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Agency chief backs use of hard shoulder

HIGHWAYS AGENCY chief executive Tim Matthews last week said he supported limited use of motorway hard shoulders as a congestion busting measure on busy sections of road.


Speaking at last week’s Civils 2002 transport debate, Matthews backed the addition of extra capacity through widening and ‘occasional and controlled hard shoulder running’.


British Consultants Bureau chairman Malcom Noyce supported the proposal. He argued that adding extra capacity within current highway boundaries would be more effective than road tolling.


Traffic congestion plays a positive role as a ‘regulator’ of traffic, he added.


‘You don’t tend to find gridlock on the same stretch of road every day, ’ he said. ‘Drivers adapt and consequently journey times by car have remained at an average of about 21 minutes, ’ he said.


Speaking against the motion ‘Extra road capacity is the best way to solve Britain’s transport congestion’ University College London Professor of Transport Policy Phil Goodwin staunchly defended road tolling.


He claimed that in terms of reducing congestion a nationwide system of tolls would have ‘at least seven times the effect of the overall reduction in congestion produced by the 10 year transport plan’.


Goodwin was backed by director of Transport 2000 Stephen Joseph, who claimed that new research by Transport 2000 for the Department of Transport on workplace travel plans showed that a mixture of small scale schemes could have a spectacular effect on reducing congestion.

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