congestion, roads discussion

pete75
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby pete75 » 16 Aug 2019, 7:23am

[quote="Pete Owens"]
exactly the point I was making above (the bit starting "note pete75 ...")
It is free to the user (ie free in the general useage of the word)
[quote]

But it is not free to a user who is a tax payer.

pwa
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby pwa » 16 Aug 2019, 7:53am

pete75 wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:exactly the point I was making above (the bit starting "note pete75 ...")
It is free to the user (ie free in the general useage of the word)

But it is not free to a user who is a tax payer.

"Free at the point of use" is the phrase used. Paid for by society so that an individual in need does not have to find money to pay for their treatment when they are ill. Except for the dentist and the optician, which seems to me to an anomaly.

mattheus
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby mattheus » 16 Aug 2019, 8:35am

Pete Owens wrote:
mattheus wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:Now I am a leftie. I am happy to see us contribute taxes to provide facilities for the general good of society. It is good that people who cannot afford the necessities of life are provided for - ie free health and education from the general purse, I would like to see greater funding for social housing, social care, social infrastructure - parks, libraries. So I am far from a market fundamentalist, but even I draw the line at socialism for motorists. Privatise the roads - if there is genuine demand then leave the supply to the market. Let the state concentrate on modes of transport accessible to all rather than just those with the means and ability to own and drive a car.


Pete,
I have to disagree with your logic here - because I don't think it makes sense to treat motoring in a "free market" manner. Cars-n-roads have too many effects on those trying to avoid them - the space they take up, the pollution, the deaths they inflict. Plus all the subtle stuff.

Hardly an argument for state subsidy.

Certainly the state should be actively discouraging car use by taxing it to compensate for the external costs (eg pollution) imposed on society. We should regulate the safe design and operation - just as we do with private operators of other transport modes (indeed the conflict of interest in the state being both the provider and regulator of roads probably contributes to the reluctance to regulate properly due to the cost implications).

However, when it comes to the efficient allocation of resources - eg your example of the space vehicles take up- then even a lefty such as myself recognises the effectiveness of market mechanisms. Congestion is simply an imbalance of supply and demand - and this should be dealt with through the price mechanism. If more people turn up wanting to use your road then you can handle then put the price up - those that don't value the use of that road space at that time of day will not pay thus removing the congestion for those that do. If a lot of people do still choose to pay higher prices then this is a measure of genuine demand - and thus possibly making it worthwhile to expand the capacity.


OK, I see where you're coming from now. Does kinda make sense.

(It's still a tricky one though! All that congestion doesn't just affect the demand/supply - it increases the pollution. How do you factor that into the pricing?? But maybe I'm just creating problems ... )


Pete Owens
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby Pete Owens » 16 Aug 2019, 5:44pm

mattheus wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:Certainly the state should be actively discouraging car use by taxing it to compensate for the external costs (eg pollution) imposed on society. We should regulate the safe design and operation - just as we do with private operators of other transport modes (indeed the conflict of interest in the state being both the provider and regulator of roads probably contributes to the reluctance to regulate properly due to the cost implications).

However, when it comes to the efficient allocation of resources - eg your example of the space vehicles take up- then even a lefty such as myself recognises the effectiveness of market mechanisms. Congestion is simply an imbalance of supply and demand - and this should be dealt with through the price mechanism. If more people turn up wanting to use your road then you can handle then put the price up - those that don't value the use of that road space at that time of day will not pay thus removing the congestion for those that do. If a lot of people do still choose to pay higher prices then this is a measure of genuine demand - and thus possibly making it worthwhile to expand the capacity.


OK, I see where you're coming from now. Does kinda make sense.

(It's still a tricky one though! All that congestion doesn't just affect the demand/supply - it increases the pollution. How do you factor that into the pricing??

The bit in the first paragraph.

Use market mechanisms to sort the basic resource allocation - the building & maintenance of roads, the acquisition of land on which they are built and so on. Thus the decisions of whether to build a road or whether to choose to use a road at a particular time of day are settled by price signals.

Use a combination of taxes and regulations to address the external costs - pollution, safety and so on - just as we do with most areas of economic activity.

