Easing road congestion

Road congestion stems from three main  causes. In some cases it is a simple lack of capacity for ever growing traffic volumes. Governments accepting large numbers of new people to the country every year need to upgrade road space as well as adding extra NHS and schools capacity.

In some cases it is the deliberate mismanagement of traffic on the existing roads. There is the endless substitution of traffic lights for roundabouts to delay vehicles, allied to poor timing of traffic light phases. There is the failure to provide left hand turning lanes and filters, or to segregate right hand turning traffic which may not be able to  turn when the light first changes to green. There is the deliberate reduction of lanes on busy roads causing delays in traffic merging. There is a failure to supply alternative cycle lanes to prevent friction between bicycles and motor vehicles.

In other  cases it is temporary disruption. It may be  caused by Highways works with missing lanes and temporary lights. It may be the joint decision of utility companies and Highway authorities to place most cables and pipes under main roads and to insist on digging up the roads every time they need access to their systems instead of placing utilities in locked conduits with easy access. In some  cases it is the decision of taxis or delivery vehicles to double park to offload, blocking the highway. In some  cases it is not allowing pull ins for bus stops.

I am going to produce few blogs examining how some of these problems can be reduced, and set out how a Highways authority that did want to cut congestion could make a difference.

103 Comments

  1. Mark B
    June 20, 2022

    Good morning.

    Cars have become both more reliable, safer, efficient and, cheaper compared to when they were first introduced. This has meant that there has been increased car ownership not just per person, but per household. It is not uncommon now to find that some households have two or even more that two cars. As a result we now find ourselves in a situation where we have more cars on our roads than ever before. This has led to both increase congestion and pollution, the latter of which must be tackled as this has an effect on business making deliveries.

    People need to ask themselves, “Do I need that large second or third vehicle ?” I am not against the car as I see it as a vital, especially for those living in rural and even suburban areas where public transport is limited to non-existent.

    We need to look at car ownership in a new way as I feel ease of ownership has led to greed by a very few to the detriment of many. I am not anti-car, far from it, as some know I have placed and order for one but, I have done so because after over a decade of not needing one, I do now !

    Reply
    1. Cynic
      June 20, 2022

      The costs of owning and running a car are considerable and show how much people value the convenience they provide. Why , then, are politicians so opposed to cars and seek to actively frustrate their use?

      Reply
      1. Malcolm Frank Parkin
        June 21, 2022

        Politicians are being ‘advised’ by the greenaloons that cars are bad.

        Reply
    2. BOF
      June 20, 2022

      A rare disagreement Mark B. In many cases, it actually saves road miles when a family has an additional vehicle and one vehicle only will result in extra trips to take one family member to work and then used to take the other to work or children to school. This especially in areas where there is little or no public transport.

      Blame government war on the family and most women having to have a job.

      Reply
      1. Mark B
        June 21, 2022

        It is good to disagree. I always entertain a different perspective. Something Remainers here may learn from 😉

        Reply
        1. Ed M
          June 21, 2022

          I am both a Brexiter and a Remaniner (Ha!)

          Really.

          I believe in Brexit as an ideal with the right leadership and plan in place.
          And a Remainer until that right leadership and plan is in place (although I completely support Breixt now as the country voted for it – and Remainers need to shut up and get on with – although at same time we have to stop this mentality of us versus them ‘Remainers’ versus ‘Brexiters.’ It’s divisive.

          Reply
    3. Everhopeful
      June 20, 2022

      +1
      Those who sit in lofty authority have NO idea of the lives they have foisted on us.
      THEY and they alone are the ones who made cars a thing of necessity.
      What person in their right mind would have a super powerful metal object flying along within yards of dwellings and even nearer to pedestrians? Yet that is what they did.
      And now it must be changed and again we will be forced accept the unacceptable.

      Reply
    4. formula57
      June 20, 2022

      @ Mark B – the greed you identify of those owning multiple vehicles is mitigated somewhat is it not by them only being able to congest and pollute with one at a time not several?

      Reply
    5. Lifelogic
      June 20, 2022

      Well my family have four cars (with different abilities – a seven seater distance, holiday car, a towing car, a small city car, a convertible) but we do not do that many miles overall in them but we do occasionally need four cars for the five of us at the same time. It is not the number of cars you have but how much they are used.

      Reply
      1. Mark B
        June 21, 2022

        But do you need them and, do they take up parking spaces that others may need ?

        A family that use to live in my road, nice people, had many cars and, despite having three on their drive still took up spaces on the road forcing others to park further away.

        So people really need a car each ?

        Reply
    6. glen cullen
      June 20, 2022

      I’m against all forms of government social engineering – including telling people what they can buy, how many they can buy, what type and when they can use it…our freedoms are precious

      Reply
      1. Mark B
        June 21, 2022

        I agree. But I have observed that people are not always as considerate and, just because people can, should they ?

