The Road to Nowhere

Transport is a major part of modern society. It is vital to life with goods and people on the move everywhere. It affects every area of thee economy and the environment – from agriculture to shops – and is an important part of the economy in itself.

Transport and Jobs

In Britain 900,000 people are employed in transport, in jobs as diverse as car and component workers, railway ticket staff, taxi-drivers, airport baggage handlers and dockers. Too often, the Tories and big business have been able to play off one section against another: train drivers against lorry drivers or seafarers against Channel Tunnel staff, by claiming that all sectors should compete against each other, rather than there being an overall, integrated plan for transport as a whole. They have even, on occasion, used ‘environmentalism’ as a justification for instilling fear of job loss amongst workers, particularly those employed in the road transport sector but an integrated transport plan would actually create, rather than destroy, jobs.

Every form of transport has a dramatic impact on the environment. Railways, canals, roads and airports all alter nature. However, the precise way in which transport affects the environment is a result of policy decisions by government planners and big business.

Transport policy is totally dominated by private industry. In Britain the Tories have given a free reign to capitalism, with terrible results. Huge sections of transport including buses, ferries and ports, the air industry, vehicle construction, road haulage and rail have all been privatized and deregulated. At the same time, standards of public transport have declined with deregulation and lack of investment.

Killer Roads

The November 1994 Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution condemned the government’s transport policy, pointing to the total domination of cars. Car ownership in Britain has increased ten times in the last 40 years. But this is not an accident. Nor is it the fault or the responsibility of individual car owners, lorry drivers or consumers. Conscious decisions have been taken over the years to increase the dominance of road transport over other forms of transport. It was Margaret Thatcher, Tory Prime Minister in the 1980s, for example, who hailed the ‘great car economy’ as an expression of capitalist ‘individual freedom’. The 1989 transport White Paper (official government policy document) was even entitled Roads to Prosperity.

Road Transport is the single largest producer of atmospheric pollution. Globally it releases 14% of the carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, and in Britain and the USA over 25%, contributing to global warming. It releases 28% of CFCs which attack the upper atmosphere’s ozone layer and also contribute to global warming. The recent international agreements on CFCs hardly tackled car emissions. In addition 53% of all nitrogen oxide (which causes smog, contributes to acid rain and damages plant and animal life), 90% of all carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas), 46% of all hydrocarbons and 47% of all black smoke emissions (both of which are damaging to health), are caused by road traffic in Britain.

Exhaust pollution claims some 11,000 lives a year in Britain. One in seven children (much higher in many city areas) suffer from asthma, believed to be linked to air pollution. There are an estimated 30 million prescriptions written for asthma and £750 million lost in production caused by pollution-related sickness, every year.

Motor vehicles have killed 450,000 people in Britain and 18 million world-wide. 40% of all deaths in Britain are caused directly by transport, mainly by cars. Many more are injured directly in accidents and indirectly through pollution. Clearly every car and lorry should carry a health warning.

Motor vehicles are major consumers of finite resources, particularly fossil fuels. In the USA they are responsible for half the country’s oil consumption. 15% of total world oil production is burned up on US roads. Every kilometer of motorway uses 150,000 tons of gravel, which comes from digging up vast areas of countryside. There are huge mountains of billions of used car tires around the world.

TOTAL NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS2,324
Static incidents 1,650
In transit incidents 674
IN TRANSIT INCIDENTS  
During loading/unloading 34
During road transport (not motorways) 353
Incidents on motorways 67
During rail transport 48
Incidents at docks 52
Incidents at airports 16
Other transport-related incidents (not further defined)104

Incidents involving hazardous substances attended by Fire Brigades (1991)

Source: Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

Motorway Madness

Unless you’re only interested in big profits, the domination of road transport is completely irrational, both for its users and for society as a whole. Even from the point of view of the people and goods using the road transport system, it no longer works. Traffic in cities moves slower than 100 years ago, with the speed of a door-to-door journey in London and other major cities reduced to only 12 miles per hour. Motorways are increasingly just long traffic jams.

Workers who spend most of their days in cabs – from HGV and taxi drivers to van delivery workers and sales reps. – are increasingly putting their own health and safety at risk. Increased pollution doesn’t just affect people living near roads: levels of pollutants are routinely measured as higher in lorry drivers’ cabs than at the road-side. In 1993, 635 HGV drivers and passengers were killed or severely injured in road accidents. 1 Whole industries have grown up – for example, for pizza delivery – which rely entirely on very low-paid, often young, workers who daily risk their own health and safety on the roads for the sake of the bosses’ profits.

