PRO-ROAD LOBBYISTS used this week's Road World Congress in Paris to make a scathing attack on the 'antiauto vanguard'.
Speakers hit out at the 'myths' which they claim overestimate the social costs and underestimate the benefits of roads, and sway political will towards increased public transport spending.
The conference saw the International Road Federation launch its world road manifesto The road to development calls for the development of roads.
This emphasises the role played by roads in improving quality of life and contributing to economic development. In particular it points out the expected reduction in road traffic pollution by 2010.
Rutgers University professor of political science and public administration James Dunn Jr backed the manifesto and attacked policies to increase spending on mass transit and rail travel as oversold and ineffective.
Dunn said that since 1964 the US government has subsidised £200bn of public transport, 'yet by the end of the 1990s total passenger trips stood at 9bn, roughly the same level as in 1960. He added: 'Rail and road are not communicating vessels.
You cannot relieve one with the other, ' he claimed.
Dunn also set aside recent studies showing that new highway capacity generated more car travel and led to renewed congestion.
'This is, at best, a half-truth, ' he claimed. 'We can not guarantee that any particular addition to highway capacity will permanently eliminate congestion. But we can guarantee that adding no new capacity will make congestion worse.'