And in the case of the pollution caused by congestion, applying the price mechanism to remove the congestion, also reduces pollution as side effect.

pete75
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby pete75 » 17 Aug 2019, 7:54am

pwa wrote:
pete75 wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:exactly the point I was making above (the bit starting "note pete75 ...")
It is free to the user (ie free in the general useage of the word)

"Free at the point of use" is the phrase used. Paid for by society so that an individual in need does not have to find money to pay for their treatment when they are ill. Except for the dentist and the optician, which seems to me to an anomaly.


And prescriptions. Maybe there should be a small charge for a GP appointment so that people don't go with trivial things like a cold or flu. Nobody will begrudge a fiver though if they're ill it's less than two pints of beer. The money would provide a welcome boost for the NHS. The charge should apply to people living on benefits as well - a GP friend says they go with very trivial complaints unlike folk who have to fit the visit around their working lives. If people need to go a lot because of a chronic condition there could be either a season ticket at a similar level to that for prescriptions or no charge for condition related appointments.

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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby gaz » 17 Aug 2019, 9:55am

Maybe if there was a small charge, say £5 for every journey made by car, people would stop making car journeys for trivial purposes.

There would be less congestion, less polution, less obesity and these healthier people would place less demand on their GP and other health services.
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pete75
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby pete75 » 17 Aug 2019, 11:09am

gaz wrote:Maybe if there was a small charge, say £5 for every journey made by car, people would stop making car journeys for trivial purposes.

There would be less congestion, less polution, less obesity and these healthier people would place less demand on their GP and other health services.


In case you didn't know every car user faces a charge for each journey and very often a lot more than a fiver.

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congestion, roads discussion

Postby Vorpal » 30 Sep 2019, 10:02am


gaz wrote:Maybe if there was a small charge, say £5 for every journey made by car, people would stop making car journeys for trivial purposes.

There would be less congestion, less polution, less obesity and these healthier people would place less demand on their GP and other health services.


The Transportøkonomisk institutt (TØI) recently published a report recommending road pricing to replace most car taxes. Basically, they recommend that people pay substantially more for driving where it does the most harm to others in terms of pollution, road danger, and road damage; cities.

This is mainly relevant for Norway, so has not been translated, but you can always stick it in a translator.... https://samferdsel.toi.no/meninger/allm ... 5-677.html
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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Sep 2019, 10:11am

Vorpal wrote:The Transportøkonomisk institutt (TØI) recently published a report recommending road pricing to replace most car taxes. Basically, they recommend that people pay substantially more for driving where it does the most harm to others in terms of pollution, road danger, and road damage; cities.

This is mainly relevant for Norway, so has not been translated, but you can always stick it in a translator.... https://samferdsel.toi.no/meninger/allm ... 5-677.html


I can see the appeal of this idea, but can't help seeing snags. Unless the charges for the externals are well assessed it means that drivers are paying for the right to inflict danger and pollution. Myself, I would rather have safe, clean roads and believe the right to this is not available for purchase, especially compulsory purchase.
It is designed to share road space efficiently for motors. The ultimate condition is that all roads will be filled to capacity, the limit being, I suppose, that the traffic still flows. I would prefer it if some roads were left without their capacity quota of motors, so that they were less unpleasant for cycling.

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Re: German wants to reserve bikespace, roads discussion

Postby Vorpal » 30 Sep 2019, 12:05pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Vorpal wrote:The Transportøkonomisk institutt (TØI) recently published a report recommending road pricing to replace most car taxes. Basically, they recommend that people pay substantially more for driving where it does the most harm to others in terms of pollution, road danger, and road damage; cities.

This is mainly relevant for Norway, so has not been translated, but you can always stick it in a translator.... https://samferdsel.toi.no/meninger/allm ... 5-677.html


I can see the appeal of this idea, but can't help seeing snags. Unless the charges for the externals are well assessed it means that drivers are paying for the right to inflict danger and pollution. Myself, I would rather have safe, clean roads and believe the right to this is not available for purchase, especially compulsory purchase.
It is designed to share road space efficiently for motors. The ultimate condition is that all roads will be filled to capacity, the limit being, I suppose, that the traffic still flows. I would prefer it if some roads were left without their capacity quota of motors, so that they were less unpleasant for cycling.