More land disappears under tarmac. An area (2,848 km2) larger than the whole of Leicestershire is now taken up by roads and an area (590 km2) twice the size of Birmingham covered with car-parks. 2 Large areas alongside roads are also so blighted as to be unusable. The petrol, oil and rubber that run off the surface, poisons the fields next to the motorway.

Just building more roads is not an answer. In the past decade the government has built more than 100 miles of motorway every year, yet it has not solved the problems. If present trends continue, car use will at least double by 2025. Where will all the cars and roads go?

New roads do not reduce congestion. They attract more traffic and lead to an increase in the number of journeys. Even the British Roads Federation, the road-building bosses’ own pressure group, seem to accept this argument. In a 1994 study, they found that a huge increase in roads expenditure – more than 50% over current levels – would be needed to stop congestion getting worse in the long-term. The Freight Transportation Association, which represents the lorry bosses, has bluntly said that: “We cannot see any way in which supply will keep pace with demand. Congestion will inevitably get worse.”

Newbury By-Pass

The 1995/96 campaign against the Newbury by-pass became one of the biggest and most important campaigns against road building. The proposed road will destroy many important wildlife and historic sites, including three Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 12 archaeology sites and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The cost of the road was estimated at £100 million, with up to an extra £1 million a day for the battle against the protesters. 1,000 security guards have been employed. The police costs were on top of all this.

All of this for a road that the Newbury council admits will not solve the traffic problems of the area! Leaked official documents at the height of the campaign estimated that the by-pass would, at best, cut two minutes off journeys! This does not even take into account the fact that the by-pass will likely attract extra journeys, only providing a few years’ respite from congestion.

All of the evidence from previous by-passes suggests that the Newbury by-pass will only lead to a greater urbanization of the area. For example, the A33 Purley by-pass was originally presented as a way of lessening congestion for the town. However, if you drive along that road today all you will see is huge ‘out-of-town’ shopping centres and units, as the road has given an impetus to ‘fill-in’ all the green spaces that previously existed.

Residents Against the M74 – Glasgow

It’s not only the countryside that is threatened with devastation by motorway building. The M74 project in Glasgow will cut huge swathes through working class communities, who are treated as badly as the natural environment.

The M74 Northern Extension was conceived in the mid-1960s as part of the Glasgow Highway Network, which also includes the M77. The Extension would begin in Carmyle at six lanes wide, before cutting through Cambuslang and Polmadie, becoming eight lanes as it cuts through Rutherglen, Toryglen and Oatlands, finally ending up at Eginton Toll, Govanhill as a massive ten lane wide construction. The 5.8-mile stretch of motorway is planned to mainly be on stilts 50 feet high, with lighting raised 30 feet above this.

The M74 Extension threatens to divide communities in two, leaving many areas with 24-hour artificial lighting. It will disturb soil known to contain toxic waste, including chromium and arsenic and pass nearby a Petroleum Gas container at Polmadie. Strathclyde Regional Council estimates that, if a car were to leave the motorway and hit this container, the resulting explosion could result in up to 350 deaths.

Rosie Kane, of Residents Against the M74 (RAM 74) takes up the story:

“Ram 74 has been up and running for around 18 months (July 1996). It was set up when I realized the ten-lane motorway would slice through Govanhill, which is where I live. I knew nothing about this monstrosity and the consultation period was over. I only discovered the M74 through reading maps on the M74 campaign.

“With other residents in Govanhill we set up RAM 74 and began our fight. We dumped toxic waste in Glasgow City Chambers with the message “if it’s good enough for our doorstep, then it’s good enough for yours.” On Burns Day we held a Burn’s Supper at Elington Toll in Glasgow, which blocked the road for most of the day. I sustained a broken foot when a big police horse stood on me.

“We have carried out several leaflet drops along the route, informing the people about the true dangers of the M74. We currently run the M74 Road Show, which is a series of slides and pictures outlining the Motorway. It also includes speakers from anti-motorway groups, anti-pollution groups, as well as myself. We visit community centers up and down the route. This approach has been very successful and has attracted fairly large audiences. We have obtained 3000 to 4000 postcards of objection, which have been sent to the Scottish office. We had been told by Michael Forsyth (Scottish Secretary) that the consultation period was over. However, he said he may consider our objections.

