congestion, roads discussion

amediasatex
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby amediasatex » 30 Sep 2019, 1:09pm

Nobody will begrudge a fiver though if they're ill it's less than two pints of beer


I suggest you might like to think more carefully about comments like this.
The NHS and state provided healthcare is valuable to everyone, but it is those most in need who would be punished by such a charge.

When people are using foodbanks to make sure they (and their children) can eat, or where a fiver is more than your daily family food budget then they will certainly begrudge it. There have been times in my life when even such a nominal fee would have meant I'd have avoided getting medical help when I needed it, and that is not a position I want our society to get into.

If unnecessary GP visits are a real problem there are other better ways to address that than charging people.

It's also one of the problems with road pricing. While I agree in principle with the idea, without 'the other stuff' to provide workable alternatives we'd end up in a situation where the well off drive cos they can afford it, and the less well off can't and don't (yet) have viable alternatives. This would only increase the division in society and create an even greater sense of entitlement to those who can afford to use the roads.

Frankly I find this to be a real pickle and I don't know what would be the best way forward. I think if anything the change needs to come from a mixture of economic and moral influencing factors. Somehow people need to come to the realisation and understanding of the impact of driving to the point that people do not want to drive unless it's necessary, and not just from an expense point of view.

How we get there I have no idea, but I honestly think just pricing people out of it is not the way forward.

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mjr
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2019, 1:27pm

horizon wrote:
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.

And the Conservatives have today announced that the UK government is going to have yet another futile go at building its way out of congestion with an "infrastructure revolution" that looks very non-revolutionary indeed: more broadband (OK but will probably be another sop to large firms), more buses (bet there's no more bikes allowed) and more roads (probably motorways and motorways-in-all-but-name).

I agree that both the building of new roads and the ongoing maintenance will benefit large firms, who I suspect are generally owned by Conservative backers, while the public get more and bigger jams as reward for accepting this spoiling of landscapes.
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horizon
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby horizon » 30 Sep 2019, 1:30pm

amediasatex wrote:
It's also one of the problems with road pricing. While I agree in principle with the idea, without 'the other stuff' to provide workable alternatives we'd end up in a situation where the well off drive cos they can afford it, and the less well off can't and don't (yet) have viable alternatives. This would only increase the division in society and create an even greater sense of entitlement to those who can afford to use the roads.



amediasatex: I travel by train and have to pay the full upfront cost of my travel each time. We all do. BTW, poorer people are often the ones already unable to afford a car and who travel by bus. But even poor people don't have the right to pollute, to maim and to demand new roads. The poor can be compensated for having to pay for car use by channelling the income from road pricing back into benefits: in this way, the poor would benefit disproportionally from road pricing. At the moment they are forced to make an unpleasant choice and to go by car because it is cheaper than the train - even poor people have a conscience.
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby Vorpal » 30 Sep 2019, 2:08pm

The idea recommended by TØI is that motorists pay per kilometer, but that the per kilometer rate is 20 times higher in populated areas, where driving represents the greatest risk, pollution, and infrastructure damage.

IMO, even if it isn't meant to, a much higher cost for densely populated areas also represents a much better availability of alternatives; shops within walking & cycling distance, public transport, etc.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

amediasatex
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby amediasatex » 30 Sep 2019, 2:11pm

@horizon

I don’t disagree with anything you said, the key point about my post was that ‘the other stuff’ needs to be in place as an alternative before it will work without disadvantaging and dividing people further.

As I said it’s a pickle and I don’t think pricing alone is the way forward.

There need to be a wholesale societal shift and I don’t think that can come through economics alone.

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2019, 4:48pm

horizon wrote:BTW, poorer people are often the ones already unable to afford a car and who travel by bus.

Can anyone show that car ownership or access to a car or something like that correlates better with wealth than population density?
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Sep 2019, 5:03pm

mjr wrote:
horizon wrote:BTW, poorer people are often the ones already unable to afford a car and who travel by bus.

Can anyone show that car ownership or access to a car or something like that correlates better with wealth than population density?


I would imagine there is a negative correlation between wealth and population density, which makes disentangling different factors difficult.

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2019, 5:10pm

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:
horizon wrote:BTW, poorer people are often the ones already unable to afford a car and who travel by bus.

Can anyone show that car ownership or access to a car or something like that correlates better with wealth than population density?


