Traffic congestion – what we should not do!


There are a range of tried and tested ways of reducing traffic congestion:

Road widening.
This adds capacity to the network and in the short term appears to work. But with a growing population and more car trips, roads are soon back to their previous levels of congestion.

‘Improvements’ such as changing roundabouts, more lanes, different traffic light systems. Again the growth in traffic soon renders such schemes obsolete.

Both of these measures tend to annoy drivers while the work is carried out and as drivers notice little difference in traffic levels afterwards wonder whether the work was worth it.

Mind you most drivers probably agree with the measures in principle. Anything that will allow them to carry on driving regardless is seen as a ‘good thing’

Walking and cycling
Measures to increase walking and cycling are often elements of a transport package or development proposal. On the surface a good idea – walking and cycling can be part of a healthy lifestyle. But as a means of reducing car use it’s not going to work. People are unlikely to walk or cycle to do their weekly shop – too much to carry and too far to travel. Going to work? Very much depends on how far you have to go. Unlike the Netherlands, Cornwall is not flat – less easy for cycling.

And of course at the same time there are factors encouraging car travel – the growth of drive-in fast food outlets, more out-of-town retail parks. As the population grows development is more dispersed making it harder to get from one place to another by walking.

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