tell interventionist, controlling, socialists to get lost.

      I refuse to use the rip off Black Cabs anymore.

  24. APL
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    JR: “The first is more people switching from owning to hiring a vehicle when they need one ”

    You are suggesting there should be a rationalisation in the auto manufacturing industry.

    Otherwise known as, fewer jobs. Put that in your election manifesto, along with the pensioner tax that worked so well last time.

    Reply Do try reading what I write. I am not recommending, but asking what trends might develop.

    • APL
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      JR: “We need to make more off road parking provision all the time we run on our current car ownership model.”

      Or, the government you support could stop immigration, and allow the population of the UK to decline naturally.

      In the medium term, that would arrest your parking problems.

  25. alan jutson
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    John have you ever gone through the complexities of ever trying to rent a car, with all of the complexities of the terms and conditions, fuel and insurance policies, as well as collision damage waiver plans that in reality are no such thing.
    The damage to the car not being recorded until you challenge the condition before acceptance, the verbal agreement that you have returned it properly until you find your credit card debited a few weeks later for some spurious claim.

    Car rental is an absolute disgrace allover the World.
    Until that is resolved with more sensible terms and conditions hiring a car is a last resort.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      A proper and all inclusive taxi or private car hire (with driver) service would surely be preferable to expanding actual car hire.

      At least with a taxi service they pick you up and drop you off when and where you want to go, not so sure Uber was the correct answer or model, but at least they tried in spite of Establishment pressure to stop them.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Self drive is far more efficient and cheaper than having a professional driver. Often a taxi has to make two journeys to pick up and drop off – both there and back – just for one useful one useful journey and he/she want a salary too.

    • Rogue traders
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I fell victim .One really does need to thoroughly inspect the car prior to renting for scratches and creamed over scratches etc, locking mechanisms, window opening, wiper function, lights.etc. They will con you on fuel too. Fell victim on that one too, just once! They can temporarily make your fuel gauge show more fuel than true. This happened in a service garage. They swap light bulbs too in the matter, even a fuel pump! Heaven knows what else. Far too little official scrutiny of everything relating to car hire and maintenance. Too few jails to deal with matter.It is like how banks and insurance companies behaved, deliberately stealing from you is considered part and parcel of the business model. Non-inspection by government is seen as a kind of official permission too.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Rogue traders

        Anyone who has rented a car especially abroad, would agree with all the points you make about fuel, dents, scratches (even to the windscreen), tyre condition (you missed that one) and the function of all vehicle equipment.
        Also a green levy now charged by some companies for battery replacement and tyre wear, not mentioned when you book.
        £150 to repair a puncture also not unusual, hence a call to the local garage
        to repair it sensible before you return vehicle.

        In the now rare event we do rent a vehicle, we photograph every single panel and the dashboard with ignition on , all with a copy of that day’s paper in shot before we leave it with them.

        Also insist on written agreement on the rental contract that all is acceptable on its return, although this can take an extraordinary amount of time to complete.

        Seen and know of far too many people who have been scammed over the years.

  26. Driving Forward
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Looking hence, and I’m lucky in being on the older end so time is stumped, democracy and children will be scarce. In this tiny country at least.
    We all wish a car, a house, a garden, another house and car and garden for we are divorced. Children of course, first time , perhaps a second time, bigger houses, bigger cars, off road parking more and more roads to cope. It can go on. It will. But then a UK government will need to say no more of this nonsense. You can’t say this must, with democracy, and with anarchistic procreation.
    Canada can cope with a voting Mr and Mrs Rabbit with a car for some time yet. Not the UK

  27. Anonymous
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The automated car does not cure the problem of parking.

    If the automated car is not to be parked it has to do double the mileage to leave and return to the passenger.

    The hired automated car will be no more available (nor cheaper) than current taxis – which (at £4 a mile here) are utterly uneconomical for commuting, school runs, shopping. They work OK for occaisional social, airport usage.

    The big problem is with peaks. Nearly everyone who has a car needs it at more or less the same time as everyone else.

    We know full well that the car sitting outside is doing nothing most of the time and it is an embuggerance to own one – it still works out far cheaper and more practical than hiring though.

    The country was not designed for the number of people currently living in it. That is the problem with modern transport, not the vehicles we are using.

    If we continue at the present rate of population growth then cities with high rise living for unemployed people is the way to go – especially redundant UBER drivers.

