Monday, 15 May 2017

ROAD TRANSPORT SPACE

 


Update: 5th October 2017. Guardian: UK's illegal, dangerous, polluted air. This paper offers practical comprehensive solutions, including clean, green Electric-Vehicles and replacing 50% of freight vehicles. Send it to your MP and insist on immediate action. We can afford it. 

THE ECONOMICS OF UK ROAD TRANSPORT

by Noel Hodson, Oxford. UK,  noel@noelhodson.com
Contents

LIBERATE ROAD-SPACE

“How can we pay for better, safer, more reliable roads in a way that is fair to road users and good for the economy and the environment?”

"Your entry should consider ways in which existing and any future roads can be improved through increased investment, rather than replaced by alternative forms of transport or communication. This investment must be paid for by the revenue it generates in your proposed system.”

Sorry! But road transport needs massive new investment. 
Off with the old and on with the new.



There are too many people crowding onto the UK’s 245.9 thousand miles of roads. How can we reduce traffic, in effect increasing available road space, without it costing the earth? Half of the UK’s annual £23B transport costs (£8B for rail) are spent for Greater London, being  £1,943 per Londoner . This reflects the “dense-urban” need for the London Underground, surface-rail, buses and taxis, and safe walkers’ & cyclists’ pathways. Outside London we spend £427 per head per annum. 

The roads and streets network is not static. It slowly expands to meet the population’s transport demands. It does not stop at John O’Groats, Land’s End and Dover as traffic endlessly flows to and from mainland Europe and by rail, air and sea we have transport links to the world. But, assuming little growth of the internal network, this paper makes eight recommendations, with outline costings and suggested sources of funds.

 Scarce Road-Space - make better use of existing roads:
1.  The Transport Internet removes 50% of freight vehicles
2.  Electric vehicles for clean air & quiet streets.
3.  Reduce road space occupied by buses.
4.  Reduce freight vehicles and weights.
5.  Reduce cars: commuters, school-run, leisure journeys.
6.  CAMPAIGN “Is your journey really necessary?”
7.  Make safe paths for pedestrians and cyclists - Crowdfund.
8.   Reduce lane closures from road-works. Street Parking.

By global comparisons the UK is densely populated and our transport is internationally connected. At peak times, commuting and school-run, some 16 million vehicles take to the streets. Our vehicles and technologies are sourced from around the globe; we export vehicles worldwide; road surfaces are imported; transport-fuel is imported; pollution is exported to Europe by the trade-winds; freight is imported and exported in vehicles from around the world. Though an island nation, we are an influential member of the global community with global responsibilities, such as climate-change.

CO2 is now 400 parts per million, perilously near the feared +2C tipping point. UK traffic contributes to global-warming or climate-change:
Climate Change - Record +47C - 17 FEB 2017 - Australia - Hottest all-time maximum temperature for Forbes 46.5C, Richmond 47.0C, Condobolin 46.7C, West Wyalong 45.5, Trangie 47.0, Tenterfield 38.9C, Maitland 45.2C, Tocal 47.0C and Bathurst 42.1C.
EPA head, Mike Pruitt, and President Donald J Trump ascribe record temperatures to a malicious Chinese conspiracy to cut US coal-mining and impoverish America. But, as a precautionary measure, in case the USA authorities are mistaken and 600 climate scientists are correct, and given that 26% of greenhouse gases are due to road traffic exhaust, the UK might apply ways to limit traffic on our roads, reduce fuel imports and exhaust gases, avoid EU pollution fines, and help to reduce the risk of significant sea-level-rise in the Thames Estuary and coastal areas. Traffic reduction will also help us breathe more easily.
*****
All road-users are transport experts. We all have daily experience of transport and travel and of the costs. We have equal rights to use the roads. There are few citizens without strong, clear views on roads and streets.

This paper addresses economic factors, examines proposals and makes recommendations, from the human, practical, engineering, and commercial viewpoints. 

Greater London is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth; Islington tops the UK with 15,179 people per square kilometre. 

The wealthier we become – the more we travel and transport freight. This light pollution map illuminates the densest populations. 




UK roads are rights-of-way for cars, taxis, buses, lorries, vans, motor-bikes, ambulances, cycles, wheel-chairs, walkers, joggers, prams, zimmer-frames, protest-marches, carnivals, skateboards, tractors, muck-spreaders, garbage trucks, milk-floats and diverse specialist vehicles; all demanding road space at all times. Mandatory timetables might help. How would the public greet the introduction of Travel Permits? 

Along with light-pollution, at street level we suffer air-pollution, mostly due to vehicle-exhaust, which prematurely kills 50,000 a year (Hansard)

(NB - 50,000 calculated by UK Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution and The UK Royal College of Physicians and other bodies - being all the life shortening illnesses exacerbated by air pollution, on average reducing lives by 6 months. In other words 100,000 per year absorb pollution that shortens their lives. It is not a body count of 50,000 people dropping dead from pollution)

Electric vehicles will eventually eliminate street level exhaust pollution – the economics of electrification are positive. But it won’t increase or liberate road-space; the additional infrastructure might occupy more, scarce road-space.

Two years ago, at The Transport Catapult, a worried Ports and Harbours expert, said that at Channel Ports, and globally, ships are queuing outside docks, waiting to offload freight to lorries and trains; and while standing-off, 

sometimes for days, are colliding more than previously. Like roads, sea lanes and air-cargo ports are overly full. Transport needs a transformation.




Transport Statistics Great Britain 2015  - To save readers from reams of reproduced statistics, I refer you to these from the UK government – which are probably quite accurate, apart from inevitable industry and political spin. 

One suspect factoid leaps off page 7 – “There has been a long-term decrease in new car fuel consumption due to more fuel efficient cars.” We now know that car makers have been falsifying fuel consumption, on small cars on average by 14 mpg (Which Magazine), and people have been buying larger SUVs and 4 x 4’s. Jaguar claim 57.6 mpg for their new F-Pace SUV, Bloomberg tests got 18 mpg US – (21.6 mpg per UK gallon). 

Engines have become more efficient – but fuel consumption remains stubbornly tethered to weight, hills, friction, speed, air-conditioning (AC consumes power) and driving habits. MPG is one of those technically difficult nuts to crack – like mobile-phone battery life. 

$310,000 USD, buys a new Bentley; Bloomberg reports “The W12 S Bentley gets 12 mpg (14.4 mpg UK) in the city”. Bentley claim 27 mpg. “If you have to ask the price, …or fuel consumption – you can’t afford it.” Big vehicles also take more road and parking space. 




This paper recommends how to clear road-space and cut pollution, particularly in dense-urban areas. The problems are political – not engineering. We can do the civil-engineering, but can we persuade people to change?

Going-Electric. Electric vehicles are inevitable – they are coming now. Our roads must adapt. This is not an optional choice. The electricity will increasingly be green – wind, wave, tidal, hydro, geo-thermal even solar – even in foggy London by the sea.

Electric, robot-driven, Uber-drive and other taxis will not reduce but will increase vehicle-movements and numbers of vehicles. Summoning a taxi or robot-car makes for at least one extra journey.
We will not give up our own cars until the new systems have been proved for many years. Change can be very expensive.
******

PAST


A SHORT HISTORY OF OUR ROADS:
The tracks, trails, paths, bridle-ways, streets, alleyways and rights-of-way that became our roads, were not open to all. Many were dangerous, beset by bandits, tax-collectors, mudholes and lunatics. 

