Letter: Cars: how to combat road congestion

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is a broad consensus which supports the measures advocated by Christian Wolmar ("You, your car and how to end the affair", 19 August) for improving public transport, extending pedestrianisation and encouraging cycling within urban areas as in many other European countries.

One of the reasons that these have been possible in each of the examples quoted by Mr Wolmar - Groningen, Nuremberg and Zurich - is that all are surrounded by networks of high-quality roads which keep through and suburban traffic out of the central areas. In the case of Zurich, motorway links to the north, west and south reach almost to the city centre providing a further opportunity to segregate longer distance traffic that starts or ends its journey in the city.

Furthermore, in Groningen and Nuremberg there are plans for improving those road networks by widening the most heavily trafficked sections.

The Government's proposals for integrated transport are eagerly awaited. They should recognise that where these policies have been adopted successfully they have involved improving all the modes of transport. However, it is worth recording that despite the investments made in public transport, cycling and walking in Germany and the Netherlands, the national level of road traffic has grown faster in both of those countries than in the UK over the last five years. The crucial point is that, as a result of the multi-modal approach to investment being followed in both countries congestion on both urban and inter-urban routes is far less extensive than in this country.

RICHARD DIMENT

Director and Chief Executive

British Road Federation

London SE1

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