    • rose
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Skyscrapers take up more room than traditional terraces because of the land lying idle in between. Very few people like living in them, or looking at them. In terraces people feel safer and get a little patch of outside too. If we hadn’t imported so many people between 1997 and now, those 1960s and 70s skyscrapers would hve been pulled down, as planners and architects had eventually come round to understanding what an aberration they were.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I would have thought that within the next 20 years there will be very few domestic car owners with most journeys being carried out by summoning a driverless taxi.

    As ultra light materials come into play (a car that could be lifted with one hand), the subsequent 20 years could see flying cars (again summoned as a taxi) and very few roads.

    This would bring us a major productivity improvement, more convenience, less pollution and less accidents

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth – driverless taxis will have to be provided in such numbers that they can cope with peaks.

      For most of the time they will sit idle.

      Remind you of anything ?

      (The last thing they will be is cheap for the user.)

      • Kenneth
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        If you want to be the sole occupant at peak times – yes it will no doubt cost more – but far less than owning and running a car I suspect, as long as the taxi companies are in a free market of course.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Car parking is a problem . It is now almost impossible to park in my nearby Benson and the result is local shops find it uneconomic to survive . The increase is building has not been commensurate with extra facilities – no more school places , extra strain on the excellent surgical practice , traffic density etc etc .

    Cars and the freedom of transport are more important now than ever before so any form of constraint would have serious consequences to my way of life ; public transport is available to visit Oxford and Reading , but the location of the bus stops are too far away for my walking or anyone’s capability to carry shopping . There are two cars in my household – one is used on a frequent daily basis and the other does approximately 2000 miles per year . The need for security and cover outweighs the chance to get rid of one of them . John has raised many important points in the post this morning but , as it stands , I cannot see a solution fitting my case .

    • Kenneth
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      I don’t understand why shops facing this problem do not get together and buy a plot of land between them that can be used as a car park

    • rose
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Once again, the only answer is, curb the growth of population. People are probably moving out of the big cities to where you are, in response to too many other people moving into the cities

    • Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Much the same where I live. The local council’s solution to the traffic congestion brought about by new building is to increase parking charges! We also have the same problems with schools and doctors.

      We can use our pensioners bus passes to get to two near by towns, but it is almost a quarter of a mile from our home to the nearest bus stop. Great for small shopping, but, even so, one doesn’t feel too safe in either………… So it’s the car and a twenty mile drive to the next nearest town if we want to browse around the shops.

  30. Shieldsman
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Population growth, this is the real problem. The birth rate of the indigenous population may be falling, but it is more than compensated for by migrants and their birthrate. Go into the Maternity Unit in any major hospital and check on the the ethnicity of the mothers.

    Electric cars, driver-less cars our politicians read too much Sci-fi.
    Where does the flat occupier re-charge his vehicle? How will the extra electricity demand be met?

    One of the pleasures of owning a car is the ability to use the Highways and Byways and go where you want when you want.
    You could control a car by voice command, but you would still have to direct it and have the visual ability to slot in with other traffic.

    Duncan Sandys, the Minister of Defence, produced the 1957 White Paper on defence, in which he more or less said aerial combat between manned military aircraft was at an end. The missile was the offensive and defensive weapon of the future.

  31. fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Reading this again John. I have no problem in the suggestions here but not if those who choose to keep their own transport are penalised financially for the ‘privilege’. I already go by train into Glasgow to save the bother of traffic jams and parking but I need a lift into our local town as the buses don’t link up with the train times. It’s either a taxi at around £6 for one way or a lift from my husband or friend, hence the need for a car. With no pavements and lighting some kind of transport is a necessity. For city dwellers I can see the idea taking off.

  32. BOF
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I am in the 8,000 miles a year bracket. I use my car most days but not often at pre arranged times as I am retired. I do not wish to regulate my life as I used to so I wonder how it will work with fleets of self drive hire vehicles having to cope with millions of peoples random whims to go somewhere, and then to oblige that passenger’s further random wishes to either go elsewhere or go home? How big will these fleets of vehicles have to be?

    Toss into the mix that they will be electric and will be victim to random energy supply due to the utterly insane energy policy as pursued by consecutive Governments and driven by the even more insane and damaging Climate Change Act.

    I am confident that I will personally be driving a diesel car for years to come.

  33. Ian
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Good Morning.
    “It is also related to the development of the automatic car, which would be easier to hire in as they would come round to your home when you needed one”. Isn’t this already available? It is called a pre-booked minicab!