Firstly, the charges for externals *are* well-assessed. That is one of the drivers for this recommendation.

Secondly, the Nordic countries already practice filtered permeability. That is, motorists generally cannot drive through residential areas, only into or out of them. Some residential areas allow no motor vehicles at all, except for deliveries and special permits (e.g. disabled). Most towns and cities already have reasonable routes for cycling and walking. Most cities already charge (tolls) for using the roads.

Conceptually, a road pricing scheme is good idea. I think that it lacks incentives to get people who keep a car for occasional use, to use car share schemes, instead. I'm not sure the best way to do that, but now, car share schemes are really only convenient for folks who live near the schemes' parking points.

I do understand the concern that those who 'pay for the roads' will feel that gives them the right to inflict danger and pollution, and abuse or exclude those who do not pay for the privilege. I'm not sure the best way to address that.
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horizon
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby horizon » 30 Sep 2019, 12:17pm

I think that we need to agree that how you pay for something is as important as that you pay for something. It is well established that everything from the use of cash to credit to "eat as much as you can" offers creates different effects. Road use is no different in this respect. In fact, simply making driving free at the point of use has saddled the UK with a multi-billion pound bill to meet demand. What is nice to see however is this Conservative government adopting the Soviet model of supply economics: a valuable commodity (e.g. bread) is sold very cheaply and demand is regulated through queuing. Just like roads in the UK in fact.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Sep 2019, 12:18pm

The costs of externals are well assessed?
So what is the cost of life long lung damage?
Or the years of life lost to air pollution?
What value is given to childrens' freedom to move around their neighbourhood?
I do not see how all these costs of mass motoring can be given a monetary value which is then charged to the driver.
Who would assess the value I give to being able to breathe clean air? Government or me? What if I am not prepared to sell my right to a live in a healthy environment?
Those who die early might well say that their life is priceless to them, and cannot be costed. They might find it revolting that their lives are priced and that someone can pay for killing them.

You mention the ways in which road pricing appeals, and I agree, and am tempted by the idea.

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Sep 2019, 12:20pm

horizon wrote:I think that we need to agree that how you pay for something is as important as that you pay for something. It is well established that everything from the use of cash to credit to "eat as much as you can" offers creates different effects. Road use is no different in this respect. In fact, simply making driving free at the point of use has saddled the UK with a multi-billion pound bill to meet demand. What is nice to see however is this Conservative government adopting the Soviet model of supply economics: a valuable commodity (e.g. bread) is sold very cheaply and demand is regulated through queuing. Just like roads in the UK in fact.


Given that we cannot build our way out of congestion and that fuel duty rises seem to be politically unacceptable, rationing by congestion is the only restraint on traffic growth left.

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horizon
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby horizon » 30 Sep 2019, 1:00pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Given that we cannot build our way out of congestion and that fuel duty rises seem to be politically unacceptable, rationing by congestion is the only restraint on traffic growth left.


And actually, were that to be the case, I don't think it too bad a solution. Unfortunately it isn't the case. While we cannot "build our way out of congestion" (as the new roads create more demand so the problem is never ending), two other factors come into play which mean that we do need to carry on building and improving roads on a vast scale.

The first of these is an ingrained belief that building a new road will cure congestion. It won't, but people believe it will. This is then expressed politically and it is a view that politicians cannot afford to ignore. In fact, they believe it themselves. The decision of the Welsh government to scrap the new road around Newport was both unusual and incredibly brave.

Secondly, new roads are different from other forms of ongoing government expenditure in that they lend themselves to large, specific, achievable, highly profitable contracts. The scale of the work also limits it to large firms which of course use political lobbying and donations. The profitability of the schemes allows firms to fund well organised pressure groups.

This combination of a gullible public and a well organised industry gives us the road building programme we have today. The rest of us watch on with anger, sadness and horror as swathes of land succumb to dead tarmac while the duped punter sits stewing in the next jam.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!