“A report from the Scottish Office in July 1996 concluded that the M74 may be scaled down because it is too big and expensive, which is what RAM 74 has been saying all along. We still want to see the plans scrapped and investment in public transport made a priority. Increased expenditure in good, clean and inexpensive public transport is the only way to end congestion and improve the environment and therefore people’s lives.”

The spiral of new roads, leading to more journeys and more congestion, has to be broken.

Declining public transport standards mean people increasingly rely on cars. Pedestrians and cyclists are most at risk of accident and pollution from cars. Cyclists have been virtually driven to extinction by the car in Britain. But in many German, Dutch and Scandinavian cities, over 20% of journeys are by bicycle. The Tories are quite happy to spend £2 billion a year on new roads, yet the National Lottery had to provide the £42 million needed to build a national network of cycle paths!

The priority given to cars in transport policy drives out other forms of transport. So although about half of all journeys are under two miles, more and more are done by car. At the start of the 1970s 10%of 7 to 8 year olds were driven to school, by the mid-1980s, it was 80%, mainly because children are most at risk of being hit by cars – a vicious circle.

The Shaping of Our Cities and Land

Transport has done much to shape our cities and the way we live. The rail network often determined 19th century development of cities. Now, the domination of the private car influences how society is organized. People are forced to travel more to work, shop, and for leisure. Journey distances to work and school increased by 83% between 1965 and 1990, as a result of the centralization of schools and industry, and the devastation of local shops. It is almost impossible to find green parks and trees on the edge of town these days, only retail parks filled with DIY stores, supermarkets, and giant furniture shops. Many local industries have been destroyed so people travel long distances to work. Industry makes huge demands on transport.

The growth of out-of-town shopping centers (like the Matro centre in Gateshead, Meadowhall in Sheffield and Lakeside in Essex) has increased the reliance on road transport. Many transport analysts are now starting to talk about the ‘car-less poor’. They estimate that a ‘social apartheid’ based on car ownership would comprise a minimum of 25-30% of the population and could rise to 50%. This domination of the private car discriminates against a large section of the population, especially of the old, young, women, disabled people and those on low incomes, who do not have the use of a car. They are largely ignored or at best given second-class treatment.

Local shops, where they exist, have become more expensive and stock less variety, especially of fresh foods, then large out-of-town facilities are located out of town. So cinemas have often closed and more sports facilities are located out of town. So are more hospitals, leading to expensive and exhausting trips for people attending out-patients’ appointments or visiting relatives. Any enterprising, car-less young woman who struggles back from the supermarket with a push chair, one or two toddlers and four bags of shopping on public transport will often find the savings on prices cancelled by rising bus fares.

The very same people who can’t afford cars themselves are often forced to live in inner-city areas, dominated by other people’s cars. Dual carriageways and other major roads cut through their communities. They and their children are forced to spend more and more time indoors as their streets are polluted with fumes, noise and litter.

In 1993, Tory Environment Secretary, John Gummer, announced some limited restrictions on new out-of-town shopping sites. Incredibly, Tony Blair has hinted that he would to scrap any restrictions! One newspaper reported that he ‘delighted members of the British Retail Federation at the dinner (in February 1996) when asked about out-of-town shopping. He said it was impossible to turn the clock back.’ So much for ‘environmentally friendly’ New Labour – more like ‘big business friendly’!

How Did We Get Here?

This prejudice in transport policy is hardly surprising. The automobile industry is one of the world’s biggest. Oil and car companies are eight out of tem, and 23 out of 50, of the top multinationals. Mainly male company directors in company cars, count as far as the Tories are concerned.

The advertising of a wide range of car makes and models, competing against each other, has tried to play on needs, not to mention personal inadequacies, in their buyers, which have nothing to do with getting from one place to another. Many of the images promise power, status or sexual attraction. Others offer to make you a hero – even though it’s cyclists and pedestrians who are the real heroes.

Eliminating competition from the production of cars and tying them in more with real transport needs would help rationalize their use and undermine some of the anti-social attitudes of some drivers.

While the car did initially offer more choice of where and when to travel, at least to those who could afford it, its present domination didn’t happen by chance or by individual choice. Now, for many people, the car is a necessity. Yet it does not mean more freedom of choice, just more time spent in traffic jams. Conscious political decisions have been taken to fund road transport at the expense of other forms.

