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Issue 662 - 17 December 2014: Opinion

Road-building rehabilitated
Local Transport Today

Roads play a vital part in the functioning of modern economies and so investing in them is as important as providing services such as electricity, gas and water. For the vast majority of people the provision of these... continue

In Passing

Construction work is currently underway at the DfT and the poor reception staff are shivering away in the drafty temporary arrangements. But, as our exclusive picture shows, the new facilities are definitely worth the wait!... continue

Why are we planning to spend so much on new roads when we live in an information age?

Why are we planning to spend so much on new roads when we live in an information age?
David Metz, University College London

The Government has published its long-heralded Road Investment Strategy (RIS) containing £15bn of expenditure to 2021 on 127 major schemes to improve and enlarge the Strategic Road Network (SRN). One aspiration of the vision is a “free-flow core network, with mile a minute speeds increasingly typical”. Nice idea, but how realistic is this? The supporting analysis is decidedly thin. The National Travel Survey shows that per... continue

Whatever happened to local democracy?

Whatever happened to local democracy?
Paul Salveson

George Osborne seems to have a fixation on mayors. The recent deal with the Greater Manchester local authorities to get devolved powers and a bit of extra brass was conditional on having an elected mayor covering the ten Greater Manchester authorities. A similar plan for West and South Yorkshire seems to have stalled in the face of local authority resistance. So what’s it all about? In all of the metropolitan areas (now re-christened as... continue

Letters to the Editor

Changing appraisal methods won’t improve the look of HS2
Stephen Plowden, London NW1

Bridget Rosewell is right to point out that an incremental appraisal is unsuitable to assess developments such as Canary Wharf and Docklands, but HS2... continue

Rail station passenger data offers lessons for HS2
Tony Bolden, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN16

The Office for Rail Regulation has just released statistics on station usage for 2013/14. As in previous years it offers a valuable time series guide of passenger entries and exits at Britain’s stations and how this is... continue

Air quality alarm: the EU is to blame for unrealistic targets
Paul Biggs, Tamworth, Staffs B77

As 2014 draws to a close, it might well be remembered as the year of air quality alarmism. Given that air pollutants have fallen markedly since 1990, life expectancy in the UK from birth is at record levels, the pension age... continue