I would imagine there is a negative correlation between wealth and population density, which makes disentangling different factors difficult.

Yes, but hopefully horizon has done this or seen something written by someone who has to make such a statement with so much certainty.
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Sep 2019, 5:23pm

mjr wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:Can anyone show that car ownership or access to a car or something like that correlates better with wealth than population density?


I would imagine there is a negative correlation between wealth and population density, which makes disentangling different factors difficult.

Yes, but hopefully horizon has done this or seen something written by someone who has to make such a statement with so much certainty.


Isn't it obvious that those too poor to afford a car will have to travel by bus?

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2019, 5:52pm

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
I would imagine there is a negative correlation between wealth and population density, which makes disentangling different factors difficult.

Yes, but hopefully horizon has done this or seen something written by someone who has to make such a statement with so much certainty.


Isn't it obvious that those too poor to afford a car will have to travel by bus?

No. Isn't it obvious that those people may have bought a car before they became poor (and maybe they became poor because of the high costs of car operation) or may hire cars, belong to a car club or borrow a car from friends or family?
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Sep 2019, 5:57pm

mjr wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:Yes, but hopefully horizon has done this or seen something written by someone who has to make such a statement with so much certainty.


Isn't it obvious that those too poor to afford a car will have to travel by bus?

No. Isn't it obvious that those people may have bought a car before they became poor (and maybe they became poor because of the high costs of car operation) or may hire cars, belong to a car club or borrow a car from friends or family?


I thought that rather than a universally applicable rule from which there could be no exceptions, that what was being discussed was a general tendency.
Why is it that you want to believe that income has no influence on car ownership?

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2019, 6:04pm

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:No. Isn't it obvious that those people may have bought a car before they became poor (and maybe they became poor because of the high costs of car operation) or may hire cars, belong to a car club or borrow a car from friends or family?


I thought that rather than a universally applicable rule from which there could be no exceptions, that what was being discussed was a general tendency.
Why is it that you want to believe that income has no influence on car ownership?

That's a loaded question! My wants don't come into this. I'd just prefer our discussions to have some basis in reality through checking the evidence, rather than assuming things that seem a bit dodgy to me.
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby irc » 30 Sep 2019, 6:20pm

horizon wrote:I travel by train and have to pay the full upfront cost of my travel each timec.


Actually you don't. The taxpayer spends billions subsiding the trains.

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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby mjr » 30 Sep 2019, 6:46pm

irc wrote:
horizon wrote:I travel by train and have to pay the full upfront cost of my travel each timec.


Actually you don't. The taxpayer spends billions subsiding the trains.

Yes, billions. About £4bn a year, which amounts to a whopping £1.41 per journey in England.

Coincidentally, about £4bn a year is what is budgeted just on building new motorways and quasi-motorways in the RIS1 projects, let alone all the money spent repairing the damage done by motorists.

Meanwhile, cycling projects are budgeted to get just £33m in 2020/21 (just 72p per person - not journey, person). Something is seriously on the huh!
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Re: congestion, roads discussion

Postby horizon » 30 Sep 2019, 8:07pm

mjr wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:No. Isn't it obvious that those people may have bought a car before they became poor (and maybe they became poor because of the high costs of car operation) or may hire cars, belong to a car club or borrow a car from friends or family?


I thought that rather than a universally applicable rule from which there could be no exceptions, that what was being discussed was a general tendency.
Why is it that you want to believe that income has no influence on car ownership?

That's a loaded question! My wants don't come into this. I'd just prefer our discussions to have some basis in reality through checking the evidence, rather than assuming things that seem a bit dodgy to me.


I recently stayed in Hackney which AFAIK (no facts checked here either!) has the lowest car ownership in the UK. But that lack of ownership is due AFAIK both to low income and to choice. My young relatives don't own cars but could easily do so. Hackney also has a high population density with much improved public transport and cycle provision (it also has a borough-wide 20 mph speed limit). This could also account for low car ownership. AFAIK the highest car ownership rates are to be found in rural areas, poor or not, so the correlation between poverty and car ownership is by no means certain. It might still well be that poorer people lack cars but lacking a car doesn't mean that you are poor. I've gathered these "facts" over the years and haven't had the time to check them - shame becasue I actually agree with you, it's good to check these things out.
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