        I see more greed than need especially during the SCAMADEMIC when people bulk bought.

        Reply
    7. Mark
      June 20, 2022

      Many people can only afford to run one vehicle, and that needs to meet all their regular needs. That means it may have to be big enough to take the family plus luggage away to visit relatives or go on holiday and have the range to manage the journey, even if some of the use is just for one person to go shopping or the dentist. The most common second car is a small/cheap runabout used for commuting. Very few are wealthy enough to own multiple large cars, and in any case they can only drive one at a time. It is not a traffic problem.

      There are a few households where there are adult children still living at home who may also need a car to get to work etc. Normally they would have already established their own households, but the property bubble means it is hard for them to afford that and therefore they save while still living with parents. It would be quite the wrong thing to prevent them from having access to transport.

      Reply
    8. Chris S
      June 20, 2022

      It does not matter how many cars a person owns. I have five, two of which are 50 and 67 years old and two others are each more than 20 years old. I can only drive one at a time ! My wife has two. Ditto. By far the most miles are done by my one modern Cat 6 diesel car which meets all current emission standards.

      Reply
      1. Mark B
        June 21, 2022

        Chris

        If you park them on your own land I think that is fine. But if, as I suspect, you park them in the street then I must ask if that inconveniences others ?

        It is up to you how many and what vehicles you drive, or for that matter what you do with them. But do you really need them ? That is the question.

        Reply
    9. Malcolm Frank Parkin
      June 21, 2022

      A basic reason is that cars are much larger. Over the years they get bigger while roads remain as they were designed for the small cars of the 1960s and 1970s. I see Range Rovers so large that you could bring up a family in them.

      Reply
  2. DOMINIC
    June 20, 2022

    No one can accuse our esteemed host of avoiding some of the most contentious issues of the day. There’s method at work

    Reply
    1. Donna
      June 20, 2022

      Our esteemed host does, at least, give the peasants an opportunity to voice their opinions; reads them and sometimes responds which is a great deal more than most so-called representative MPs (mine included).

      I for one appreciate it.

      Reply
    2. Everhopeful
      June 20, 2022

      +1
      True.
      But if you mean what I think you mean…
      the comments wouldn’t be printable.
      Or could moderate/everyday subjects be in line with the Online Gagging Bill?

      Reply
    3. formula57
      June 20, 2022

      @ Dominic – recall we have not had a Highways authority eager to cut congestion for many a year so Sir John trespasses on ground left fallow by neglectful officialdom. Thank goodness he does for Ministers seem unable.

      Reply
    4. Lifelogic
      June 20, 2022

      Unblock the roads, stop giving 60% of the road space to perhaps 5% of the traffic in the form of bus lanes and bike lanes. Switch of most traffic lights as they cause congestion not reduce it. More parking spaces so you do not have to drive round in circles looking for spaces! Small efficient cars are often far better, more convenient, more direct, more flexible and better on CO2 than public transport and cheaper too. Or would be if the tax subsidy system was not rigged.

      Many business trips would require two days and a hotel by public transport and just one by car. How does help productivity plus you cannot carry tools or store shopping or luggage easily.

      Simon Clarke – Chief Secretary to the Treasury on just now saying inflation and cost of living problems are largely worldwide and beyond this government. Complete B/S Simon (do you really think this or are you just lying) it is caused by money printing, the pointless extended lockdowns, the bloated and inept government, mad over regulation of everything, the net zero expensive energy lunacy, the pointless lockdowns, the manifesto ratting vast tax and NI increases, the triple lock manifest ratting, the ineffective and often dangerous (it seems from the stats for many) Covid vaccines, the test and trace £billions wasted, the vast number of “loans” for largely worthless degrees, insane over regulation like the appalling new attacks on landlords, the generally useless public services like the NHS, police, ambulances, DVLA, passport office, border force …

      Reply
    5. X-Tory
      June 20, 2022

      And nor can anyone accuse our esteemed host of failing to publish off-topic posts from anyone who wants to talk about something else.

      My only disappointment is that he seems to publish far fewer replies to posts than he used to. Maybe he’s become a lot busier with his new backbench reponsibilities. The fact that his talents are wasted this way rather than used by the government by putting him on the front bench is, on its own, reason enough to consider Boris a traitor to Britain.

      Reply
    6. Sir Joe Soap
      June 20, 2022

      Indeed. Chuck £16bn at the rail system, spray cash anywhere and everywhere, induce inflation then leave the ring claiming lack of involvement and let the recipients fight it out.

      Reply
  3. PeteB
    June 20, 2022

    You do not mention the lack of development of trunk roads since the 1980’s. This largely seems to be due to nimby/eco-warrior resistance linked to Government policy of discouraging road use.

