Traffic and its Problems

The December meeting had a festive air as Beryl Wells and Kevin Chapman from Transport 2000 tested our knowledge of traffic problems with a competition. Despite the distraction of mince pies and coffee, the audience enthusiastically entered into the spirit of the evening, which had a serious edge to it when the answers to the questions emerged.

Many of us hopelessly underestimated the national growth in car traffic since 1980, which stands at a staggering 80%, yet the increase in petrol prices since 2000 is only 2.5%, despite all our feelings to the contrary. In the West Midlands no less than 78% of people travel to work by car and van; only 9% walk. Since 1980 there are 80% more heavy lorries in the road. Nationally, an area the size of Leicestershire is now under tarmac. We looked at the exponential increase in air travel, up from 109 million journeys in 1993 to 194 million journeys in 2003. Frightening statistics indeed.

It was against this background that Beryl and Kevin led a discussion on local traffic problems. We looked at the problems of all day parking in residential areas, pavement parking, the passage of cars through pedestrianised areas, excessive signage, inadequate station parking and the possibilities of providing park and ride facilities for Lichfield. Many speakers criticised the woeful traffic enforcement arrangements in the City.

Perhaps is was not the night for a detailed exploration of solutions, but some of us left (in our cars) feeling that the nation's transport strategy looked distinctly ragged.

Oh, and by the way, congratulations to Betty Wood, the clear winner of the competition!

Roger Hockney
December 2004