THE PROBLEM OF CONGESTION:
It occurs when there is too much traffic relative to capacity; where demand exceeds supply. The result is that:
-Actual journey times are greater than expected
-The cost of making a trip is greater than it should be
-For freight users, more vehicles are needed for a particular volume of work
-There is greater use of fuel and more extensive vehicle emissions than if traffic were flowing freely, which represents an ineffective use of scarce resources.
-Although congestion is normally associated with the road network, it is experienced in all forms of transport. Eg, the capacity of heathrow airport is such that when airline slots become vacant, they are traded on the market.
-Sections of the mainline rail network and slots into major stations are fully taken up, massive new investment is needed to improve the situation.
-Nothing new: In Ancient Rome, chariots were prohibited from using the streets between daylight and dusk owing to serious congestion problems.
-London suffered from congestion long before the coming of the motor car.
-What is new is the scale of the problem of congestion, many of our principal motor ways and routes are heavily congested for large parts of the day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify peak and offpeak periods.
The commission for integrated transport carried out research that shows that UK has the worst congested roads in the EU15 (2002). Users on almost a quarter of the most well used road links suffered regular delays lasting an hour or more. In Germany and France, such delays were suffered on less than one in ten links, and in some countries there were no links where this level of delay was experienced. The commission attributed this situation to:
-Persistent underinvestment in the road network over many years.
-Heavy reliance on the private car as a means of transport, despite having below EU average car ownership levels.
-The extensive use of car for the journey to work.
Road congestion is not confined to developed countries, some of the most serious road congestion problems can be found in the emerging economies of SouthEast Asia:
-Bangkoks drivers spend the equivalent of 22days in their vehicles a years.
2m journeys in the rush hour to take two hours.
Signs of change: elevated skytrain opened in 2001, although fares are high and network is limited. A new underground system has been completed. Residents can obtain traffic info on their pcs. Part of the city centre has been pedestrianised in attempt to improve the city's appealing congestion and pollution levels.
-Beijing car ownership levels rising by 10% annually in recent years, peoples incomes are increasing and the price of vehicles decreasing in real terms. the road network has not been developed to match the increase in traffic growth.
The municipal govt has taken a radical look at relieving congestion through decentralization. This involves setting up new urban sub centers around the city in order to reduce the total demand for access into the city…