    Have a look at the history of the A303 Stonehenge bypass. 60 years of shambles.

    Reply
    1. Fedupsoutherner
      June 20, 2022

      PeteB. Include the A27 in that. Arundel by-pass has been talked abut for at least 50 years but they’ve got nowhere with it.

      Reply
  4. Nottingham Lad Himself
    June 20, 2022

    Isn’t it extraordinary, how all those immigrants who come here to live on benefits can miraculously afford to buy vehicles and to drive them, thereby causing all this congestion?

    Reply
    1. Peter2
      June 20, 2022

      You are being silly NHL
      Go on car sale websites.
      Thousands of cars on sale under a thousand pounds.

      Reply
    2. IanT
      June 20, 2022

      Over one million (enough to populate Birmingham) last year apparently NLH and I imagine one or two of them do drive a car – and need medical care, and need somewhere to live, and might have children who need education….

      Reply
    3. Fedupsoutherner
      June 20, 2022

      NLH. They may claim benefits but are you really that ignorant not to realise that many are working in illegal trades also? Of course they can afford a car. Many single parents on benefits run a car. Look around you.

      Reply
  5. Roy Grainger
    June 20, 2022

    The Government – both national and local – already have a policy to reduce traffic congestion, it is to price motorists off the road and it is working well.

    They have put in cycle lanes where I live but no-one has told the cyclists because they still ride in the car lanes or on the pavement as normal. I was nearly knocked over by one ignoring a red light the other day and when I pointed this out he told me to “F*** Off”. I don’t care any more that “it’s not all cyclists” – they ALL need to show identification and be licensed. We’ve seen on Twitter how anonymity encourages people to behave offensively and cyclists are the same.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      Some of the cycle lanes I use are dangerous. Very poorly thought out.

      Reply
  6. Donna
    June 20, 2022

    I await with interest Sir John’s blogs on the subject of reducing traffic congestion. But I’m afraid without addressing both Environmental Laws/Regulations and Health & Safety Laws/Regulations, he will be missing two vital components which massively affect the congestion on our road network.

    I smiled when I saw the admission that mass immigration has led directly to congestion. When Nigel Farage (correctly) pointed this out 10 years ago he was mocked. But he had, as Sir John now admits, hit the nail right on the head.

    What a shame immigrants can’t bring a section of roadspace and a house with them when they come here perhaps we wouldn’t then have a “congestion crisis” or “housing crisis” along with all the other crises which are being caused by too many people and too little provision for them.

    Reply
  7. Sharon
    June 20, 2022

    Oh yes, JR! Some of the delays are most definitely incompetence or deliberate. Every time the traffic lights, for example, are tweaked they cause more congestion, not less!

    I’d say all the efforts to reduce cars and congestion have backfired spectacularly!

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      Reminds me of the story that alleged the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, had the phases of lights changed deliberately to cause congestion ahead of any decision of the congestion charge.

      Reply
  8. Everhopeful
    June 20, 2022

    Whenever they do anything repair-wise or when there is a even a minor accident/incident they close off entire roads.
    Obviously this causes enormous dismay, fear and inconvenience.
    Which no doubt is the aim.
    It also causes congestion.

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      June 20, 2022

      They also don’t appear to work on the roads at night anymore

      Reply
  9. Iain Moore
    June 20, 2022

    Again it would seem it is the Government , national or local, who are making life miserable for us this time on the roads. The rail strike though does remind us how important it is that we never let the Government deny us the use of our cars, for once they force us into the hands of public services are freedom is gone, as we become dependent on expensive badly run services delivered by politicians and unions.

    Reply
  10. No Longer Anonymous
    June 20, 2022

    Adding large numbers of people to the population, indeed. Over a million visas issued last year according to rumours. Truly the government of Big State, Big Tax, Big socialism and by golly BIG immigration.

    To put that figure into something we can see. A million people is more than 11x full capacity Wembley stadium.

    The Tories are an existential threat to our civilisation.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      They need all those people to consume all those pounds they have created and keep a lid on inflation.

      Reply
  11. Everhopeful
    June 20, 2022

    George Orwell 1984 — ‘The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.’

    Reply
  12. Dave Andrews
    June 20, 2022

    Cycle lanes are rarely effective. Where there is space for them they’re not needed. Where space is restricted in towns and they would be really useful, everything has to pile into the same congested area and there’s no space for them.
    To reduce congestion, how about making it a default that no parking is allowed on the highway unless spaces are specifically marked? How often are you waiting in a queue behind a parked car whilst the traffic the other way prevents it being overtaken? If only this had been put in place at the beginning of the motor age, then everyone would have to have a garage or off-road parking if they wanted to own a motor vehicle. I resent the roads I pay for through my council tax being occupied by those not using them for their intended purpose of a highway.

