Monday, 4 May 2009

Why UK roads are so clogged

The next time you are stuck in traffic, meditate on the following facts:

  • Back in 1971, half of all households didn't own a car. Today, it is less than a quarter.
  • Over the same time, two car households has increased from 6 percent to almost 30 percent.
  • In 1971, it was almost unknown for households to have three or more cars. Today, six percent of households have a fleet of at least three cars parked outside the house.

    Add to this, population growth, and limited road construction, and you have the perfect recipe for massive road congestion.

    Mark Wadsworth said...

    Nah, it's mainly traffic lights that give the illusion that roads are clogged. Whether somebody owns one car or three cars is neither here nor, as you can only drive one at once.

    I must confess, we went from being a no-car household until last August to being a two-car household as of last week. They must put something in the water in Essex.

    mkz said...

    It's probably because more people are living with their parents for longer.

    Anonymous said...

    The cost of a small hatchback is in real terms now half what it was in the eighties; I teach students who drive cars, eat out regularly, buy throwaway fashion, binge drink at cheap pubs before going on to late-nighters at clubs, and have their hair dyed and tinted regularly. (Oh, and half of them cannot write grammatical English.)

    All a sign of growing prosperity, perhaps? Or a sign of a weak economy which can only provide rubbish service sector jobs to half of the UK population ( - based on a poor educational system, about which the squandering quality 'agencies' crow, as they drain the public finances).

    B. in C.

    T' old 'un said...

    It is not surprising. Just think about the following:-

    Public transport fares
    Public transport speed
    Public transport comfort
    Public transport hygeine
    Public transport safety
    Public transport convenience

    plus what goes on inthe back seat

    John East said...

    We have much to thank Gordon Brown for including economic collapse, punitive road management policies, and green taxes.

    Road congestion will soon be a distant memory.

    Macheath said...

    I suspect that back in 1971, many more people lived near enough to their place of work to walk or use public transport. As car ownership grew, so did the distance people were prepared to travel, until driving became the norm.

    Just ask any school over 30 years old about the change in the proportion of pupils who now arrive by car.

    Anonymous said...

    There has been a flight to suburbia over recent years ( often illserved by amenities). Public transport is all that T'old Un points out. And the country is importing people too. And the quality of driving is appalling - aggression and down right ignorance being commonplace nowadays.

    Man in a Shed said...

    Look on the bright side, there's a logical limit on the number of cars that can get on the road. We just need to build for it ....

    electro-kevin said...

    American style shopping malls and supermarkets without American style roads to back it up.

    It will be very difficult to go back from this now.

    electro-kevin said...

    Cars are highly expensive to own and run - especially in depreciation in high cost UK. The higher the excise and insurance (linked to endorsements) the more we are inclined to use them in addition to their original purpose (commuting perhaps) in order to get value for money. So come the weekend out comes the car - ditto for shopping, breaks, doctor's visits, friends and relatives ...

    In fact it would be madness not to utilise a car in favour of public transport when so much dead money is already wrapped up in them.

    Anonymous said...

    Traffic lights and ever lower speed limits don't help people are on the roads for much longer.

    Having said that most of the congestion occurs at the two daily rush hours.

    Therefore they hould skew the tax system so people who choose to live near where they work get credit.

    Less congestion = less pollution and less casualties.

    DBC Reed said...

    Anonymous said.. criticises his students for not writing grammatical English and then writes
    "Less casualties".Its a countable noun mate, therefore "fewer casualties."

    DBC Reed said...

    Before you say it,"Its" should have an apostrophe to distinguish it from the possessive.Dangerous game pedantry as I have so often found to my cost!

    Anonymous said...

    DBC you are correct on fewer/less and its/it's but while concentrating on the fine points of pendantry you have made an incorrect assumption.

    Anonymous is always the same person lol.

    English is not one of my strong points so I would never criticise others, especially on a blog where you don't know the other person and where English may be a second language.

    If you assume something you make an ass of you and me - Ass-u-me lol

    The original point is important because too many useful idiots think reducing speed limits and impeding cars are the best ways to reduce casualties and cut pollution. It is their pedantic adherence to their personal biases and incorrect assumptions which mean valuable resources are being squandered, simply serving as an inconvenience to many while failing to address almost all of the problems.

    Anonymous said...

    "Therefore they hould skew the tax system so people who choose to live near where they work get credit."

    Yeah, that's what we need to do - f--- around with the tax system again. Anyway, if the thought of not having to sit in traffic for ages isn't enough of an incentive to get one to move closer to one's job, then I doubt some minor tax credit will be.

    Wouldn't work for me - I've no incentive to move closer to my job as the company could well go tits up and I'd just have to move again.

    Anonymous said...

    Anomynous B. in C. says:

    Dear DBC,

    I can write grammatical English - you are commenting on another anonymous commenter's English. I comment as B. in C.


    B. in C.

    Anonymous said...

    People who choose to live near their work?

    Planning zones, mate, planning zones.