Road traffic, I mean, not blog traffic. Everyone agrees that there are too many cars on Britain’s roads. Other people’s cars, of course. What we don’t agree about is what to do about it. Some say, “Build more roads.” Others, “Make driving more expensive.” I’m sure that there’s a case to be made for shifting the economics of private vs public transport, but that’s a long term issue and we have traffic congestion now. Something needs to be done right speedily if this place is not going to come to a complete standstill.
I have a partial solution to offer. which I confidently predict will be ignored completely by anyone with any authority to actually do anything about it.
We could create more space on the network without building a single yard of road. The simple expedient of reducing the speed limit to 55 mph would automatically allow more vehicles in. Secondly, the existing ‘matrix’ system could impose further compulsory reductions in top speed when traffic is heavy. Theoretically, this already happens on parts of the M25, but my experience suggests that the temporary speed limits are completely ignored. We need not only reduced speed limits on crowded roads, but draconian penalties for the breaking of them. As well as keeping the traffic moving (which is, after all, what traffic is supposed to do) these measures would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve road safety to boot - without costing anyone anything in tax or toll.
It won’t happen of course. Cars are bought and sold with speed being a key selling point. Most motorists would argue that speed limits on motorways are too low - even when they’re sitting in a line of stationary traffic.
Perhaps “queueing theory” should be intoduced into the national curriculum?