Rights-to-Roam freely over hill and dale were hard won. The European Union, having abolished border controls, is a very recent event. In 2016, I drove thousands of miles across The United States of Europe, on good roads, without delays by border-guards; as one can in the United States of America.

Britons eventually earned the right to travel the King’s Highway as stage-coaches were established; refreshing horses and passengers at coaching-inns. 

In 1635, the new Postmaster, Thomas Witherings, boasted that mail taken by relays of riders, from London to Edinburgh in three days was, ”…travelling faster than thought”. The US Pony Express followed suit two hundred years later.
“The King charged Witherings with building six "Great Roads" to aid in the delivery of the post, of which the Great West Road was one.”

WE ARE ALL EXPERTS IN ROAD USE – MY EXPERIENCES.

Our 1980’s engineering team built cars and prototype vehicles. I have studied and proposed transport systems. I have commuted for long periods, on foot, by bike, by bus, by train, by car and intermittently to Brussels by air. I was one of the many pioneers from 1987 to 2003 promoting telework and utilizing the internet for work, to reduce traffic. Robotics have changed the economy; “We have worked hard to abolish work – and have succeeded.” I have prepared hundreds of business forecasts and several predictive commercial-models, including transport models.  

Since 1950 the UK population has almost doubled; road vehicles have multiplied by ten from about 3 million to 30 million; the roads have not expanded at the same rates. In the 1950s, we played football in the street by my home, pausing occasionally to let a vehicle go by. That leafy street today carries a vehicle every 15 seconds, from 6 am till 10 pm. That is 240 vehicle movements per hour for 16 hours, 3,840 vehicle-movements a day. 

In the 1950’s on workdays, we suffered the notorious morning and evening commute. Town centres were gridlocked from 7.30am to 9.30am and for homecoming, from 5pm to 6.30pm. Traffic queued in long, slow lines, belching exhaust fumes. 



On bad-weather days, when I did not cycle the 7 miles to school (and later 12 miles to work), I used buses which took twice the time as cycling. The buses queued in exhaust corridors, with every roadside house, office and factory burning coal or coke, poisoning the air – and creating the infamous yellow, oily smog; when literally “You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face”. 

Inside the 1950’s buses, most passengers smoked, puffing out yellow-brown condensation that ran down the windows and dripped inside the tin roof.
Walking along those smog-laden streets could be quicker than waiting for the traffic jams to clear; but the smog-death toll of pedestrians from asthma and heart-attacks was alarmingly high.

It was found that lead, then added to all petrol and diesel to prevent engine “knocking”, was highly toxic. DuPont had developed the lead additive:
1923 Sept - workers started dying in the DuPont TEL works… “sickening deaths and illnesses of hundreds of TEL workers… Gripped by violent bursts of insanity, the afflicted would imagine they were being persecuted by butterflies and other winged insects before expiring, their bodies having turned black and blue.” (Kitman 2000a)

12 June 2017: Read New Scientist article on Thomas Midgley who invented TEL "Ethyl", the deadly poison that brain damaged 2 generations; until the EPA banned it. Today, a brain damaged President Trump is obsessed with shutting down the EPA - and funding coal-powered cars. THE ONE-MAN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER NS 10 JUNE 2017.

These deadly air conditions on our streets were alleviated, first by the 1956 Clean Air Act, requiring “smokeless” fuels for buildings. Next, vehicle makers were obliged to improve engines and miles per gallon, creating less exhaust fumes. Eventually, the USA banned lead in petrol:
1970 – US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created. Car manufacturers ordered to begin building engines to run on unleaded gasoline by 1975. Ethyl Corp. unsuccessfully opposes phase-out of leaded gasoline in courts.
And, after another 30 years of a bitter campaign in the UK, led against Big-Oil by engineer and academic, Dr John Beishon of the Open University, leaded petrol was banned in January 2000; 77 years after it was identified as an untreatable poison.
Improvements were made to traffic flow systems. Bypasses and motorways were built, the M1 opened in 1959. 

Medic Sir Richard Doll, Oxford, after 25 years of academic research, successfully argued against Big-Tobacco that smoking causes cancer. In 1984 smoking was banned on London buses. Later, buses acquired air conditioning.
POISONOUS BUSES: Recent studies of commuters 2016-17 find that bus passengers receive the largest amounts of NO2 and particulates. Car passenger with filtered air-con are most protected.

With the advent of Telework or Telecommuting, pioneered by Californian Jack Nilles and, in the UK by BT, “Take the Work to the people Not the people to the Work” and the introduction of Flexitime, some reduction in the numbers commuting was made from 1995 onwards. Today about 15% of workdays are at home – reducing the commute and helping to free the roads, buses and trains.

In 1979-80, as the first Star Wars film was shot, our team built one of the first hybrid-electric-petrol prototype cars, Microdot, by Aston Martin designer William Towns, capable of 100 mpg (and 100 mph); it was 30 years ahead of its time but, unfortunately for UK industry, the car, its financing, and the UK’s lead, was dismissed by a cranky, government senior scientist as “breaching the 2nd law of thermodynamics”. 



Electric vehicles are the near future of transport. In January 2017, Dutch railways Nederlandse Spoorwegen, announced that all their trains, 5,500 trips a day for 600,000 passengers, are now powered by electricity produced only by wind-turbines

Electric road vehicles will replace the internal combustion engine – and electric pipeline-cargo-capsules will replace half the freight vehicles.
The UK could lead this change.



PRESENT


ROADS TODAY:
2015 ROAD LENGTH: Of the estimated 245.9 thousand miles of road length in Great Britain in 2015, there were:
• 31.3 thousand miles of major road, making up 12.7% of the road network;
• 214.5 thousand miles of minor road, making up 87.3% of the road network.
The length of trunk road in Great Britain in 2015 was 7.5 thousand miles, 3.1% of total road length in Great Britain.

Although major roads accounted for 12.7% of total road length in Great Britain in 2015, they carried 65.5% of total road traffic (road miles). Minor roads and streets made 87.3% of total and carried 34.5% of total road traffic.

VEHICLES: 3.21 million new vehicles were registered for the first time in Great Britain during 2015, the first year since 2005 that new registrations have exceeded 3 million. This was 8% up on the previous year, and only 1% lower than in the peak year of 2003. Old cars last much longer than they used to and second-hand prices are falling rapidly. Most adults can afford a car –  our roads will be increasingly crowded.

Forecasting gridlock is complicated. We need to know the length and gap of vehicles – which vehicles travel and when – speeds - how many traffic lanes there are (some sections of the M25 have up to 6 lanes per side) and how many lanes are closed for road-works, bus-lanes and traffic calming. Here is a 2007 example, forecasting a 20% increase in traffic.

The red numbers show gridlock, i.e. the road lanes are full when commuters and school-runs coincide. What isn’t shown is the other road users – pedestrians, cyclists, specialist and emergency vehicles; the urban streets are not mapped at all. 

Many of us today experience jams in narrow streets. Gridlocked vehicles obstruct us when cycling and walking. Most planners accept that our roads are overcrowded. A similar table prepared at the same time, showed the need for about 30,000km of new trunk-road lanes to prevent gridlock; only Scotland had enough road space. New motorways since 2007 have partially met that need.
WHERE ARE WE NOW, COMPARED TO THE 1950’S? 




