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The question - Long distance travel modes

This week another multi-modal study (South Coast) is expected to recommend yet more road-building.

Can other modes ever realistically compete for long distance travel?

No, not unless long distance includes crossing the Atlantic. The mode is roads, especially if we keep widening them. Roads are direct connections from where you are to where you want to be. Who is willing to forgo the convenience of road use?

The other modes can never compete and it's not simply a matter of investment. Roads on to every new housing estate are readily built and immediately connect into the national road network. Has the time come to stop investment in other modes and make vehicle ownership and operation both cheap and available to all by equivalent subsidy? Only joking (partly).

Andrew Finch, 48, structural engineer, Lincolnshire

No other mode of transport can rival the freedom of just stepping into your car, when you want, to go where you want. Compare this with public transport which has a reputation for being overpriced and unreliable.

Rural bus services are infrequent, while trains are overpriced, prone to delays and leave commuters feeling like farmyard animals. And if you venture to use the bus to connect with a train, well . . .

So to raise that old refrain, unless there is more investment and promotion of public transport, the car will continue to take precedence.

David Lavin, 29, Tewkesbury

As much as I am pro public transport, using it on a regular basis leaves one very depressed, what with the late running, overcrowding and dingy stations.

And when it comes to inter-city transport, the private car wins hands down. Take Newcastle to Bradford: car takes two hours, petrol for return trip £20 to £25; coach between three and three and a half hours, return fare £25; train takes between two and a half and four hours, connections permitting, return fare £35 to £40.

Trains are just far too expensive, coaches take far too long.

Iqal Hussain, 28, Newcastle

It is well known that rail transport is the most efficient mode when moving large amounts of freight/ people long distance. Other countries in Europe accept this fact and have seriously invested in their rail networks as a result.

Political will is the problem in this country. But transport patterns can be influenced. Significant investment has been made in the public transport system in Brighton over recent years. The resulting social shift made by the local population in changing their travel patterns has been far greater then expected. This has been possible not least through constructive partnering between the agencies involved including the local authority and bus companies.

Charles Brewerton, project engineer, Brighton

No other mode of travel will ever realistically compete with roads for regional and long distance travel.

Rail travel, aircraft travel and inland waterways all lack a fundamental essential - flexibility. Having said that, for personal use only I've always favoured one of those James Bond style jetpacks to strap on my back when I need to move quickly to a specific spot.

John Dadson, 51, television journalist, Cambridge

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