    Reply
  13. agricola
    June 20, 2022

    When you have marshalled your ideas/solutions and have had them confirmed with responses, apply them to a selected area like Wokingham. From the experience apply those that are seen to work throughout the UK.
    As far as roadworks are concerned always budget for overkill. To often one experiences an improvement that when completed falls short of solving a growing problem. Additionally improvements attract traffic as an open jam pot attracts wasps.

    Reply
    1. Mickey Taking
      June 21, 2022

      The Transport (Road) Research Lab is sited just south of Wokingham!

      Reply
  14. Nigel
    June 20, 2022

    Yes best to avoid talking about things that are really worrying people – like train strikes,
    inflation, refugees, the GDP etc – so just what are we doing with all of this control we have taken back?

    Reply
  15. beresford
    June 20, 2022

    Two more things for your list:
    – the potholes that make some roads look like the Somme battlefield.
    – turning every crossroad into a mini-roundabout, where some drivers follow an exaggerated ‘correct’ path round the outside and others follow the ‘racing line’.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      – fading road markings not being repainted.

      Reply
    2. Mark
      June 21, 2022

      I lost yet another tyre to a pothole a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was after hours for regular tyre shops and I had over 100 miles to go to my destination on an essential journey, so I couldn’t just use the limited range spare to get a replacement and had to call out a mobile service at considerable expense.

      Reply
  16. Everhopeful
    June 20, 2022

    This rail strike won’t exactly help congestion will it?
    From the Telegraph …
    Mr Clarke said: “We don’t own the railways ourselves and it wouldn’t be right for us to substitute ourselves for the role of the employer. We recognise these strikes are a huge inconvenience for millions of people.

    “I absolutely want them not to go ahead. But it isn’t the case that we can put ourselves into the hot seat in place of the legal employer.”

    Errrrr…so WHO ( 🤭) exactly shut down the rail during the Plague Incarceration Period then?

    Reply
    1. Everhopeful
      June 20, 2022

      Along the same lines…
      Sign off extradition order for one yet put others in 4* hotels!
      (Oh dearie me… my little hands iz tied!)
      Yeah!!

      Reply
      1. glen cullen
        June 20, 2022

        Has that aeroplane taken off yet

        Reply
        1. Mickey Taking
          June 21, 2022

          the Pilot has started his next novel.

          Reply
  17. formula57
    June 20, 2022

    [O/T whilst disingenuously masquerading as relevant] I will not be adding to congestion today for I will not take my (German-manufactured) vehicle on the road as a protest against Germany’s Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck’s decision to resume use of coal-burning power stations. I am in shock etc. but what can one expect from an Evil Empire hegemon? Thoughts are with Carrie at this time.

    Reply
  18. Original Richard
    June 20, 2022

    Back in the 1980s I remember a traffic light controlled junction in SE London where two busy roads of equal size/authority crossed. The traffic queue on each of the 4 entrances was always about 50m/80m in length. One day the lights ceased to function and it took a couple of months before they were repaired. During this time the car drivers had to chaotically negotiate their way across in a ‘give and take’ procedure. There were no queues at all during this time but immediately returned when the lights were finally repaired. It was very striking how these particular lights held up the traffic.

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      June 20, 2022

      We never seem to learn from experience or history

      Reply
    2. Mickey Taking
      June 21, 2022

      the same goes for Loddon Bridge roundabout.

      Reply
  19. Lifelogic
    June 20, 2022

    With the housing problem you need more houses or fewer people. With road congesting you need more road space for cars or fewer people especially with driverless cars and taxis coming. Buses which can have average occupancies as few as 6 over the whole day are a major cause of congestion stopping as they do every few hundred yards, being large and cumbersome, taking very indirect and slow routes and being given half the road for 5% of the passengers.

    Caught a bus from East Grinstead to Gatwick recently (by car 20 mins) by bus nearly two hours door to door with the short walk, indirect route and only about 10 people on in on average. How can this be more efficient in any way? Be it energy, convenience, fuel, congestion causing…

    Reply
  20. glen cullen
    June 20, 2022

    There’s no point in attempting to fix the countrys congestion without first acknowledging that the car is king, the car is the peoples choice, the car is freedom…..but in the eyes of all political parties (less the reform party) its evil, the car is the destroyer of planets and by association all drivers of the internal combustion engine are also evil and need to be taxed from existence
    The government(s) needs to change its philosophy towards the people’s choice before it plans to improve road infrastructure

    Reply
  21. Christine
    June 20, 2022

    Congestion will reduce over time as the cost of driving makes car ownership prohibitive to many people.
    What the Government needs to reduce, as a priority, is the ever-increasing number of people it is allowing into our country every year.

    Stop companies sacking British workers and employing foreigners to replace them by increasing the minimum wage for obtaining visas to at least £40k a year.