In 2017 the conditions for most road users, despite welcome strides in reducing accidents, still have obstructions to travel and freight transport.
In January 2017, it was confirmed that burning diesel creates poisonous nitrogen dioxide NO2and invisible particulates that kill people. Killer smog has become invisible. 

Resultant Premature Deaths from air pollution in the UK are estimated to be 50,000 per year, at least half from exhaust fumes. London regularly breaches TfL guidelines and UK laws, with high levels of street air pollution blamed on traffic exhaust. 

The major scandal about Volkswagen falsifying exhaust levels has resulted in the USA finingVW $4.3 billion; UK owners are this month (Jan 2017) being encouraged to claim $4,000 each for being misled by VW. Most vehicle manufacturers, including Fiat-Chrysler, have also been fooling customers into believing they are driving “clean & green” vehicles.

The BBC reports that 10 cities in China have been immobilised by killer smog – half is ascribed to vehicle-exhaust.  Similar conditions exist in Indian cities. The mayor of Paris, Anna Hildalgo, in December 2016 announced plans to ban cars from Paris. In 1995 we worked with Parisian agency CATRAL who reduced traffic on the Route Peripherique, the Paris ring-road, by 3%; which 
allowed all traffic to flow freely; reducing fuel burnt and exhaust gases by 40%.




An American in Paris, Eric Britton, in 2000, introduced what the UK calls “Boris Bikes” and car holidays – which reduced poisonous exhausts. 

Mexico City, Madrid and Athens are also planning to ban cars on some days.
Oxford Street in London is “The most polluted street on earth”. It is a canyon of tall buildings with an endless stream of buses, taxis and freight vehicles which fill the canyon with diluted exhaust fumes. If you suffer “shoppers’ headaches” it is probably the exhaust fumes.

Residents of India and China regularly wear smog masks in their major cities. In January 2017, it was reported that 430 million Chinese couldn’t or shouldn’t breathe the city air – like Britain before the 1956 Clean Air Act.
In this post-truth, false-news era, is it true or an urban-legend that President Trump is planning coal-driven cars to keep his jobs pledge to the Rust Belt unemployed? 

Fair and intelligent allocation of road-space and cost effective use of roads and streets is a universal problem. Good solutions will sell very well around the world.



FUTURE

“Smart Cities” has been the smart-phrase since I started studying this subject in 1988. Then, the emerging Electronic Revolution was very clunky.
Today we have enough fast computing power to organise all traffic flows. The question is, where do we want the trains, cars, lorries, vans, buses, taxis, motor-bikes, bicycles and pedestrians to move to – and from – and with what propulsion and energy sources? 

Recent initiatives range from Bendy-Buses, to Croydon-Trams, 6 Axle Lorries, 6 Axle Lorries with Trailers, Plagues of White-Vans, BMW-Mini drivers in small cars, defecting to immense SUVs; Bus-Lanes (blocking off half the main roads), Traffic-Calming, Speed Cameras, Speed Bumps, Congestion Charging, Diesel Engine restrictions, Sophisticated Variable Traffic-Management (that actually work, such as on the Birmingham ring-road), closing Parking-bays to discourage cars (Oxbridge), Pedestrianised City Centres, Cycle-Lanes, Massive and most welcome expansion of the M25, etc.
  
And now, coming next: Driverless Cars (jump aside!) – Airborne Drones (duck!) – and Uber Taxi-Apps to summon a car anytime, anywhere. 




But, despite these bold innovations, exhaust pollution is increasing, the daily commute still takes up to 2 hours each way (half a work-day), roads are chewed up by heavy lorries and buses, and anonymous white-vans hurtle past us at mad speeds through traffic packed nose-to-tail on trunk roads. Cycling* is perceived as dangerous. “Private” bus companies compete to send dozens of driver-only, often empty buses along narrow streets – stopping to argue with passengers who have the wrong coins, while blocking all other road users. Pedestrians on busy roads are gassed within minutes.  People are dying from exhaust fumes.

Fundamental, new remedies are required. What could work economically?
*The pattern for pedal cycles is an interesting one: the overall 2015 casualty rate of around 5,800 casualties per billion miles cycled is close to the motorcycling casualty rate, whereas the fatality rate (100 cyclist deaths in 2015) of around 31 per billion miles cycled is much closer to the pedestrian rate. 

DRIVERLESS CARS & UBER: I have not found a rationale that shows that driverless cars, promoted by computer giants, will take traffic off the roads. Logically, vehicles travelling while empty to collect passengers will increase not reduce traffic. This equally applies to fleets of taxis. 

The legal responsibility for accidents involving   driverless cars will take some decades to resolve. The proposed safe electronic infrastructure required is very hi-tech and is yet to be designed. It will be unsafe to rely entirely on satellite-navigation signals to tell the vehicle its precise position; electronic pavement-posts every few metres are planned. It will create a new-meaning for “computer-crashes”.
Parked Cars Block Streets. If people eventually give up car ownership and instead summon computer or Uber driven cars, while the number of road journeys will increase – perhaps doubling journeys - the number of parked cars ought to reduce; helping to clear roads, driveways and car-parks. But, there will be a long period of overlap, when we hang onto our own cars and try the new car-sharing system; an overlap that will increase vehicle numbers. 

Taxis, Uber or traditional, are uneconomic compared to self-drive, even allowing for car parking and car-purchase costs. 

Driverless Solutions include:

Once-upon-a-time, we will abandon our personal, polished, perfumed and groomed private carriages, playing our chosen music, and we will summon ubiquitous plastic-public-car-pods – with no thought of ego or ownership, until we encounter the last user’s dumped rubbish, half-eaten sandwich and soiled Pampers. And roads will be less congested. Say, in 30 years? 

BUSES: In theory, shared buses should be the most economic per passenger. And buses can be electric and green. In practice, however, a car carrying two persons is more economic than buses for equivalent numbers. Buses have a poor passenger-load factor (empty seat miles) and consume more road space per passenger than cars. 

Bus-lanes, often empty of buses, consume half the entire length of roads; a large waste of scarce, costly road-surface. Buses take more than their fair-share of road-space.

Traffic flow benefits from fewer road restrictions, signs and rules; cluttered roads cause gridlock and accidents. This could and should be inexpensively corrected now. At the same time, the hundreds of thousands of road-signs, many unnecessary, should be redesigned. The road-furniture industry needs overhauling and re-costing.

The economic reality of buses relates to the ratio of vehicle to passenger weight -  and the valuable time passengers spend waiting and then travelling slowly. Many bus passengers are poorer people who put a low value their own time. However, for both rich and poor passengers, billions of pounds of productive time are wasted.
Another factor is that buses are parked for about half their lives (cars are parked 90% of their lives). 

Buses are very heavy, per passenger, and share the Taxi problem; they are often partly or wholly empty of passengers; making uneconomic journeys and taking up disproportionate road space (per passenger mile). In busy towns and cities, in peak hours, buses use more than 40% of the road space (and road costs). Yesterday (Feb 2017) on a main urban High Street, I saw 6 almost empty buses, nose-to-tail, taking all the road space; even pedestrians couldn’t get around them. Like HGVs they chew up road surfaces, constantly requiring repairs that close off routes for all road users. 




