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How Ya' Gonna' Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?

Telegraph | Motoring | Transport priorities? It's the autonomy, stupid.......

Bizarrely, the Royal Academy's own report, Transport 2050, contains less mechanical engineering than social engineering. Though it acknowledges the need for more infrastructure investment and technical innovation, the cornerstone of its vision is "True Cost Charging" of travellers -pricing that reflects "the real costs of journeys to themselves and to society". In effect, this means using the market to change our behaviour by adding the cost of pollution, congestion and accidents directly onto the cost of travel.

"Restraining demand" for transport is only part of the RAEng's strategy, alongside "maximising use of existing capacity" and "the creation of new capacity through infrastructure and technology", but it's a surprising policy suggestion from industry's traditional problem-solvers.

Although increased opportunities for travel are credited with improving "wealth creation and quality of life", the report then rapidly shifts focus onto the adverse effects on health and the environment, and the explicit suggestion that the future of British transport should involve shorter journeys and more walking and cycling. Never mind bio-fuels and hydrogen, the fuel of the future may well be a substantial breakfast.

Today's engineers certainly seem reluctant to take credit for the social and economic advances made possible by improved transport systems, both a catalyst and consequence of the industrial revolution, and they are unwilling to look forward boldly to a future in which engineering will contribute to even more freedom of movement.

When Telegraph Motoring contributor Austin Williams warned a few years ago that transport policymakers were effectively proposing that people (especially the poor) should be geographically constrained in a manner not a million miles from the feudalism of the Middle Ages, some thought he was being alarmist. Has such a short-sighted and pessimistic vision now become the accepted wisdom?


While people continue to feel that their own part of the world isn't good enough they will continue to travel. Brian Aldiss described tourism as "The last vestige of the great Bronze Age migrations." But even for holiday travel, within Europe, there are alternatives to polluting and fuel-hungry air travel: the train for example.
But maybe we do need to work towards letting people feel included in their home communities so they won't feel the need to travel around so much. I don't see why we need this fifth terminal at LHR: HMG describe the growth of air travel as 'inevitable'. To misquote Christine Brooke-Rose: "Nonsense. Evite it at once". Just because something happens doesn't make it inevitable.

Damn good thing sir ... keeping the plebs off the roads. They only block up the roads with their smokey old cars

Have these clowns been infected with Islam, that religion seems to want to keep people in poverty. I doubt that the highly paid idiots you quote will give up their cars. Still the USSR had a "no cars" policy for the peasants so that the leaders and hangers on were not inconvenienced.

Funny, I thought I already paid for accidents through my insurance policy. If not that, what else is it for?

And as for congestion, who exactly is this a cost to? The actual people on the road I would have thought, not the d***ed government.

And when they say "use the market" what they mean is "rig the market to get the outcome desired by the goodthinkers".


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