An integrated transport system
With over forty airports with scheduled flights, over two thousand railway stations, ninety shipping ports and twenty five coach stations as well as numerous other bus stations, we need an integrated transport system to encourage people to get out of their cars and improve the environment as well as reduce accidents and fatalities on the roads.
Painful decisions need to be taken so that there is no duplication of services and at the same time proper investment in such a system also needs to be undertaken to get vehicles off the road.
We need a small number of key airports around the country near major conurbations (and remote island communities), with railway stations attached to them (where practical), from where one can fly overseas. Only quiet aircraft to be allowed, to reduce noise levels. Some airports may need to be redesigned or moved, so that they are in a more environmentally-friendly area, with room for expansion. Focus – International travel
Rail services need to cover more of the country, especially cross-country and rural areas. Investment is required in increasing tracks to four ‘lanes’, so that there can be ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ services side by side without either affecting the other. More railway stations are required which are fully functional with staff and proper facilities which are maintained daily. Railway stations should be become centres for bus interchanges from which regular bus services connect with all surrounding areas, so that one is only a few minutes from a bus stop. Non-overhead wire trains need to be developed which have comfortable seats with plenty of leg and body room as well as refreshment and toilet facilities of the highest quality, and long enough so that, especially in peak times, everyone gets a seat. Services need to be frequent for passenger convenience and manned properly for the highest level of safety. Legislation will be needed to make most freight to be carried using the railway network, so that the number of lorries on the road are reduced dramatically. Hence the importance of more cargo terminals at railway stations, especially in major towns where there are not any currently. With train services improved, the need for inter-city coach travel will decrease. Some new stations will be needed in city centres where they are none – this may involve them being underground. Focus – Travel between major centres of population
Bus and tram services need to go across towns, and not just feed to a central point. For efficiency, a comprehensive buses only lane strategy should be set up. Buses need to be no older than ten years old with wider seats and more leg room. In the large metropolitan services, underground services should be developed (where there are none) and integrated with bus and tram services. Focus – local areas
For those who have disability issues, community transport schemes should be set up, for door to door services, where there none. Focus – Disabled and the elderly
With regard to the system of ports, I am not sure how they fit in, especially with regard to freight, and taking into account air freight. Maybe, they should be used for non-perishable and time-critical products and airports for the rest.
As an incentive, taxes should be increased for using cars through attaching technology which measures how many miles it uses, with the tax rate increasing the more the car is used.
At the same time all forms of transport should be carbon neutral – hence the importance of Government investment. Decisions must be made that strategically useful to cover most of the UK population, and not on political ‘whims’. Some services will need be subsidised by the Government, though hopefully, the number will decrease over time as the number of cars are reduced.
The key to success in all this will be making using public transport inexpensive. The question will be, should all or part of the transport system remain privatised?
We need drastic action, otherwise our roads will be gridlocked. As it is, with the population of the UK still growing, more roads being built, eating up more land (which could be used for more productive uses like agriculture and housing), we cannot carry on as we are doing so. With most drivers facing long queues daily which are getting longer, thus increasing the pollution levels, and with bigger and bigger trucks on our roads doing untold damage to our roads amongst other things, action is needed now.
The Government, along with all interested parties, including the public, must work together to bring such a system into operation, which has been well thought out, with appropriate legislation, new and amended. People need to be persuaded that some painful decisions will be needed to make sure it works in the long term.