More on future transport | Scoins.net | DJS

More on future transport

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Given the opinions expressed at COP26 with respect to transport and its effect on anthropogenic pollution levels, it seems to me that we have several scenarios:

(i) we clean up the transport we use. That means very much cleaner shipping, and a huge shift away from fossil fuel for transportation. The push to swap your ICE for an EV has some positives but at the same time benefits a restricted segment of the population, the already well-off, otherwise recognised as a Tory voter (even if not the case).

(ii) substitution of one transport mode for another. Taking a lot more public transport instead of personal transport; walking and cycling instead of taking the car, using the train. Included here is a change in attitude to shopping by doing that online and having a delivery, where the assumption is that economies of scale make a delivery less polluting than going shopping. Here we should include new forms of individual personal transport, but simultaneously must recognise the problems associated with the equivalents to parking, within which I include having public access to such services, such as the pilot schemes for hiring e-bikes across several cities.

(iii) Changing our approach to travel altogether, so that a lot of travel simply doesn't occur and long-distance travel becomes relatively rare. That implies a challenge to any and every use of transport – do I need to do this, what would be the most climate-responsible way to do this prospective thing. That would have a serious change to approaches to leisure. It also incudes all suggestion that we continue with WfH, working from home.  

We require transport for a fairly limited set of reasons: going to work, delivering goods, leisure travel, local travel.

Going to work can be reduced by WfH, by switching to public transport, by living closer to work. Nudges for this include subsidies for public transport and additional costs for private transport. WfH, in my world, should be encouraged anyway.

Deliveries could be made so they demonstrably are more efficient (and by a list of measures) in terms of pollution because of scale. Haulage lends itself to forms of automation and the last link in delivery might provide a success for drones. At the same time, where humans are used in the delivery chain, they need to be better supported.

Leisure travel might very well reduce dramatically. That will hit a large proportion of the hotel and hospitality industry. I'd like to see overseas holidays become the exception rather than the norm. You want permanent sunshine, emigrate.

Local travel is a sizeable problem. This is the shopping run, the school run, all those I'm-just-popping trips, many of which could be eliminated with a little preparatory thought. I've never done a school run; three generations of family have not. I walked to all schools. My kids had a school bus for secondary. About a third of the day kids were delivered (to schools I taught at) by parents. A lot of local travel is also within the leisure category, of course. I wonder at the future of high-cost activities like playing in the band, which includes the added costs of there being events at which to play. The role of the out-of-town shopping centre stays much as it is already; you commit to doing a load of shopping collected into a single trip. A trip to the High Street is much the same, but only if the transport service to and from deals well with the added weight to be carried. Perhaps both of these are replaced by shopping online and using a delivery service. I confess to turning a shopping 'need' into an extended trip I'd just as accurately call leisure and we could cut out all the eating out and replace it with staying at home. Such a change has fairly heavy economic consequences if we all do it.


Within the leisure change I include, for example, the proposals connected to the use of national parks: the argument is that the parks are open to those with cars but not those without, and so the parks are not serving the people. The argument then runs towards banning cars and parking of cars so as to push visitors onto public transport for access to the countryside. I think that this is more likely to result in even fewer people using the parks as wild country, though I suspect that the arguments are fed by those who, when the think of 'park' mean sales opportunity, not being in the wild outdoors.


DJS 20211118 which is not yet December. Perhaps this page should be called "year end snippets"?

Yesterday, Grant Schapps told us what I had expected to hear, that HS2 in the North will be modified to be cheaper; and that less would be delivered sooner. Which continues to miss the point of the project. Or, at least to miss what the electorate heard. The whole point of building a new line was to have extra capacity, moving the long-distance stuff onto the new track and leaving the local and freight on the old. Capacity is the problem. The eternal deceit from government is doing the work down south (again, London to Birmingham) and not doing the work in the North, where it is needed. Thus we have unlikely stats such as transport spend per capita in London being five times higher than Yorks and Humber and twice what is spent in Greater Manchester. [Source, table 7, p8, inset]. I added the conclusion, whose reference to HS2 is now shown to be utterly fatuous.

Yes, the intended spend is a big number, but it is a far smaller number than was pushed at us as persuasion to support this government (not that I voted for them). Yes, the modified plan will be delivered sooner, but that is because far less is being spent. Yes, some of the changes are good ones, but even these have been promised for decades, e.g. the tram system in Leeds. Even before HS2 was leapt upon by Cabinet enthusiasts as a flag-waver, the North was saying that the principal problem was transit across the North (specifically not access to the capital). Thus the modified plans do nothing for the north-east from Newcastle to Hull, and very little to Leeds and Sheffield.

Mind, I would be quite happily persuaded that what we need instead is very local improvement, huge support to working from home and for those homes to be thoroughly insulated. With mostly the same money as was promised for HS2.



DJS 20211120 ish

top pic taken from blogs.worldbank.org merely for representing future transport, no more.

Page created as Year-end snippets grew too large, 20211202

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