Traffic Jam – Ten years of ‘sustainable’ transport in the UK
” Labour transport policy ‘failing’ ” screamed the headline on the BBC On-line news page this Sunday. By Monday the article had vanished from the BBC’s news feed and could not be found via the BBC’s own search engine. However, the review of Traffic Jam – Ten years of ‘sustainable’ transport in the UK by Iain Docherty and Jon Shaw remains on-line – if you know where to look for it!
Docherty and Shaw dismiss ten years of government transport policy as “a big disappointment”. They say that, a decade after Labour outlined its new deal on transport in the White Paper, A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone, government has failed to cut traffic congestion, ignored the need for railway investment and neglected walking and cycling.
In 1998, the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said he would regard himself as a failure if, in five years, traffic congestion had not fallen and public transport use increased.
Traffic Jam highlights the areas where government has failed:
- Traffic congestion is worse than a decade ago;
- The investment needs of the railways have been almost completely ignored, in particular to increase capacity;
- Bus services in most of the UK have remained poor, especially in comparison with the rest of Europe;
- Tram schemes have been abandoned, despite proving effective at getting motorists out of their cars;
- Apart from some high profile flagship projects, walking and cycling have been largely neglected;
- The government baulks at addressing the environmental impact of aviation;
- Transport carbon emissions continue to rise.