Introducing driver-only buses, doubled journey times. Today, solo-ticketing-drivers hold-up all road users, forcing all traffic to queue, burn more fuel and waste more passenger and driver time. The old saw about no bus arriving then three coming at once, has, evolved to five buses, from different bus companies, coming at once. All traffic piles up in gridlock behind the five competing buses and cyclists take to the pavements; and collide with pedestrians.

Despite huge subsidies, including expensive traffic blocking bus-lanes, today’s bus-systems are uneconomic – except for the private owners of bus companies - who retire to castles in Scotland – and invite traffic-planners and City dignitaries for grouse shooting. 

Buses Solutions include:

Smaller, 10 person, door-to-door buses, summoned on mobile-phones, which one day could be driverless. Frequent free-ferry-buses, hop-on-and-off, timed to stop bunching, on all main roads in and out - to out-of-town bus and coach depots; electric of course. 

Stamford University has an electric bus that runs on tarmac over a buried electricity cable, which transmits power by induction. Something for the next century perhaps. 




Manchester had a large Trolley-Bus fleet, powered from overhead wires. It was clean, quiet, popular and efficient – so “they” scrapped it; a few years before Beeching tore up hundreds of train branch lines. As electricity driven transport is two or three times more energy efficient than diesel, it is a pity that Manchester wasted its Trolley-Bus-Fleet. 

PEDAL & ELECTRIC BICYCLES – Pedal bikes are the most energy efficient form of transport, even outranking walking. A small bowl of muesli will fuel a couple of hours of pedalling, at as much as an average 15 miles per hour for fit enthusiasts. Thirty miles from a few grams of seeds; little wonder that birds can migrate thousands of miles on such a rich diet. A rewarding experience for the fit and healthy on a beautiful day on empty roads. (N.B. Motorbikes are included in the car statistics) 

The reality of urban cycling is less appealing; awful air pollution, rain, cold, bullying cars, lorries, vans and buses, cycle-lanes that suddenly end and pitch you out into the teeth of oncoming enraged motorists; blinded at night by car headlights; attacked by drivers and walkers if you cycle through red-lights; and wheel-wrecking kerbside potholes – concealed when filled with water. 

My daughter had perfect health before commuting for a year or two by bike, through Trafalgar Square in the late Eighties. She survived several near misses from buses and ministerial limousines, but developed asthma, which persists to this day. Who can she sue for London’s polluted air? 

In correspondence with Lord Weinstock of GEC some years ago, we figured out how small electric motors could make a cyclist’s life easier and safer. But, like many good ideas and prototypes, the real world could not accommodate the cycle traffic. There wasn’t and still isn’t enough road space for safe cycling.

Cycling Solutions Include:






Properly designated cycle paths, separate from traffic and walkers, and secure cycle parks. Also, variations in The Highway Code to allow for safe priority at traffic lights and other vehicle barriers. Power-assisted cycles are little different to pedal power except they better enable satellite navigation and perhaps visible signals to drivers. South-East China has just openedan aerial cycle-way (above) in Xiamen.

WALKING AND CONVEYORS – Also in past correspondence with Lord Weinstock of GEC, we figured out how robust conveyor belts as used in factory-production lines could be used on main urban roads – to convey walkers and their luggage and parcels into and out of city centres to bus and train stations. 




The economics and energy equations are positive. The materials and power engines are more than sufficient and reliable to carry thousands of pedestrians. Slow belts could align with faster moving belts, for the impatient, athletic and the well balanced to overtake the halt and lame.

Belts can be equipped with architecturally pleasing weather protection. Double or treble walking speeds could be achieved. These ideas were defeated by, again, the lack of road space – even elevated conveyors need dedicated ground space – but defeated mostly by visions of timid bewildered commuters failing to leap to or from moving belts or cart away their luggage as they exited. It has since been done, in small part, at airports such as Gatwick where 100 metre long conveyors are now installed. It might be worth revisiting the concept for urban roads. It would have value if pedestrians, using conveyors, significantly reduced their reliance on cycles, buses and cars. 

In the meantime, pedestrians still have to battle along uneven, unrepaired pavements - circumventing gas and telephone engineers’ pits, in air-pollution corridors, made to give way at every road junction, in rain or shine, sleet or hail, with today, in this Brave New World, the added peril of colliding with screen-addicted walkers, who will risk death to flick and view the latest False-News from Alt-Right websites or to spot a fond message from their mum – rather than watch where they are walking. 

Pedestrian Solutions include:

 “No Wheeled Vehicles”, all traffic banned from safe pedestrianised areas; road-laid pedestrian-conveyors as above; elevated walkways; dedicated jogging paths. Pedestrians need more road-space.

HGVS – LORRIES – VANS – COMMERCIAL VEHICLES occupy half of day-time major roads space, despite being less than one-million freight-vehicles, compared to 30 million cars.(HGV = Heavy Goods Vehicle)

The majority of cars are in use mostly during commute and school-run hours; they also run around small suburban streets, for shopping, and, as leisure time increases, cluster in tourist spots, where mega-HGVs fear to tread.
But, the most significant factor of the road-occupation logic is that private cars spend 90% of their lives parked and immobile and only 10% en-route. Business cars spend about 20% of the work-week en-route.

In contrast, commercial and freight vehicles spend about 70% of the working week out on the roads. They must work for a living. And, while the registered lorry-to-car vehicle ratio is approximately one-to-thirty, a forty-foot HGV occupies up to 80 feet of road (safe-distance) which is equivalent to a queue of 6 cars. 

The calculations of which classes of vehicles occupy road space – at what times of the 24-hour day – and of which other road users are most inconvenienced – are, as said earlier - very complex. The traffic models at, for example, The Transport Catapult in Milton Keynes, are impressive and useful but not yet definitive. If predictive traffic models, combined with the UK’s blanket CCTV coverage, were wholly reliable – we could cut gridlocks – and air pollution. These worthwhile goals are still in the future. Gridlock-Forecasting lags behind Weather-Forecasting. In the meantime, people, particularly road users, are suffering from exhaust-gases, noise, structural damage, delays, accidents and avoidable deaths. 

The day-to-day experiences of the AA and RAC, of professional commercial drivers, of freight vehicles, buses, taxis and of business cars are as good at reporting real conditions as are the available computer models. One’s own direct experience of road journeys, if analysed without personal bias or bigotry, provide a valid, up-to-date snapshot of the users of our roads. We are all transport engineers and economists. 

Here is my strongest recommendation; send fright underground:
(TTINT) will make a major contribution to freeing road-space and urban streets.

ELECTRIC-CAPSULE-PIPELINE-FREIGHT. CLEAN AIR & CLEAR ROADS.
We do need alternative forms of transport; just as the USA moved on from Covered Waggons to The Great Iron Horse that Crosses the Prairies, then to diesel engines and Throughways – Britain must modernise its transport. India and China and the world will buy our clean solutions.

Reduce the weight and size of all vehicles. Weight governs the energy-physics and often the road-space of transport.

Minimum weight vehicles (MWVs) use less energy. It is deeply perverse that as the Green revolution got underway and the intellectual Governor Al Gore was promoting Inconvenient Truths, Motown-Detroit made a comeback by selling retro, 12 mpg, SUVs, 4-Wheel-Drive trucks as family cars (inspired by the luxury Range Rover, in turn inspired by the Renault Espace).
In our road-space-greedy SUVs and Chelsea Tractors, we are all pioneering explorers, battle-ready Marines and Commandos, ready to drive through muck and bullets and hell – to get to the office or school on time, in our best suits and polished shoes. 

