Are High Fuel Prices the Real Cure for Road Congestion?

As I’ve said in the past, I’m firmly of the opinion that high fuel prices, road charging, congestion charges and anything else that encourages car users off the roads are a good thing for the transport industry in general and the same-day courier industry in particular.

This report from the AA seems to back up my view. It quotes Government figures estimating that car traffic during April, May and June 2008 was 2% down on the same period last year. The report goes on to say that 55% of AA members who answered a recent poll claimed to have cut down on car use because of high fuel prices.

The rest of the report highlights the fact that many AA members (whom we can assume have access to a motor vehicle) also use public transport on a regular basis. The regional split in public transport use is quite startling. Londoners, with congested roads, an extensive (and subsidised) public transport system and a congestion charge for car use in the central area, are almost twice as likely to leave the car at home and use public transport as residents of Wales.

Now that fuel prices have dropped slightly it will be interesting to see whether the decline in car use continues. I really hope it does and in fact I’d be more than happy to see fuel at £2/litre if it means significantly less traffic on the road.

To me the real problem is that the public transport infrastructure outside London just isn’t good enough to give many people a viable alternative to car use.

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 3:56 pm, August 10, 2008

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