  34. Norman
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Don’t know whether to be amused or perplexed by this discussion. I live in a beautiful rural county, where it would be unthinkable to go without a car – or about 100 years ago – a horse, (and subsequently, good, affordable public transport). As for driver-less cars, is any machine 100% reliable? They’d probably balk at our smaller country roads!
    Quality of life is such a big factor in all this, and I suspect any radical change will be driven by a balance between personal preference, convenience, and necessity. Meanwhile, it’s great to be ‘far from the madding crowd’.

  35. Peter
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    There is little advantage and major hassles owning a car in London. I can get to the centre of town more easily on a train. I do not have to worry about finding a parking space or congestion charges.

    There are 24 hour buses. A car is useful for going to the golf club where a parking space is guaranteed or a shopping mall or late at night when traffic has eased. A car means you cannot drink alcohol so socialising, for many of us, is thus limited.

    There are car clubs for Londoners who rarely use a car and do not have a garage. They make sense.

  36. Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m far from convinced that self-driving cars will come in the near future. Surely self driving trains and trams should come first, and so far we have very few, mainly on point to point services. If we can’t manage that when there is no need to steer the vehicle, and in the case of trains, no problems with pedestrians, how are we going to manage cars which not only have to be steered, but have far more potential obstructions to their movement and need to travel over various routes?

    I feel the solution is actually encouraging families to have a second small car, like the “Smart Car” possibly electrically powered for local journeys. As it is we have a large family car, needed for holidays and longer journeys or for when the family all go out together. We’d love to own a tiny car for shopping, but the costs of tax and insurance put us off.

    Car hire is a non-starter for most oldies, it becomes progressively more difficult and expensive when you turn 70, and for an 80 year old, well just forget it.

    I read today that more people are buying on-line than ever before, perhaps this is the future with many shops ceasing to exist; whether the increase in white vans will equal the loss of cars is a question for the future!

  37. Andy
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    You miss the real long term game changer – which is self driving cars you hire. Why have a car permanently sat outside depreciating when you can request a self driving one whenever you need it? This is the way technology will go. It will virtually eliminate the need for private car ownsership and car parking will no longer be a problem as the car will not need to park in a city centre. This change will happen in my lifetime.

    Legislators have a key role to play. Self driving cars are demonstrably safe. They’ve clocked up millions of miles with few incidents. It becomes harder when they are put in to an existing infrastructure full of bad human drivers. The main question is a moral one. If a self driving car is put in a position where it will either kill or serious injure its passengers or kill or seriously injure an innocent passing pedestrian who does it pick? And who is then held responsible?

  38. BobE
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    You are 50 years from driverless cars. The noise about them today is to obtain funding. Not a chance with current digital systems.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      They are already on sale.
      It’s just government that has yet to catch up.

  39. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I see the government are moving towards a pay-per-mile toll road policy. Obviously scared that with a switch to shared cars they’ll collect less revenue from drivers – that’s the most important thing for them.

    • John C.
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Nearly all policies have the ultimate aim of restricting travel- and why? Because there are too many people in our country, and politicians won’t admit this.

  40. Julian
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Self Drive cars will not be in the picture long term. What will happen is that they will be brought in and then cause lots of accidents and will then be retired – expect for self contained flat grid -ike environements. The reason for this is as follows:
    Google, Tesla etc develop driverless cars in warm, dry backwaters of the USA. The roads are flat and the road network is a grid of blocks and or long straight roads. If you have driverless cars in complex, heavy traffic in hilly environments and wet or frosty conditions the software and hardware will make mistakes and cause accidents. Imagine a 4 in 1 hill in Devon on a single lane track with passing places or a busy roundabout in London where traffic is always edging and pushng in – these conditions are literally foreign to the designers of these type of vehicles. They cannot code for all road conditions and you have to!

  41. Duyfken
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I should like to see a different approach to personal transport. Let’s have another additional car per household.

    As a development out of the motorised wheelchair, golf buggy and the Sinclair C5 perhaps, could there be developed a “shopping buggy”, being a battery-electric one/two seater enclosed vehicle for short local runs. With the smaller size and limited range, it could be more convenient than getting the large saloon out of the garage to get the bread and milk or to drop the child off at school and so on. It would take less room on the road, allow easier parking and facilitate general access.

  42. David Price
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Interesting things are certainly happening to personal transport, shared car services have already become established in Berlin (Drive Now, Carpool) and Paris and are quite practical for large conurbations here (Ubeeqo in London).

    My guess is there will be an increasing move to personal transport as a service – instead of selling you a vehicle the “dealers” sell you a service and for the £300 or so a month people currently pay to have a personal car they would provide you with a vehicle to suite your needs when you needed it but it would be shared. You would have a small two-seater city car for your daily commute, a larger utility for a weekend break and a large people carrier for a family vacation, but only for the time you needed it to make the journey.

