Letter: Alternatives to cars

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I noted with considerable disappointment the announcement of the Government's transport policy (reports, 2 December). It's not a question of building roads or not building roads: modern technology has provided a "third way" which could easily take one in 10 cars off the roads.

Every year, about 10 million business meetings take place face to face. Many of these involve long car journeys. The "third way" solution is to increase the use of audio-conferencing and video-conferencing - groups of people meeting together electronically, using the telephone or standard video equipment - to replace just some of these face-to-face meetings. For the cost of one medium-sized car, a company can install video equipment at five or six locations around the country.

The Government needs to act now and offer education and incentives to business. The cost would be insignificant compared with the budget needed to expand and maintain road infrastructure - and it won't upset the motorist.

As the roads become more impossible, the teleconferencing industry is expanding at over 50 per cent a year. Teleconferencing leads to quicker decision-making, less stress and a dramatic increase in personal productivity. Businesses operate more efficiently, and at a faster, more competitive pace. It all seems so obvious.

ALAN GROVES

Harrow, Middlesex

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