Equally perverse at that time, governments licenced larger lorries to plough-up the roads.




Most freight vehicles, lorries, vans, HGVs and containers, are half-empty or wholly empty half their journeys. 

An HGV enthusiast, Mr Denby, is seen here (below) pushing the legal boundaries in his 80 ft. long, 8 axle, HGV, which to stay within the 40 tonne legal weight limit, will carry packets of potato-crisps. Such vehicles, capable of carrying 60 tonnes, will each do hundreds-of-thousands of pounds/dollars of damage to road surfaces – and cost other road users billions of pounds in lost productivity and delays. Asthma sufferers will suffer more. Such HGVs are mostly transporting fresh-air – and their own weight, plus 1,000 lbs of fuel and a driver. Just 8% of the diesel is used to transport the freight. 






than a standard lorry would enable the number of lorries on British motorways to be reduced by a third, the company says. It claims it would be environmentally friendly and although it would weigh 60-tons fully loaded, the firm would only load it to the maximum UK weight limit of 44-tons.

All major vehicle manufacturers are now offering hybrid or electric-only vehicles. Britain can boast the innovative Milk-Float – we were first. Electric freight is most efficient in pipeline-capsules. Electric cars do need and will get new infrastructure, thanks to innovators like Elon Musk. Change is necessary, is economic and is profitable.






GO ELECTRIC BUT DON’T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER

It makes no economic sense to have spent 150 years and billions of dollars on finding, mining and refining coal, oil and gas, to now spurn fossil fuels as we go green. Carbon based fuels are energy efficient – a lump of coal has a high calorific value and, like oil, is rich in complex molecules that we can and do use. Plastics and road-surfaces are oil-based.

For example, Aspirin today comes from benzene (petrol-oil); Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals in the US today. It is used predominately as a starting material in making other chemicals–including aspirin and other drugs. 

Fossil fuel industries will survive and thrive if they devote the same energy to clean use of carbon-based compounds as we all have applied to our mindless and dirty exploitation of them – particularly since the industrial revolution.
Massive investment is needed to use coal and oil without poisoning people and the planet. It is the same dilemma faced by the nuclear industry – tremendous source of energy but very dangerous to use – and costly to clean up. More thought and research are required. Fossil fuels can be used to make electricity, without pollution. There are scientific proposals to do this. 

What will happen to fossil fuel prices? If I could be confident of my prophetic powers, I could become a Bull or Bear, go Short or Long in the Free Markets, and make a million. I am not confident enough to buy or sell oil Futures – but my guess is that fossil fuel prices will fall as the green energy revolution, coupled to the Electronic revolution, replaces fossil fuels.

GO ELECTRIC

To power transport by electricity, be it TESLA cars, Ford Hybrids or English Milk-Floats – using batteries, wireless micro-waves, tram-rails, overhead wires or under-road induction cables, requires us to double the electricity we currently generate.
Simply, if there are, say, 5 million diesel vehicles travelling on UK roads at any one time, each weighing on average 1 tonne – all to be converted to be powered by electricity; the additional electric power must move 5 million tonnes. Insert the multiples for distance, speed, and for hills, and the “load” calculation doubles or trebles. 

Electrified: Professor Sir David JC MacKay calculated that all UK transport, if electrified, will use 18 kiloWatt hours, per day, per person – as compared to the current fossil fuel energy spend of 40 kiloWatt hours, per day, per person – for transport. Sir David, Chief Scientific Adviser on energy and climate change, died in 2016.

Power-line electric energy, via modern batteries, for transport, is more than twice as efficient as diesel; which is carted around in millions of fuel tanks and burnt in diverse engines of varied efficiency. 

All UK energy: For our 62 million people, in the UK we have a generating capacity of 80 gigawatts (billion watts) from which our high-points of use peaks at around 52 gigawatts. Of the 80 gigawatts maximum capacity, 11 gigawatts are (Feb 2017) from “green” generators, mostly windfarms. 




Simplifying the arithmetic and comparing energy sources: The peak capacity use, of about 52 gigawatts, might, for example, be used for a short period, say 5 seconds. If half of the millions of devices are switched off after 5 seconds, then the electricity required drops to 26 gigawatts. If they all switch ON again the “load” shoots back up to 52 gigawatts.
The National Grid smooths out and balances the load and the generators – almost instantly – at 75% to 50% of light-speed (300,000 km per second in a vacuum), depending on the wires being negotiated. Even at 150,000 km per second, the system is very, very fast. Lightning fast, we might say.

BUT – to compare electrical energy for transport, with diesel energy for the same transport (dictated by weight, friction, speed, inclines etc.) requires us to bring in TIME. So, we make the calculations in megawatt-hours; it’s the same load, the same generating capacity required – running for a number of hours.

There is scientific debate about the relative efficiency of burning fuel carried in millions of depreciating diesel vehicles – or generating power in static locations (power-stations) and transmitting it along cables (heat-loss) to battery recharging stations – with heavy batteries carried around in millions of depreciating vehicles. Each system claims overall benefits. Neither has yet proved their case. 

MacKay calculated that to convert all UK transport onto electric power – we will need to double the generating capacity. We have 2,000 power stations – we will need 4,000 – with a peak capacity of 104 gigawatts (104 billion watts or 104,000 megawatts). 

Professor MacKay expressed these energy calculations, for an all-electric transport system, in kilowatts (thousand watts) per person per day – as “18 kilowatt hours per day per person”. Think of a cold, lonely person in finger-gloves huddled over a miserable one-bar, one-kilowatt 1960’s electric domestic fire and running it for one hour, every day of the year; that’s the energy we consume for our personal transport and freight. 

MacKay used the same units for diesel (fossil fuels) and for electric power; enabling comparison. Five energy plans for Britain – Sustainable energy without the hot air.  Concluding that electric transport will use one-quarter of the energy used by equivalent diesel-engine transport. 

Elon Musk’s (TESLA) current work on electric vehicles has greatly improved distance, speed and batteries. He has installed thousands of re-charging points, across America and Europe. Every fuel station, hotel, office, shop and home will have one. TESLA is building the largest factory in the world, a solar-powered Giga-Factory, to meet demand. When parked – Plug It In.




As our American cousins might tell us – We need to get with the program.
This electric transport revolution does not immediately reduce traffic – but the street level air will be cleaner – for all road users – and energy costs will be halved.

THE TRANSPORT INTERNET & FOODTUBES (TTINT)
At the heart of my recommendations is a system, conceived over 10 years by a team of 21 experts, that will take 50% of freight vehicles off the roads; and delivers that freight through pipelines at 10% of today’s costs and energy; clearing the streets for people. “The most economic freight transport devised.” It is electric-powered.

BLOOMBERG : By 2040, the world’s power-generating capacity mix will have transformed: from today’s system composed of two-thirds fossil fuels to one with 56% from zero emission energy sources. Renewables will command just under 60% of the 9,786GW of new generating capacity installed over the next 25 years, and two thirds of the $12.2 trillion of investment.