    Reply
  22. The Prangwizard
    June 20, 2022

    My nearby small market town has recently been expanding towards the A road bypass and has now reached it, housing and retail straddling the short access road to and from it via a roundabout.

    Three new pedestrian crossing islands have been built in a roughly 200yd stretch to add to the one original; all have been made large to just under a third of the roads width. One road side is just wide enough for a bus to pass between them and the kerb. The other side has maybe another two or three feet.

    There are bus stops on each side of this section of road. It is inevitable of course that their stopping will cause traffic queues. Those back to the A road will clearly create blockages on the A road itself, and in addition if any cyclist uses the section on either side it will be impossible for the rider to be overtaken because the islands are obstructions.

    This will kill off the town. Boris and his government will like this as part of their other actions to ruin the country.

    Reply
  23. glen cullen
    June 20, 2022

    Congestion – I predict in eight years massive congestion at EV charging points, miles upon miles of EV either waiting in a charging queue or trying to find a working charging point with further hazards on the public pathway when people have to negotiate all the electrical cables crossing from terrace house to the car in the street

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      I think they have realised this which is why I believe they have stopped all the grants associated with EV’s.

      Reply
  24. Ed M
    June 20, 2022

    Don’t forget the richest man in the world, Musk, is making a tonne of money from electric cars.

    Don’t forget how the Chinese are absolutely embracing renewables like mad. China has been the biggest investor in renewable energy over the last decade, spending nearly $760 billion between 2010 and 2019.

    So the boys banging on about petrol are luddites and frankly quaint thinking the petrol car has any future. How can it? It noisy, pollutes our cities, dependant on Russia and other countries, price fluctuations, and when we need to be – and can be – 100% self-sufficient in fuel, in particular from wind but other renewables (and this type of technology is advancing / improving very quickly) and from nuclear as well to a degree. I for one look forward to walking the beautiful streets of London without hearing some lorry or car fill my ears with noise and my lungs with petrol / diesel fumes.

    Reply
    1. Mark
      June 21, 2022

      We are using just as much gas for electricity generation as we were over 20 years ago, despite the windfarms. Add more of them and we will need more gas capacity to keep the lights on, because we will be losing nuclear capacity, and we cannot rely on the wind.

      Reply
      1. Ed M
        June 21, 2022

        ‘We are using just as much gas for electricity generation as we were over 20 years ago, despite the windfarms’ – Hi. That’s a fallacious argument. Other factors could be responsible for this amount of gas consumption.

        ‘Add more of them and we will need more gas capacity to keep the lights on, because we will be losing nuclear ‘ – that’s another fallacious argument (if we lose nuclear, that’s not the fault of wind power, and if we add enough extra wind power, then we could meet the demand of nuclear).

        We got to keep this whole energy debate OBJECTIVE (whether it be from hysterical greenies to those who oppose renewables for whatever reason).

        Let’s have an objective look at the improvement of wind power over the years. Not only are turbines getting taller and bigger, they’re also increasing in power / capacity. The average power of wind turbines in the USA recently was 2.75 megawatts, an 8% increase in 1 year and 284% increase just over a 20 year period.

        So the data is that wind power is just getting more and more efficient. And that’s not rocket science. Technology normally improves over time (Wright brothers flying kite like plane to man sending man to moon 65 years later). Especially when there is a great hunger for that need – such as in fuel. And what is the reason for that hunger:

        1) We don’t want to be dependent on Russia and other autocratic-like states for fossil fuels
        2) We don’t want to be dependant on fluctuations in fossil fuel prices
        3) We want the the comfort of knowing that we can be 100% self-sufficient in fuel no matter what else goes on beyond our shores
        4) Then there is big pressure from the young (all my nieces posh friends, children of Conservative voters, at university are all greenies – and strongly so).
        5) Renewables ties in with the rise of the electric car (A) Hugely reduces noise pollution and (B) the pollution of fossil fuels in cities.

        I think loads of skeptics about renewables are now much less so after Pootin’s war with Ukraine and how we can’t be dependent on such states as Russia (and others) for our fuel – for our economy and the rest. So as it looks to me now, that the days of dependence on fossil fuels are numbered.

        6) Lastly, there’s a tonne of money to be made from green tech. And loads of entrepreneurs are now jumping on board. They have no time for people who are ideologically attached to fossil fuels for whatever reason they are.

        Reply
  25. Ed M
    June 20, 2022

    (But above all the tonne of money to be made in exporting electric cars and renewable technology / green tech in general)

    Reply
  26. forthurst
    June 20, 2022

    One excellent way of increasing traffic flow is to ban bicycles from roads where overtaking them is now considered unsafe under the new ‘improved’ highway code. If there is not room for a cycle lane without impeding traffic flow, then there is no room for bicycles on that road.