The big car and oil companies used their economic power to push governments to help its rise. In Britain, public transport was underfunded, trolley lines torn up and the railways cut back, under Beeching’s axe in the 1960s and since. At the same time, planners encouraged the car in many ways: by building motorways; trunk roads; urban highways; and encouraging out-of town development. Even their language shows their bias. Road spending is called ‘investment’, while spending on other forms of transport is called ‘subsidy’.

Money Rules the Road

In the USA, after the second world war, a holding company formed by General Motors, Firestone, Standard Oil, Philips Petroleum and Mack Truck, took over streetcar systems in over 100 major cities. They bought them up and closed them down. The action was found illegal by the courts, but, by then, 90% of the light rail networks were gone. They were punished for their actions: Executives were fined $1 each and each company $5,000! However, the profits were huge: General Motors alone made $25 million, just in time in the run-up to the court case. Who says crime doesn’t pay? 3

The car’s domination places a huge cost on society. The real costs, include damage to the environment, ill-health, injury and death, and loss of lane, are hidden and not paid by users. Congestion alone costs Britain £15 billion a year. A recent survey in Germany by the Heidelberg Environment and Forecasting Institute reviewed the full cost of a transport policy based on private cars. When all the environmental and social costs are included it is estimated that, “If similar values apply in Britain, cars are costing the country a cool £50 billion a year, net.” 4

Road Tolls – The Carrot or the Stick?

Even some Tories have recently begun to rethink transport policy. However, this does not mark a new environmentally sound transport policy. It is more to do with the need to cut public spending and raise taxes. The government’s totally inadequate suggested policies to reduce traffic include: individuals deciding not to use their car, councils closing certain roads, increasing the cost of petrol and the introduction of road tolls. The Tories are yet again trying to pin the responsibility onto individuals, yet it’s their policies of poor public transport and emphasizing road transport that have forced people to use cars and created the problems in the first place.

But it would be both impossible and unacceptable to try to force road users off the road, without providing good, affordable alternatives. Such a policy would also let the real culprits – the oil and other multi-nationals and the Tories – off the hook, while punishing some of the victims – people forced to drive cars through lack of alternatives.

The possible introduction of road tolls or other taxes will mainly hit the poor and rural residents. It will drive traffic off toll roads onto other routes. Its main purpose will be as a way of fund raising by the government, almost certainly not to be used for public transport. Closing roads would only redirect traffic to new areas of congestion.

Road tolls and other measures would just mean that the costs of company cars and lorries would be passed on to the consumer. Much of the traffic on the road today, particularly during peak times, is composed of company cars. They make up more than an eighth of all cars, and a much higher proportion of new cars. But many of these are unnecessary. Indeed, many bosses prefer to give their workers ‘perks’ like company cars, on which they claim some tax concessions, than pay them a proper wage for the work they do. Two-thirds of the increase in company car mileage between 1989 and 1991 was for private use: and 6% of company cars are never used for work purposes!

Of course, some travel by car, van and lorry would be necessary, even with the best public transport systems. But this is only a small proportion of the traffic currently on the roads, and those who do need to drive would also benefit from a reduction in congestion.

The entire current transport policy, if it can be called that, ignores the main problems. At the same time as talking of reducing car traffic the government has a massive road-building program, which will not solve anything. While they have recently announced some limited cutbacks in the road-building program, they have deliberately avoided developing any kind of coherent transport policy. The Tories even refused to use the word ‘integrated’ in their belated response to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, claiming it was too ‘socialist’! They are also looking to increase the scale of privately built and operated roads.

Integration and Planning

A radically different approach is needed: one that provides effective and attractive alternatives to reliance on cars and lorries. An integrated, planned policy is needed which meets the needs of society, is environmentally sound, and provides for future needs.

Several key features would be; an expansion of good public transport, an encouraging environment for walking and cycling, and a complete change in land use policies, so that development was concentrated on existing urban areas, rather than the continuing sprawl along new roads. One of the effects of capitalist land values, and Tory taxation policy, is that it is usually much cheaper to build on new ‘green-field’ sites than on existing, unused or derelict (‘brown-field’) sites in cities and towns.

A sustainable transport policy has to provide attractive choices in place of car dependence. At present once you’ve bought a car and paid tax and insurance, it makes economic sense to use it as much as possible.

