A blog posted by National Park Partnership member Mike Tristram on the South Downs Forum, Chichester A27: New Threat to the Park, has attracted a number of interesting and well informed opinion postings.
This one, with his permission to re-post, is from Anthony Cartmell:
The whole thing is so depressing. We've been here before, and road building was dropped in favour of the Road Traffic Reduction (National Targets) Act 1998. Which was promptly forgotten. The last Conservative government commissioned the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Appraisal to report on the benefits and costs to society of road building. The report was unequivocal that building more road capacity between major population centres on routes that are already congested will induce large amounts of new traffic.
Read the report: SACTRA Report
Experience in Newbury showed that the SACTRA findings were correct: traffic in Newbury dropped significantly when the bypass opened, but then grew steadily to return to pre-bypass levels in just over three years. Meanwhile the bypass was carrying tens of thousands more motor trips per day: net result is no reduction in congestion, and a significant increase in total motor traffic in the area. The Newbury bypass is now a hotspot you hear quite a lot of on the traffic news. Is this really forward progress?
The same effect can be seen on the M25, the M27, the M3, and more. Bigger roads mean more cars, and more traffic, and more disruption when the inevitable crashes happen.
There are much more effective solutions: rail is ideal given the linear nature of the south coast, cycleways are popular and highly cost-effective and have public health benefits too. We should be increasing the frequency and routes used by buses, another efficient transport mode (if taken seriously).
Then our roads would not need to have hundreds of millions spent on them, we'd lower pollution and congestion, and everyone would find the environment so much more pleasant.
Cars are very useful, and have their place, but they're very inefficient at moving lots of people around at the same time.