    Reply
  27. Brian Tomkinson
    June 20, 2022

    Whilst admiring your intentions you must realise that all these problems have been deliberately created by national and local government sos they have no interest at all in reducing them to reduce congestion. They want us off the roads and under ever growing state control.

    Reply
  28. turboterrier
    June 20, 2022

    The problems with our road infrastructure is mirrored by the HS2 Project.
    For decades developers build housing estates but the cost of upgrading the major roads is someone else’s problem.
    The price we pay for “cheaper housing”
    HS2 will get you from A to B but where is all the infrastructure to get the travellers to and from the stations?
    So you purchase a house or a rail ticket and experience massive grid lock traffic conditions when trying to get anywhere.
    Working with the major developers there was a rule of thumb figure that 1000 homes equates to 1500- 1700 extra vehicles but that was the problem for the local authorities. All off site costs for gas, electricity, water, sewerage, cable lines provision and upgrading is deducted from the price of the land.
    Extra schools places, doctors, dentists and other everyday essentials were left to others albeit the odd Medical Centre might be in the site proposals.
    To upgrade the road networks is going to cost very large sums of money and take thousands of acres out of food production use forever. Who is prepared to pay for it?

    Reply
    1. Ed M
      June 21, 2022

      Just too many people in this country.

      One thing would be great is if the government could just cover this island with as many trees as possible. This isn’t just about trees soaking up pollution and noise but also getting rid of all the grey (buildings / roads / ugly development all over the place) in the landscape otherwise future generations are just not going to prepared to live in one huge grey, noisy car park and that’s really expensive and stressful to live in.

      Reply
      1. Ed M
        June 21, 2022

        I don’t see the point of HS2. And all that money.

        Reply
      2. Ed M
        June 22, 2022

        ‘Getting rid of all the grey (buildings / roads / ugly development all over the place)’

        – hiding, not getting rid of, I meant.

        If someone in Parliament can get all these millions of trees planted around the country, I can tell you, they’ll be heroes. Seriously. The planting of trees everywhere is essential (also it attracts more foreign business into the country as there is good data to show that companies move to places which have attractive and have a good vibe. A huge weakness why business people won’t move to live in Frankfurt is because many people find the place boring. Really. Things can get as simple and straight forward as that).

        Reply
        1. Ed M
          June 22, 2022

          People in finance love to move to London not just because of the job opportunity but also because it’s a great place to bring your family – the wife (and kids) loving all the shops and culture and vibe etc. Something like that can easily tip the balance between choosing to live and work in say London or Paris or Frankfurt (and why companies are flocking to Berlin as it’s considered a ‘cool’ place to live and work).

          So another reason for protecting our environment – to attract foreign business.

          Reply
  29. Bloke
    June 20, 2022

    Two-way traffic shares road space risking head-on impact up to 140mph.
    One-way roads go faster and safer in any direction.

    The safest one-way road has 30mph max on its first lane with a hard shoulder along its left.
    A faster safer 5-lane one-way road has a hard shoulder, one lane at 30mph, and 3 lanes at 60mph.

    Drivers need to go home.
    So, you need a long straight path North and South.

    Which side of the Northbound 5-lane one-way road would YOU build the Southbound one-way road?

    If you put it on the East side of the Northbound road, you would have 10 lanes available.
    You would have two empty hard shoulder lanes side by side.
    Emergency vehicles, trains, buses or cyclists could use those.
    Or perhaps 9 lanes would be enough.
    A whole empty lane is an adequate safety space between 30mph vehicles.
    And your fast traffic would be at least 5 lanes apart.

    Or maybe you should turn it into a UK Motorway consuming 9 lanes.
    That way you could have your fastest traffic closest to each other.
    And you could build an expensive metal barrier lane just to keep them apart.
    And you could use both your hard shoulder lanes to endanger drivers who break down.

    Or you could wonder why you are stuck in such a great queue of waste, going nowhere at 70mph.

    Reply
    1. Mickey Taking
      June 21, 2022

      all too ‘bleedin’ obvious though.

      Reply
      1. Bloke
        June 21, 2022

        It’s not obvious to the Motorway designers. They could gain 33% more usable road space from the same surface area, but waste it instead. They position the two one-way roads with the fastest traffic closest together. That consumes one of their nine lanes with an expensive metal barrier needlessly. Also both directions each need a hard shoulder, whereas one central ‘emergency only’ lane would suit traffic from both directions as it is almost entirely empty and it is safely between two lanes where the maximum speed is 30mph. The designers chose a crazy option of so-called ‘Smart Motorways’ that turned BOTH hard shoulders into danger zones.
        It’s not obvious to you either, as there’s an error in the description you should have noticed had your eyes been properly on the road.

