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On your bike


The 300 page Eddington report should justify a 600 page response, but two points will have to do.

First, why does the UK need road charging to 'solve' congestion when other EU countries have higher levels of per capita car ownership and cheaper petrol, and lower levels of car use and congestion? Could it be that soft measures such as traffic calming and restraint are more effective?

The Stern report calls for a 60% reduction of CO 2 emissions. Green transport, such as walking and cycling, might target the 75% of urban car trips, which are less than 8km long. Can civil engineers design cycleways that will get drivers to leave their cars at home and get their bikes out of the garage?

Second, ddington presupposes that new roads, airports and railways have to be paid for from the public purse. What if us clever engineers could find ways of building high-speed railways that could be commercially viable and, therefore, be built with private capital?

All 12,000km of railways were built in the UK in the 50 years between 1830 and 1880 with private funds. In the 50 years since the opening of the first UK motorway the public sector has only been able to afford 4,000km.

Professor Lewis Lesley, technical director, TRAM Power, Unit 4, Carraway Road, Liverpool L11 OEE

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