Letter: Cure for congestion

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Sir: Professor Peter Smith (letter, 8 January) is wrong to claim that new types of motive power will cure (or partly cure) congestion. Why should they? We could have completely "clean" metal boxes on wheels; but they'd still impede each other's progress unless and until we find a cure for congestion.

Suggested cures are of two main types: those that rely on the price mechanism and those that don't. The first category includes higher fuel taxes (hitting hardest poor car users in rural areas, who cause little congestion); taxes on non-residential parking space; tolls on motorway use; and congestion charges in cities. All of these are inequitable and possibly ineffective in reducing congestion.

The second category includes the demand management measures used widely in US cities, giving strong incentives for car pools. These are equitable and have proved acceptable. Why do we not adopt them here?

NIGEL SEYMER

Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire

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