Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who Benefited The Most?

Which road users have benefited from the most infrastructure development?


Consider the Roman roads, well engineered but built for only specific road users - soldiers.

With the technology available the Romans made their roads fit for purpose, meeting the needs of that road user.


Road Evolution To Now

It is easy to take for granted the evolution of Britain's roads, from foot, to horseback, to packhorse, to horse and cart, to stagecoach, and so on.

Fast-forward to now, and which road users have benefited from the most infrastructure development?


Number 1) Motorists.
Thousands and thousands of purpose built roads, tarmac almost everywhere. Fuel garages constructed in every conceivable direction. Plus all the expense to try and reduce the harm and danger inherent in these roads: For example traffic controls, road maintenance, speed reduction, traffic calming, etc, etc. Even ferries and trains re-sized to take cars across the sea. Quite an amazing faith put in only one aging technology.


Number 2) Pedestrians.
Peds have endless miles of purpose built footpaths, residentially at least - roads and pavements are built hand in hand. Expensive pedestrian crossings and traffic lights - trying to suppress the violent movement of metal, cutting hazardous scars though communities.

But not always to the pleasure of selfish motorists: http://seered.co.uk/esplanade.htm


Number 3) Cyclists.
Transport planners in my opinion have really only tossed cyclists a few token scraps of infrastructure - the odd bit of paint for a cycle "lane" (no legal status, and becomes a free car parking place anyway). Lots and lots of blue signs, with little cute bike logos, but nothing much of substance.

Note how these "investments" by local councils of paint and signs are the cheapest, least committing, easiest temporary excuse to say "we did SOMETHING for cycling" Pfff!

Working on the experienced law that - "If you build more roads, more cars will fill and congest those roads". The same rule, then, works for cycling too - If you build more dedicated cycle paths, more bikes will fill and congest those routes (in a good way!).




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1 comment:

Karl McCracken said...

Yep. It drives me crazy - especially the token-gesture-cycle-lanes that . . .

o Vanish as you pass (with right of way) in front of a T-junction.
o That have the special bumpy finish
o That have drain grates sunk 4 inches deep in them

So with few exceptions, I just ignore them - I'd rather take my chances with the motorised traffic than have to keep my attention on avoiding these built-in hazzards of cycle lanes.

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