An immediate national program of free fitting of catalytic converters and conversion to unleaded petrol of all vehicles would reduce pollution, while longer-term solutions are introduced. The provision of a network of subsidized taxis and hire cars for people wanting or needing a vehicle would reduce the need to own a car. Many people, given the choice and a decent public transport system, would be much happier only using a car for holidays, special events or for travel to and from rail station, port or airport after the bulk of their journey has been completed.

Our Services for Sale

Privatization was never about service to society. It was about profit for big business and cuts in the jobs, wages and conditions of rail-workers. It has become a bureaucratic nightmare of inter-locking companies, franchises and operators. As a former British Rail manager said, “Railtrack is certainly not in the business to run trains: it is in the business to make profits from the assets – assets that belonged to the nation.” Railtrack is becoming an asset strippers’ paradise. The May 1996 share flotation was vastly under-valued, so speculators could make a quick profit almost overnight, while the Tories actually increased the subsidy to the private operators from £1.1 billion to £1.8 billion a year! Effectively, they are giving away public money to big business. Privatized transport must be returned to public ownership, with democratic control, and an emphasis on social needs, with as little environmental impact as possible.

Deregulation and privatization of the busses has produced a worse service, an increase in old and polluting buses, and massive attacks on bus workers’ conditions. Some drivers in Central London have had their wages reduced to 1960 levels! Many cities are now clogged with both cars and busses, both pumping out dangerous fumes.

Public Transport

Public transport needs to be integrated, with co-operation between forms including bus, train, and rapid transit (metro, underground, tram etc.). Public transport has been severely under-funded for years. A major program of investment is needed to make it attractive. A program of building and investment in urban rail transport to move people quickly and cleanly is a vital part of a new transport policy. Vehicles should be well designed, regularly cleaned and maintained. Many more vehicles should be powered by electricity, avoiding polluting exhausts.

The services should be regular, with a variety of service levels, some with frequent stops while others are express services. Buses are no use if stuck in traffic jams. Fares should be low enough to encourage use.

Fares’ Fair

In October 1981, fares on London transport were reduced by 32%. The new Left-wing Greater London Council, elected in May of that year, had pledged to use its powers to introduce a more efficient and healthier transport system for Londoners.

However, the Law Lords ruled in December that the policy was illegal: Transport had to be run on ‘ordinary business principles’, i.e. the council couldn’t take into account environmental or social considerations in its transport policy. Despite massive opposition from transport workers and users in the capital, the GLC was forced to back down and fares went back up again.

The whole episode did, though, indicate both the benefits and potential massive popular support for a rational, integrated transport system. During the operation of ‘Fares’ fair’, there was a massive 21% reduction in car arrivals in central London. Transport should be fully accessible as six million people are mobility impaired in Britain, including disabled people, the old, under-18s who can’t drive and people with prams. Current transport systems, relying as they do on the car, discriminate against many sections of the community.

Although public transport is already far safer than private cars, it can still be improved by investment. Safety also should be increased, especially for those who feel vulnerable, such as some women and the elderly, by fully staffed services with conductors on busses and staff at stations.

In Britain, because of poor standards, public transport is seen as an unattractive way of travel. However, this can be changed. Where decent public transport systems have been invested in – often in continental Europe, but also with the Metro on Tyneside, or the new train system in Manchester, for example – they come to be seen as something to be proud of (although we are not suggesting to readers in Manchester or Newcastle that either of these systems is perfect!).

In spite of pollution and risk of accident, still 25%-40% of journeys are made on foot. As half of all journeys are under two miles, facilities should be provided for walking and cycling. Provision of separate walk and pathways away from traffic, pedestrian areas in towns and cities, routes well lit at night, and bike carrying on public transport would all help.

In rural areas a mixture of improved buses, mini-buses, and car pools would all help to reduce the dependence on private cars.

Freight – How to Move It?

As urgent a problem as the use of private cars is the dependence of freight on road. This is, again, a result of government and big business policy. Deliveries are dominated by the urge for everything to be done today, or even yesterday, with the rise of ‘just in time’ production. Factories and stores no longer keep large stocks on site. Instead they rely on constant deliveries from suppliers and central warehouses. This has produced a huge increase in road freight with convoys of lorries constantly flowing from factory to factory, from warehouse to stores.

Just-in-Time Costs More

The distance traveled by food in heavy lorries around Britain has increased by just over half in the last 15 years. A 1996 survey found examples of British supermarkets buying KitKats from France and transporting them here, at the same time as French supermarkets were buying their Mars Bars from Slough, Berkshire, even though they were also produced in France.