  43. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The government is desperate to control our movements hence their fixation with public transport.
    Getting us into driverless hire cars gives them total control over demand. At peak periods they could delay their movements.
    Luckily the technology for both driverless and electric cars is years away from being a reality.

  44. libertarian
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Interesting thoughts for discussion JR, but how about broadening out the discussion ?

    Why do we need to drive so much or indeed use public transport to commute. Why not actually invest in digital infrastructure and provide tax incentives to work from home, or local hubs ( I do have a vested interest i admit)

    Why has the public sector been allowed to treat parking as a tax revenue raiser ? ( NHS raised over £174 million in parking fees,, WTF !!!!! Why are there double yellow lines and restricted parking almost everywhere? All of this could be handled far far better , but its another government cash cow.

    Locally we have a charity that rents mopeds with driver training and the right clothing to companies for the use by apprentices and trainees in rural areas without public transport . Costs £120 per month, (includes VED, insurance, breakdown cover, & servicing ) how about encouraging more schemes like this

    Rather than clamp down on companies like Uber , why not work with them to help run small scale rural bus services and mini buses and shared pickup cabs

    The most important thing by miles though is for government to STOP seeing everything in terms of revenue generation and start to provide services, or allow others to provide services that help our citizens and not to repeatedly milk us dry

  45. A different Simon
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Who asked the electorate whether they wanted self driving cars on UK roads ?

    You (politicians) have no mandate for it !

    Who are you taking your orders from , Google ?

    • Edward2
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s not compulsory.
      Just another method of travel.

  46. nigel seymour
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to own a couple of Ferrari’s, a Porsche and the most expensive Mercedes that money can buy. I don’t give a monkey’s about climate change and green cars. Never had a problem with parking as I drive to places that have free parking. Never paid to park in a hospital car park as there are always spaces to be found on public roads nearby (RBH).

  47. CeeDee
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Many privacy issues with driverless cars. All your journeys would be logged, Big Brother would know everywhere you’d been, what time, for how long, who with, etc etc. As for car hire when it’s needed, maybe someone can explain how the average pensioner will afford a hire car when public transport isn’t suitable. They don’t all want to be stuck in their homes 24/7 but that’s what could happen. It is very much about freedom of movement and there is an air of Agenda21 about it all. And as for road- space, get the freight off roads and onto rail, get shot of the dreadful juggernaughts, they are really terrifying these days.

    • nigel seymour
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      excellent comment re juggernaughts and freight shifted to trains.

  48. Fake Economics
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Rebecca Long-Bailey Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ( Labour ) plus Matthew Hancock Minister of State for Digital and Culture ( Conservative ) did separate soundbites for Sky News reassuring us all still unemployed British since the Industrial Revolution 1760-1840 and the Luddite period beginning 11 March 1811 and carried on by Corbynistas to this day that we should not be afraid of new technology.

    No, we will not. Robots do not have money to buy the goods thus produced.

    Also Brexit Minister Davis on the insistence of persons like Long-Bailey, has made sure three million EU citizens “who we need as they work largely in low paid unskilled jobs British workers won’t have ” will stay here for ever and, their relations.

    So, we cannot expect anything from the increase in automation except more emails, printed pages of nonsense, and lots of carrots from Boston. Lincolnshire ( what no automation of farming and food processing???). Obviously not.

    Our chief Brexiteer Mr Davis is planning a low-skilled foreign workforce…but we will all be enabled to see in the dark and dig burrows, by hand.

  49. Zerren Yeoville
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    “… it is less likely to catch on in rural areas where people depend on cars and where it is more difficult guaranteeing hire car availability when needed.”

    That’s putting it mildly. People who live in areas where the answer to the question “When is the next bus?” is most likely to be “six minutes” often seem to forget that there are large swathes of the country where the answer to the same question (if you’re fortunate enough to have a service at all) is most likely to be “next Friday.”

  50. Marcus Nichols
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I understand your posting rules do not allow comments with obscure links. The link below is offered for your information even if you prefer not to post it to the public-facing side of your website blog.

    There are 2nd order effects of electric / autonomous vehicles that not many people have really begun to think through.

    Benedict Evans argues that changes in car technology may lead to a reduction in smoking related deaths, reduced need for new roads, reduction in the need for street parking, dramatically lower per-mile costs of transport, huge reductions in transport related employment and transport tax revenues, major changes in urban planning requirements, increased use of city centre after hours entertainment venues, and even a resurgence in the popularity of rural pubs.

    A

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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