The Campaign to Protect Rural England came out with a report last week entitled The End of the Road which essentially suggested the countryside is about to be concreted over thanks to the government’s roads building programme, and that these new roads will do nothing to ease congestion, but actually make it worse.
Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, Transport Select Committee Member and chair and founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport says not only should the CPRE not fear road building but that the right roads, in the right places with the right developments to go with them will protect our green and pleasant land.
“There’s a theory,” Rob says, “called induced demand, which essentially says that the more space there is for cars the more people will drive, taking more journeys and causing more congestion and pollution. There have been a lot of academic studies which support this view, but many of them miss some of the obvious points, that where you put your road and where it goes through and ends up are hugely significant factors in resulting traffic levels.”
Rob points to a 2001 study by Robert Cervero, Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development of the University of California. Snappily entitled, Road Expansion, Urban Growth, and Induced Travel: A Path Analysis, Professor Cervero’s work challenges the received wisdom maintained by the CPRE that new roads make more traffic and are therefore generally, “a bad thing.”