Geest import their bananas into Southampton, then take them by road to Lancashire for ripening. Then, back on the road to the central warehouse in Somerset, from where they are dispatched around Britain (including to Southampton!), by road again! 5

A Lancaster firm collects tomatoes from Pilling in Lancashire. From there, they’re sent to Blackpool, then to Dewhurst the butchers’ depot in Yorkshire. Dewhurst’s then send them out to all of their shops – including the one in Lancaster! All of this transport is by road. 6

‘Just-in-time’ delivery uses twice as much fuel and requires several times as many kilometers of journeys, as efficient alternatives. This only makes economic sense to companies because they do not pay the full costs of transport and profit from damaging the environment. A sane industrial policy could plan so slightly slower transport wouldn’t be a problem.

There has been an increase in cowboy hauliers and pressure on drivers to work longer hours and drive unsafe vehicles. This puts both drivers – who are often paid very badly and need to work long hours to earn a decent living, or else are owner-drivers who are never sure where their next work will come from – and the public at risk. Safety and exhaust standards should be rigorously enforced with penalties imposed – not on the drivers, but on the owner or contractor involved.

Most heavy vehicles could be banned from city centers. Instead, deliveries could be in smaller vehicles that collect goods from depots that link to rail and, where unavoidable, long-distance lorries.

Rail, linked to the use of containers and depots, as well as canal, coastal shipping and pipeline would provide alternatives to lorries. A reversal of ‘just-in-time’ would allow greater use of rail. Rail systems should be integrated with the rest of Europe with a network throughout Britain connected to the Channel Tunnel. This would reduce road freight, and the need for huge marshalling yards near cross-Channel ports.

‘Just-in-time’ has led to increased use of airplanes, for international freight, which cause large waste of land in airports, using huge amounts of fuel, which causes atmospheric pollution. Much of this freight could be carried by sea. Maritime transport needs investment to provide safety at sea with a program to scrap old and build new ships, provision of full safety equipment, controls on sea lanes, and use of fully trained crews. The attempts to de-regulate the shipping industry, with the growth of flags of convenience, agency management and other cost-cutting measures, have been an environmental disaster: it is no exaggeration to say that they have been responsible for some of the worst environmental disasters of recent years: the Braer in the Shetlands, the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, and the Sea Empress in Wales. The dumping of waste and oil at sea should be banned.

Creating Jobs

A major investment and research programme should be launched to develop new technologies for transport. Britain invests less in transport then most European Union countries, with public transport in particular starved of funds. We want to see real investment into public transport. An environmentally friendly transport policy is not an attack on the jobs of drivers road-workers or any other workers, but would actually create far more jobs than investment into roads.

PROJECTCOST PER JOB (£)
East London Line 34,000
Northern Line refurbishment 34,000
Midland Main-line electrification 34,000
West Coast Main-line upgrade 35,000
Jubilee Line extension 50,000
New Forth Road Bridge 65,000
East Coast Motorway 66,000
M6 widening 66,000
M1 widening 67,000
East London River Crossing (road)68,000
M25 widening78,000

Source: Cambridge Econometrics, from Sunday Times, 25/10/92

Cities for People

The planning of the use of land is important to any transport policy. The government has encouraged out-of-town development of industry, shopping and entertainment at the same time as running down public transport. These out-of-town sites are virtually totally served by cars and lorries. We are opposed to further out-of-town developments. Workplaces (with proper pollution prevention) and retail centers should be placed in or near cities. There is plenty of derelict (‘brown-field’) land that could be reclaimed rather than build on green-field sites. The domination of transport by cars is killing our cities. In Britain one-third, and in some US cities half, of land in cities is given over to cars. By the year 2000, the majority of humans will, for the first time, be living in urban areas. By 2025, the World Bank estimates that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Cities should be for people to meet, work and enjoy. No more choking fumes, dodging vehicles but centers with parks, squares and walkways for shopping, resting, meeting and living. A new transport policy, linked to a new planning policy, is needed to create cities for people.


Footnotes

  1. Transport and the Environment, Transport and General Workers’ union (TGWU), 1995.
  2. Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), 1995.
  3. Living in the Environment, Miller, 1994.
  4. Tickel, Geographical Magazine, October 1993.
  5. Lang & Raven, The Ecologist, July 1994.
  6. The Food Miles Report, Angela Paxton, SAFE, 1994.