        Reply
  30. Everhopeful
    June 20, 2022

    Seeing as some top army bloke is warning the troops of “land war in Europe” might now not be a good time to get some borders again?
    After all this war is all about borders and sovereignty …isn’t it?

    Reply
    1. Mark
      June 21, 2022

      Perhaps younger new immigrants should do a couple of years of military service to prove their allegiance.

      Reply
  31. Graham
    June 20, 2022

    I can assure you that truck and van drivers do not chose to double park to make their deliveries , there is frequently no other alternative except to say “To hell with it, I’m off to get a non job in the public sector where I don’t have to work for a living.”

    Reply
  32. turboterrier
    June 20, 2022

    Slightly O/T
    With a lot of the panic and fear factor being experienced over the country”s transport usage and system driven now by Net Zero, which seems to be heavily driven by the policies of the UN.
    Is it not a little bit daunting that the UN has 193 member states and approximately 80% of the General Assembly resolutions are adopted by consensus without taking a vote?
    No wonder the whole world has gone hook line and sinker for all this 2030 unachievable targets. Where the hell is and where is common sense applied with the actual real costing of this OTT process, before scaring seven colours out of everybody who are basically accepting everything on the nod?
    No wonder government’s are getting away with all this nonsense when it’s controlled by faceless unelected people, not accountable to our electorate. Is it the UN needs reinventing to bring it into the real 21st century?

    Reply
  33. turboterrier
    June 20, 2022

    It would be very advantageous if laws were passed that excluded tractors and trailers to be banned from all major roads between the hours of 0700 till 1000hrs and 1630 till 1900 hrs on week days to remove the build up of traffic behind slow moving vehicles during rush hour periods.

    Reply
    1. Mickey Taking
      June 21, 2022

      the same for HGV.

      Reply
  34. a-tracy
    June 20, 2022

    When new housing estates are built on previous fields sometimes the extra 500 houses do get a new roundabout, so far so good, the problem with this is then further down the road the existing large housing estate has no eased egress with buses turning in and out taking ages and to add to that the two-car width road space was taken up by a standing pedestrian wait area in the middle of the road that causes everyone to have to wait in rush hour to turn left jammed up by cars unable to turn right, the road speed was reduced you’d think this would make things better but no, it creates an endless snake of cars with no gaps.

    Reply
  35. X-Tory
    June 20, 2022

    The main cause of congestion is simply TOO MANY PEOPLE. An island that can accommodate NO MORE than 50 million people comfortably now has over 70 million (including all those here illegally). Allowing the population to grow like this is, quite literally, madness. Unfortunately YOUR government, and YOUR prime minister have no intention of doing anything to solve this.

    The other cause of congestion is BOTTLENECKS. Too often you have two lanes that merge into one. And then you have tailbacks. Well, what a surprise! We need a policy of ROAD WIDENING to make all main roads in towns two lanes in each direction. But is this government policy? Of course not. The government has NO ANSWER to any of the problems that we face today, either big or small. There is no point in voting Conservative, as the Conservative Party is a complete waste of time.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      +1

      Reply
    2. a-tracy
      June 21, 2022

      On the tv they always talk of how much land the UK has they include all the hills and dales and uninhabitable land. They never discuss the availability of all our major cities, at least London has lots of parks, green spaces everywhere, river and canal walks throughout the City, Manchester is becoming like a concrete jungle I think Burnham forgets about trees.

      Reply
  36. turboterrier
    June 20, 2022

    Sir John.
    Your post highlights yet again as in so many areas of everyday life the old favourite:- left and right hand with no joined up thinking to operate in unison.
    If the cost of major road infrastructure was accepted as a essential off site cost to the land owner as are all the utility improvements then there should be no reason while actual build costs should rise. Tax breaks could be available to the land owner if extra facilities such as community hall or medical centres were a critical clause in the conditions of sale.

    Reply
  37. Ed M
    June 20, 2022

    It is now becoming more and more apparent that Pootin is essentially a Mafioso-style criminal in charge (dictator) in charge of Russia.

    This is who Trump thinks is a ‘smart guy’ and buddies up to him. Unbelievable.

    Bad enough that Bush and Obama didn’t stand up to Putin in the earlier day. But when Trump calls Putin a ‘smart guy’ and buddies up to him that’s the pits.

    I hope Trump is given the heave-ho and we never have to see him in politics again (if the USA wants to be great again it’s going to have to do it the hard way, like root and branch turn around its culture so that it is more focused on work ethic, entrepreneurship, the rule of law, being highly skilled, ands so on).

    Reply
  38. getahead
    June 20, 2022

    I understand, in Singapore, to own a car you must have off-road parking. Just a thought.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 21, 2022

      Exactly !

      Reply
    2. a-tracy
      June 21, 2022

      Price the poor of the road getahead, get behind me more like.

