Anorak News | The Mobile Office

The Mobile Office

by | 1st, August 2006

JOURNEY Times Targets for Urban Areas begins in grand style.

Written by Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for Transport, the document has noble aims.

Much of an MP’s work reads like fiction and anyone picking up Alexander’s writings may expect to find within Edwina Currie-like stories of flesh and sex or Ann Widdecombe-style tributes to fortitude and wholly sexless middle-class lives.

But while lacking in such traits, the work is far reaching and touches us all. Alexander’s notes that accompany the report begin: “The accessibility of our cities is key to their economic growth and success. It is therefore important that local authorities take responsibility for addressing the problem of road congestion, and the impact on journey times caused by the increasing numbers of journeys being made.”

Alexander writes like Charles Dickens’ in A Tale of Two Cities, only with more cities and slower moving traffic.

The work details the targets for journey times in some of the UK’s major urban centres. As the Times reports, the Government’s target in Bristol will be met if “average journey times were to increase by no more than 14 per cent”.

The paper says this works out to be an extra 30 minutes a week, or 24 hours a year. (Journalists are notoriously bad at sums and figures should be rounded up or down to the nearest sign of the tangent and so forth etc.)

And that means motorists in Bristol will spend an extra day of their lives in traffic by 2010. Plans to have traffic levels reduced in cities by 8 per cent – as outlined in a “pledge” made in 2000 – have been pulped.

The paper notes what was said in 2000 by the then Transport Minister, Gus MacDonald. “Crucially, congestion on our roads will be reduced from present levels by 2010.”

This will not be so. But perhaps this is cause for celebration. Cars are our second biggest expense after a home, and much more affordable.

Another hour in the company of our in-car MP3 players, hidebound chairs, sat in a place where we can freely smoke in public might be good for us all.

It all depends on which way you want to look at it. As the aforesaid, Mr Alexander-Dickens might say, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of in-car air-conditioning and mobile phones…

Posted: 1st, August 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink