The Government’s recent motorway plans are ‘short-term and inadequate’ in dealing with the overall problem of road congestion, an RAC Foundation chief has said.
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Road users urgently needed a new deal, as they were paying £45bn a year in road taxes but only seeing £9bn a year reinvested in the road network, added the foundation’s director Professor Stephen Glaister.
Developing public transport would not reduce the need for road investment nor solve the problems of congestion and emissions levels, he said.
Motorway hard shoulders
Last week Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon gave details of more plans to cut down congestion by allowing cars to use motorway hard shoulders at busy times.
At a transport conference in London, Prof Glaister said: ‘The Government’s most recent announcement on roads is a step in the right direction, but it is inadequate in dealing with the overall roads problem. The plans focus exclusively on the UK’s motorway system, which ignores the severe problems faced by the nation’s suburbs.
‘Hard-shoulder running is a short-term measure rather than a proper alternative to widening or developing new routes to suit growing needs. Active traffic management has to be done diligently to meet safety requirements, which has significant cost implications. When this is taken into account, hard-shoulder running has little advantage over road widening, particularly where improvements to junction capacity are concerned.
‘A new deal for road users is required. Motoring taxation should be transparent and fair and road development should be based on a proper, long-term strategy.’
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