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French revolution


In last week's Stop the transport cuts article it was argued that France's transport advantage has been mainly a result of the modernisation of its national rail system. This underestimates what the French have done more widely.

As well as the phenomenal improvements to the RER/Metro network in Paris, France has also provided Lyon and Marseille with metros during this period. The management of its bus and coach systems has resulted in traffic growth of 70% since 1970 compared with a decline of 25% in the UK.

The French have also got on with the development of national airports in a way we have not been able to; and Le Havre and Marseille rank above any UK ports for sea traffic.

However, it is the motorway system that has been expanded the most. In 1970 France had 1,560km of motorway compared with 1,190km in the UK. By 2001 this had grown to 9,980km compared with our 3,620km. The resulting motorway network is not only much greater in relation to cars, traffic and people but it is also greater in respect to France's larger area.

David Bayliss (F), 37 Ledborough Lane, Beaconsfield, Bucks HP9 2DB

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