      Reply
  39. Mark
    June 20, 2022

    The French legislative elections show that democracy is increasingly undermined there. 53.8% of potential voters found no-one to vote for. The Ensemble coalition secured under 18% of the voting population, which is a very long way from any kind of popular mandate. Perhaps the French view the Assemblée as a glorified council, subservient to the EU. It will now contain a ragbag from the Extrême Droite to the Extrême Gauche that will struggle to achieve anything at all. It seems so far as the French are concerned that to the extent it applies at all, “Le loi, c’est moi.”

    Reply
  40. Lester_Cynic
    June 20, 2022

    Don’t worry, no one will be able to afford a car very soon!

    I drove into Bristol today and the number of bus lanes, cycle lanes all designed to reduce the capacity of the roads, 20 MPH limits, speed cameras everywhere, everything possible being done to discourage drivers

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      June 20, 2022

      The law is a arse when everybody ignores it…..and everybody is ignoring the 20 mph speed limits sprouting up throughout the country

      Reply
  41. DOM
    June 20, 2022

    In the last week I have noticed something quite disturbing. Across all political websites and at the same time the volume of public comments being posted across most sites except Con Woman has dropped dramatically. This development is also noted on John’s website as well.

    I wonder if the online crackdown has already started?

    Reply
    1. Mickey Taking
      June 21, 2022

      No its a natural reaction of boredom, watching 2022 F1, writing letters to newspapers, having a ‘pop’ at politicians…..the virus, the jabs, the tests, the party fines – they all suffer the same fate of delay long enough and people turn off.

      Reply
    2. a-tracy
      June 21, 2022

      Dom, don’t you think it is more likely due to the good weather, holiday season, and the number of posts per day spreading comments out?

      Reply
  42. Iain Gill
    June 20, 2022

    abd.org.uk already have a lot of good ideas.

    most of which would be a breath of fresh air to potential voters if the Conservative party actually took it on board.

    Reply
  43. glen cullen
    June 20, 2022

    I see from the debate in the HoCs today ref the second reading of the HS2 crewe-manchester bill…..is now not about ‘speed’ but ‘capacity’ …maybe they should rename the project HC2

    HS2…..it doesn’t go fast and it doesn’t go far but it will still cost £150bn when all is said and done….and it wont help with congestion on UK roads

    Reply
  44. ukretired123
    June 20, 2022

    Road Works were supposed to be given a National real-time early warning system by 2020 and notify all sat nav companies to streamline and simplify systems beneficial to motorists. Sadly it has gone off the radar since WFH and is long overdue like all good ideas or if it ever worked.

    Reply
    1. Mark
      June 21, 2022

      I do make use of the Onenetwork website that took over roadworks.org which is supposed to record all planned works. Unfortunately the quality of submissions is very variable, and details of the reasons for work are now often no longer given. The accuracy is also nowhere near as good as it could be. Diversion routes are only rarely suggested, and where they are tend to involve extremely lengthy routes. One of the worst offenders for poor information is the Highways Agency.

      What I have also found is that routeing software is not designed to take account of road closures ahead of time. So you can set off only to find that you need to divert when you get there, whereas anticipatory routeing might have used different roads altogether. Modern software is actually very good at suggesting routes that avoid traffic problems that are in progress, at least when you are close to them.

      Reply
  45. KB
    June 22, 2022

    The fault in this article is the assumption that the Highways Agency, or any other state body, actually wants to cut congestion.
    They do not, they are obviously instructed to create congestion. It’s the only logical explanation for their actions.
    It’s classic Problem->Reaction -> Solution. You create a problem (congestion), wait for the public reaction, then reveal the “Solutions”. Road pricing and more and more taxes on cars.

    Reply
  46. SecretPeople
    June 22, 2022

    In the borough where I live, the ‘Covid spacing’ lanes are still in place. These are road lanes that are coned off, supposedly to be used by cyclists; effectively compressed three lanes of traffic into two, or two lanes reduced down to one. This obviously creates congestion, slows the traffic, increases pollution. Rail strikes exacerbate this.

    On my way to work, on Monday and Tuesday this week, I spotted exactly zero people using these coned-off lanes. I saw one cyclist who was using the pavement, against the flow of traffic. Removing the cones would enable the traffic to flow freely.

    Reply
  47. SecretPeople
    June 22, 2022

    Well, I’m sorry, but successive governments at the behest of corporate interests and probably unelected pseudo-elite entities have driven us to need cars and to consume in order to build their wealth.

    Some years ago there were plenty of well-connected and frequent buses running, not to mention extensive rail networks – and public toilets! It was not necessary to take the car then, but it is now. If the elites now wish the plebs to be divested of their private transport, they will need to reinstate the infrastructure they destroyed.

    Reply

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