TTINT lightweight cargo-capsules, are 1.56 M3 (cubic metres) and carry up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo, have no motors and are driven by external LIMs - electro-magnetic, briefcase sized, solid-state windings - able to propel and brake the capsules at all sensible speeds – as used in fairground rides and passenger trains since 1890, now used in modern airports to haul luggage, and used to launch planes from US aircraft carriers. TTINT capsules can be delivered to the top floors of high buildings - by LIM power – or indeed, when the TTINT network is global, will be routed automatically by computer from Cape Town to Edinburgh. 
Change is possible, it is necessary and economic. Britain should lead this transport change – whatever Big-Oil says.

Our 2006-08 St Andrews prize-winning UK project, will replace half the commercial-freight vehicles with electric-pipeline-capsules. It is unique, very green, lean and mean. It has no moving parts – except the lightweight cargo-capsules. It can readily be installed anywhere on Earth by the water & oil & gas pipeline-industries who have laid one-million kilometres of large diameter pipes. Freight pipelines are far less technically demanding than gas-pipes.

Applied to Greater London’s 5M homes, TTINT will deliver goods at the world’s lowest costs, make a 20% profit and save 10.2 million tonnes of COper annum (213 M litres of diesel). What’s not to like?

Offered to the world it will create 60,000 long-term UK engineering jobs, and help to keep global warming below the feared +2C temperature rise. 

TTINT IN BRIEF:

We invented The Transport Internet (TTINT) to significantly reduce air pollution at street level and greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere. As an indication, it saves about 16% of carbon-dioxide in zones where it replaces lorries. TTINT will allow us to breathe clean air – even in Oxford Street, London. 

UK air pollution 'linked to 40,000 early deaths a year' - BBC News  www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35629034 23 Feb 2016 - Air pollution contributes to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK,

Food transport accounts for 25% of all the miles driven by heavy goods vehicles on our roads. The use of HGVs to transport food has doubled since 1974.




Beating our carts, covered waggons, vans, and lorries into Pipelines makes the most economical transport. We might constantly ask “What are we trying to transport – 60 packets of Cornflakes or a 10-tonne lorry, driver, fuel and 60 packets of Cornflakes?” 

Pipelines, which are static immobilised vehicles, are the most economic and efficient conduits or vehicles for all suitably sized goods. In pipelines, only the goods move – the vehicle, the pipeline, stays still.
Existing pipelines economically transport billions of tons of water, oil, gas and dry-freight (evenquarry stone) which if transported by road would gridlock all streets, cities and ports. 

Globally, there are 1 million km. of large diameter pipes, working 24 hrs x 365 days, alongside roads, with minimum energy, pollution or public knowledge.  Updating and extending the existing pipeline infrastructure for freight will liberate  road-space and annually save billions of litres of diesel and poisonous exhaust.



This Greater London model, using data from TESCO, for groceries feeding the 5 million homes in Greater London using TTINT pipelines, annually saves 10.2 billion tonnes of CO2 and $342 million of diesel. It makes $1.7 billion profit – charging $5 per cargo-capsule.  Additionally, other dry-goods doubles the profits and CO2 saved. TESCO, CARREFOUR, OCADO and Croydon BC have expressed interest.  




TTINT will also enable supermarkets to become parcel-hubs, for householders, Royal Mail, Amazon and others – helping to solve The Last Mile problem. In due course, smaller pipes will deliver direct to homes and offices.  

TTINT will consist of many, interlinked 100 km circuits of 1.3 metre-wide pipelines, silently carrying ultra-lightweight 1 x 2 metre freight-capsules (size of a person) 24 hours a day. It replaces 50% of freight vehicles, their pollution and road space. It will be a major international industry. It is the most economical freight system yet devised. The pipelines will last 100 years before overhaul (Dr Jonathan Carter, Imperial College Engineering). The computer guided capsules are driven by electric LIMS embedded in the pipes. 




CLEAR THE ROADS & CLEAN THE AIR: TESCO signed a data-share agreement with us. OCADO express interest – Croydon BC and TfL will consider installing a $300 million TTINT “Typical Circuit” from an M25 transfer depot, to end Croydon’s twice-daily traffic gridlocks. Croydon will make $50 million a year profit from the circuit. TTINT features in a Transport for London (TfL) Future Freight paper; TfL’s ex-Vice-Chair, Dave Wetzel, globally recommends it. The global pipeline industry can readily install our “Typical 100 km Circuits” to deliver food & dry-goods. 

ECONOMICAL: It is better to install & extend TTINT than to continually patch-up existing damaged roads. TTINT reverses the startling fact that for today’s road and rail freight, 92% of the fuel moves the heavy, often empty vehicles; only 8% moves the cargo. Minimum Weight Vehicles (MWVs) can economically reverse this. Pipelines are the ultimate MWVs, with the best parcel-to-vehicle ratios.

CRITICS: We have promoted TTINT widely since 2006. It saves $340 million of diesel fuel annually on delivering groceries for Greater London, which extrapolates across the UK as savings of $2.7 billion in diesel fuel; oil companies fear this. Road damage is 70% caused by HGV’s and costs $10 billion a year. New UK roads investment is estimated as $7 billion a year; road builders rely on this. Road repairers and freight-vehicle promoters cry “No new infrastructure” while we spend $17 billion a year on “old infrastructure”.  TTINT isn’t so new – water pipelines date-back to ancient Rome. Oil & Gas pipelines have fuelled all civilised regions, globally, for a century.

PROFITABLE: TTINT is professionally priced and costed. The advantages are many. If 40 ft. long, 30 tonne HGVs, at 60 mph, leave 3 vehicle lengths for safety, think of the road space they occupy. 

SHORTER SAFER JOURNEYS: Travelling under, over or through obstacles, pipeline journeys are far shorter. It reaches many more destinations (Terminals) – delivering direct into offices, schools, colleges, streets, stores and recyclers.
ROAD & RAIL DAMAGE: Replace HGVs and the costs and frequency of repairs, on for example the M25, are greatly reduced. Reduce road works, and let lighter traffic flow easily, and costs and pollution are reduced. 

COMMERCIALLY SCALEABLE: TTINT does not need a national network to start. Engineers describe it as “Shovel Ready”. It will be installed in 100 km Typical Circuits, each with about 300 IN/OUT Terminals. These Circuits will later be linked to form TTINT nationally and then internationally. TTINT pipelines can be laid under-seas and through mountains, as are water, gas & oil pipes.




EXAMPLE: Croydon – 130,000 homes. To cart groceries IN and the rubbish OUT, daily requires 700 freight vehicles. Replace them and Croydon will eliminate gridlocks. The old-town narrow streets will enjoy clean air, and be free of huge, dangerous delivery vehicles. The main roads will be free running, halving bus and car journey times and air pollution. We address the Final-Mile requirement by decanting into smaller cargo-capsules at local shops. Streets can share a Terminal.

The Croydon Grocery Circuit will cost $3M per km to install, $300M in all, in a loop from a depot on the M25. This Typical Circuit will charge £3 ($5) on members’ Debit Cards per cargo-capsule, and will make profits of about $50 million a year. Various specialist capsules are planned. A simple way to get started will be a direct road-relief-pipeline from, say, Southampton docks to TESCO main hubs – near Northampton. 

CLIMATE CHANGE: Global Warming is real. Seas and estuaries might rise. Many large diameter pipelines already run under seas, rivers, mountains and cities. Pipelines are waterproof. Terminals (exits and entrances) can be raised above anticipated high-water marks. TTINT delivers whatever the weather or climate; even in London-on-Sea. 




