Letter: Argument for roads won't run

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The Independent Online
Sir: The motoring organisations predictably attack suggestions that anyone should be deprived of the God-given right to drive a car wherever he or she chooses, including on the M25 in peak hours ("Drivers face car ban on busy M-ways", 15 August). They rely once again on the argument that there is a body of drivers out there who will make their journey by car anyway - "If you restrict access to motorways, people will just drive on to local roads, which are not designed to carry these loads." The same argument is used to justify building more roads, to accommodate the "inevitable" increase in traffic.

This one really should be killed off once and for all. Each of us decides whether and how to make a particular journey by balancing up his need to make it against the time, cost and inconvenience involved in the various means of making it. If I have to commute into central London from Hertfordshire, and the journey takes 50 minutes by car and 80 minutes by train, I shall travel by car - unless the cost rises enough to outweigh the convenience. If the train is quicker, I shall use that.

The task of the new crew at the Department of Transport is to shift the balance. Every measure that makes it a little quicker or more convenient or cheaper to use the train than the car will cause a few more people to switch over.

STEPHEN CROMIE

London NW1

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