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UK 'Great car economy' backs off

By: staff

Date: Tuesday, 25. November 2008

Britain's Department for Transport (DfT) has recorded two consecutive quarters of lower traffic volumes. This is the first time year on year traffic volume has dropped since the oil crises of the 1970s

The drop is a symptom of today's world-wide economic crisis, and it's also a reminder of the shortsightedness of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's support for automobile transportation in preference to other transportation.

Back in 1979, Thatcher declared that nothing should obstruct the advance of what she called "the great car economy". Itís been said that she never traveled by train.

Today, many Britons probably wish they could have a do-over on that shortsighted approach to transportation. As the New Statesman commented some years ago:

"For most people in urban Britain today, quiet streets on which one can stroll and chat without the risk of being knocked over or forced to inhale exhaust fumes are scarcely even a memory. We're stuck with the present, which means congestion, fumes and noise. So we curse other drivers, wind the window down, turn the car stereo up and dial home or office on our mobile to say we'll be late."

Looks like the economic crisis of 2008 may offer the opportunity for a second chance at restoring some traffic order.

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Yeah, hope we improve the bus and train system throughout the entire UK, and Europe for that matter. Cars are so 20th century!