The House of Commons Transport Committee is enquiring into the British Strategic Road Network. Written submissions have been published, including my own. While most of the evidence submitted is reasonably predicable, given the established positions of the organisations concerned, I was particularly interested in the offerings of Ian Williams, a very experienced former transport consultant, now at Cambridge University, and of the consultants WSP. They both draw attention to changing patterns of land us, particularly increasing urban density, which are limiting the growth of car travel.
There is an ongoing debate about the future magnitude of road traffic growth. At its most broad brush, this is ‘peak car’ versus continuation of historic growth trends. At a more granular level, account needs to be taken of local demographic changes – where people choose to live and work, and how, in consequence, they choose to travel. On the whole, higher urban densities mean less car travel and more rail, both urban and interurban.