MAJOR, NEW, UK EXPORT INDUSTRY: Installing Circuits globally will create about 60,000 permanent high quality UK jobs. Such circuits and capsules will be sold to every city and nation. TTINT is competitive with all other freight transport – even for the simplest cargoes in the most rural and natural regions. BUSINESS MODEL FOR LONDON

THE INTERNET OF THINGS


THE INFORMATION SOCIETY – ELECTRONIC REVOLUTION


The Electronic and Telecommunications revolution, essentially computers and the Internet, is the fastest, deepest, economic revolution the world has seen. It is still in its early stages. It seems that electronics will transform everything we do, now and into the far future. And it almost certainly will. But when and how soon will it transform transport on the roads? 

The Transport Catapult at Milton Keynes – and many other research groups the world over – are modelling the next generation of transport – transporting, people, goods, information and energy. 




It took 70 years to ban lead-in-petrol. Electric cars broke the land-speed record on the 18th January 1899 at 66 mph (Now 322 mph ). It has taken 118 years to appreciate the technology and get back to it with TESLA, which is hardly yet off the starting blocks. So why hurry, what’s the rush? 

Firstly – Relying on Big Oil to power transport is poisoning the humans and the planet. Diesel exhaust particulates have just been found 10 km deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, along with a tin of SPAM. At 7 billion people and growing, we must fix the pollution problem immediately – or else. 

Secondly – The Internet generation is very, very impatient. Though the Grey-Panthers and Baby-Boom-Generation have the capital and governance, the Electronic-Generation is unimpressed and are maturing in a different universe. They are also far taller than my peer group; so, they can see further.
The entire transport system could, scientifically and logically, now be subjected to computer control and instant telecoms. An App or multiple Apps will be created – vehicles will be adapted to respond and the transformation will happen. 

But it will take time. Grey Panthers block the progress. We like and admire our perfected internal combustion engines and Formula One racing cars. Old habits die hard. Stone and tarmac roads don’t respond to computer commands. There are 30 million UK steel vehicles, quietly depreciating in garages and driveways, and multi-billion dollar companies that serve them. 

Manufacturing vehicles is almost fully automated. Vehicles are fitted with more and more Apps, telecoms and gizmos. 

In theory, if all vehicles are fitted with distance sensors, Sat-Navs, and automatic acceleration and brakes, working faster than humans can react, vehicles could drive at higher speeds, closer together and increase motorway densities by 2 or 3 times. 

In theory, driverless vehicles, also working faster than human reactions, could drive at optimum speeds, criss-crossing at junctions, with no need to pause, or need for those old-fashioned traffic lights. But, coward that I am, my laptop will not be whizzing me through busy junctions at high speed – or any speed. I am a hands-on Luddite driver. 




In theory, driverless taxis will drop off a fare, and simultaneously tune into the next nearest customer, and be off in seconds to collect that fare and take them on their journey. 

Huge passenger planes do have such sophisticated electronic and telecoms piloting systems. But their systems cost tens of millions; still require two or three pilots in the cabin, hundreds of air-traffic controllers on the ground, and an international communications infrastructure; and planes have far more room for manoeuvre in three dimensions than any land locked road vehicle. 

Kids, anoraks, nerds, spies and governments all enjoy hacking computer-systems. Any system that puts lives at risk must be hardened against accidental and deliberate intrusion. Recently a$100M submarine Trident missile was tested – it flew off in the wrong direction, somewhere over Florida. Fortunately, it wasn’t armed. Trident dates back to 1980. It has had 36 years of very expensive guidance development. 

Yesterday – my elderly, Windows 10 laptop, perfectly well behaved for a year or more, picked up a virus, crashed, and is “beyond rescue” according to my computer consultant. Microsoft have had 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to beat the hackers. Thank heavens it wasn’t a car, lorry or combine-harvester that ran amuck. 

With long experience of business computers, from 1987, and having written several papers forecasting the future use of computers and the Internet – I guess that the technology to control volumes of traffic in real-time will take 25 years to mature and to be as safe as the roads are today with human drivers. Other road users – pedestrians and cyclists, will also need to be equipped with sensors, for driverless vehicles to “see” them clearly. It will be many years before the UK’s 30 million vehicles are computer-driven.

Objective: Cost effectively clear the roads, clean the air and make streets safer and pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists; and the roads more efficient for all drivers. In our democracy, most citizens prefer to go by car. 

76% of commuters travel by car. 64% of all journeys are by car. In contrast, Central Londoners use more trains, taxis and buses. Rather than fight citizens’ preference for cars, road plans should accommodate their choice; making more road-space for cars.

ROAD SPACE - PAYING FOR THE CHANGES.

To make better use of roads and streets and share road-space, we need to:

reduce the amount of traffic – i.e. daily vehicle movements.
reduce the number of vehicles – most are parked most of their lives.
reduce the size and weight of vehicles – can we ration road space.
reduce the size of buses – which are half empty much of the day.
have logical central control over bus movements and systems.
Have safe and pleasant cycle lanes – and pedestrian ways.
reduce people journeys – modern teleworking can do this.
reduce the cubic capacity of freight vehicles – most are half empty.
reduce the weight of buses and HGVs – they chew up road surfaces.
reduce lengthy road-works – large skilled fast teams will do this.
apply The Internet of Things to traffic flows – coordinated telecoms.
examine and apply emerging hi-tech solutions and inventions.
put freight into pipeline-cargo-capsules – particularly in cities.

RECOMMENDATIONS - ROAD SPACE




TTINT pays for itself but requires Ministry of Transport and Planning Permission to install. The owners will be private investors. It is laid in Typical 100 km Circuits, each costing $300 million, making $50 million profit per annum. Circuit Owners will raise shareholder-investment. Some owners will be Local Authorities.

Other financial benefits are also large. They include:
Saving, by not renewing, half the road freight transport fleet,
Plus: Saving more than half of road repairs,
Plus: Saving $2.7 billion a year in diesel,
Plus: Saving substantial health-costs.




But it is difficult to see how the savings would be applied to roads.; e.g. the road fund licence tax is absorbed into general taxation. The other savings benefit commercial companies – who are unlikely to volunteer the money for the public purse. Roadway civil-engineers and freight-vehicle importers will lose revenues.

One way forward will be for HM Government to take a stake in the TTINT head-franchise-company, exporting globally, and receive their share of dividends, to be used for investment into the roads. 



Governments, including the UK, are investing in electric vehicles (EVs) and infrastructure. The UK reduces the Road Fund Licence for EVs and is making grants for street-re-chargers. Though growing rapidly, EV cars and lorries only number about 30,000 units a year – all imported. If not encouraged, this small industry could be snuffed out. 




A serious mistake occurring now is that local authorities buy plug-in street-chargers from diverse suppliers; which use their own technologies, which are not compatible. These battery chargers should be standardised; to avoid the Victorian-era mismatched railway-track-gauge error. 

20 June 2017 - Update on self-driving cars: 


Tesla not at fault for 2016 crash as driver received several warnings


***
Ask Elon Musk, of TESLA, to specify chargers, because he has already reduced re-charging time from 4 hours to 45 minutes – he claims. Trickle charging small car batteries used to take 12 to 24 hours.
30,000 wholly electric cars, plus 30,000 each year, will in 5 years be 150,000 cars, not burning diesel – saves more than £2.2 billion in imported fuel. That is ignoring fuel taxes – which HM Government will forfeit. But, they may recover the same amount by taxing transport-electricity. HM Treasury could pay the £2.2 billion saved on imports, into the road-fund – plus the national health premium – plus the EU fines for pollution. The electric infrastructure is most likely to be private-sector funded. 

