The latest restating of the National Infrastructure Plan tells us little that we didn’t know already, namely that the ‘Greenest Government ever’ has never heard of induced demand because it’s planning to build more roads.
"If no steps are taken to address the need to increase the capacity of the road network, and ease congestion, the UK will suffer economically," says the plan, adding "transport will play an important part in meeting the government’s environmental targets." How so? "There is a need to shift to more environmentally sustainable technologies."
Nope. Electric cars and other ultra-low emission vehicles. You know, cars that are exactly the same size as internal combustion engine cars and therefore will provide zero congestion relief. Electric cars only displace emissions, they don’t eradicate them.
"Increasing demand means that roads are becoming increasingly congested," admits the Government, stressing "the problem is going to get worse without action."
This action is building more roads, which, thanks to the very well understood concept of induced demand, actually adds to congestion
"Most infrastructure projects are characterised by a long lead time from planning to completion, which means the decision to take them forward has to be made well in advance of the point that they are expected to come into service," says the Government. Fantastic, here’s the meat of the National Infrastructure Plan, the ‘Greenest Government ever’ is announcing ambitious forward plans for a National Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. Er, no. There’s no mention of walking or cycling in the whole of the Treasury’s National Infrastructure Plan. None. Nada. Nowt.
"Plans have to be based on projected rather than current demand," says the Government. Which is bad news because, as the CTC has shown, the Department for Transport – using screwy figures and duff projections – is predicting that use of cycles will fall in the future.
In short, if you’re seeking genuine anti-congestion, green transport measures from the Coalition Government, forget about it.