Mainly Private-Sector. Passenger Load Factor - Buses are 50% empty for 50% of their journeys. Form a holding company to franchise and control all UK bus companies. “UK Buses plc” will coordinate all bus routes and timetables owned by all subsidiary companies to ensure no duplication – solving the “no bus for an hour – then three come at once” problem; and the huge waste of road-space costs and time. Using computer models from, say, The Transport Catapult, the passenger loads can be anticipated. Where it is more economic to use mini-buses, passengers will communicate their travel needs. 




All main urban routes should be served by locally-owned no-fares-hop-on-hop-off ferry buses – also route planned to stop duplication. Paid for by the savings in fuel, time and depreciation for each bus-company – from which they pay a part to the central planning company. 2015 bus statistics.  

NB – Passenger planes fill 75% of available seats (load factor). Bus operators are very shy aboutpublishing their percentages.  

The USA shows how to calculate the complex bus-planning factors. It could be simplified. Start afresh. Intelligent computing will economically reduce bus-road-space.

4. Reducing lorry and van sizes, journeys and weights: 

According to the American Trucking Association, trucks move almost 80 percent of total freight in the US. At the same time, the gross revenue from freight trucking barely exceeds $700 billion annually. Local trucking industries are often inefficient and fragmented. One reason for that is empty containers, the repositioning of which is almost as costly as moving a full container.”
Apply modern computing, Sat-Nav and telecoms. This requires a high-degree of cooperation between freight companies. There are websites and apps that enable hauliers to find cargos that keep their vehicles full on both IN and OUT runs. 




However, as they deliver cargoes en-route, most vehicles are half empty on most journeys. 8% of the fuel moves the cargo – 92% moves the (often empty) lorry. The enormous DENBY 8 axle lorry (above) is a prime example – 40 tonnes capacity to carry bags of crisps. With or without The Transport Internet replacing half the freight vehicles – all freight vehicles, including Containers, could be subject to size & weight & route controls and inspections that calculate the real cargo space used. A UK intelligent cargo system might be made mandatory. 

One or more of the major trucking companies, or the AA or RAC could specify and finance new software – paid for by the members who use it. Target – to reduce kilometre-tonnes and kilometre-cubic-metres by 20%. It will save 20% of road-works, time-delays and freight-fuel. The savings and benefits to all road users are very large. Start today. Financed by the hauliers. 


Statistics show that 64% to 76% of all travellers prefer car journeys; for the convenience and because once purchased, it is cheaper, quicker and more comfortable. Some traffic planners’ wars on the car, for example at The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford  “Allow an hour to park – bleed to death while searching – and take out a mortgage to pay the parking fees”, will be less necessary if freight, duplicate-buses & other traffic is reduced, as above. 


There are dozens of ways to reduce car use. Sat-Nav now warns us of traffic jams ahead. Weather forecasts warn us not to drive. A continuous advertising campaign asking “Is your journey really necessary?” and offering alternatives, will reduce car-movements – stressing the economic, environmental and the health facts. Car makers won’t pay for the campaign; the road maintenance budget should pay and would benefit many times more than the advertising spend. Education, education, education.




Eventually, one-day, all the Information-Technology Smart-Cities solutions will be applied. The streets will be cleared of today’s 85,000 miles of parked cars (30,000,000 UK cars costing £210 billion are parked 90% of their lives - wasting £189 billion for car-owners every ten years). 

But, We The People have ingrained habits, heavily invested into cars, and the evidence indicates that the rate of change is unlikely to accelerate. Reducing the number of cars and car-journeys by, say, 20% would save families and the nation not less than £200 billion a year and prevent gridlock – but could bring down any government that attempts to deny us our shiny, quick, comfortable, ego-boosting cars. I suggest a major government PR and advertising campaign to liberate road-space.


Most bike and walking journeys are short, necessary, and take up little road space. But, even the little space allocated is becoming more crowded. Walkers and bikers have no traffic rights – they are subservient to all motorised vehicles. This is because the world population is now 7 billion and our dense-urban streets and transport systems have not kept pace, and, as Mark Twain advised, “Buy land – they’ve stopped making it”; it will get more crowded. 

Space in developed areas is ever more scarce. Public space is undervalued;
pavements, sidewalks, parks, playgrounds and open squares are being built on with no thought for transport. All new building plans should provide off-street parking for all vehicles – probably underground – or full access plans, e.g. from Park & Ride, pavement conveyors, cycle-lanes etc. Developers should pay for the transport links – which add value to their developments. 

The socio-economic value of people choosing to walk and cycle is huge – but commerce and government have no methods to ascribe the true value, which is in health (fight obesity), community, and most profitably, in reduction of vehicle movements. As it is, in the UK, parked cars have more right to pavement space than walkers & cyclists. Civil protests are needed to change this. Adequate walkways and cycleways are provided in some European cities, showing it is possible for power to give way to people. 




The conundrum is that most walkers & cyclists are also car owners. Provision for pathways almost certainly requires government funding. It might be possible to Crowd-Fund popular paths in dense-urban areas, with a lead from bicycle makers – but government should have pathway ownership and the duty to maintain them.

8 Reduce lane closures due to road-works. Park cars off-street.

All road users are delayed by road works and street work. An estimated three million holes are dug in our roads every year by more than 200 companies.
Daily Mirror: “…causes eight out of 10 drivers to get stuck in roadworks every day and makes 70% of them late for work. According to the poll of 3,000 motorists by the insurance firm More Th>n, many are out of pocket by about £25 a week due to the extra fuel bills caused by the delays. With the overall cost to the UK £4.2 billion every year, ministers fear it is thwarting economic recovery.”
Plans made in the 1990’s to decrease unemployment and spread paid work, included halving deadlines for road-works, obliging contractors to double the teams (and so employ more people). In November 2016 this Japanese team repaired a city sink-hole in two days – headlined  “Blink and you’ll miss it”. 




In 1952, I met a 70 year old Canadian owner of a house-building firm; for his retirement gift they built him a new house in 10 days.

It has long been proposed to shift utilities from under the streets into accessible Utility Tunnels– where they can be serviced without digging up streets.
In the current political climate to renew utilities, now would be a good time to take all these actions. Fast-Teams will halve or quarter the time of current works – immediately saving travellers £2.1 billion. Persisting with the strategy will annually save highways authorities billions – and travellers billions. 

Street Parking – Most cars are parked 96% of their lives. Most homes are in urban areas and most have a car. In 2010, there were 22.4 million dwellings in England. Some 66% of these were owner occupied.  In 2010, 40% of dwellings had use of a garage, 26% had other off street parking, 32% relied on street parking, and 2% of homes had no parking provision whatsoever. 

Overnight street parking is used by about 10 million cars: at 20ft per space that’s 38,000 miles of parked cars – most on narrow urban streets, which obstructs the safe free-flow of traffic, including walkers and cyclists. 

Parking recommendation: A premium or levy charged on every new and used car sale, varied by size of vehicle, to pay for local car parks that will take cars off the streets. These could be on open ground or, preferably, be multi-storey.
Liberate road-space. Local MPs and Councillors could press, now, for their districts to be transformed.

END



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