Public Transport Restrictions Will Put One Million Extra Cars On The Road

A new study has suggested that, as a result on restrictions on public transport, an extra one million cars could end up on the road network. It’s raised fears of increased traffic and poor air quality…

Public Transport Is Out Of Action

Lockdown restrictions are gradually being removed across the UK. Despite this, social distancing measures are still in full force. This has posed serious challenges for public transport, having greatly reduced carrying capacity. As a result of this, and lingering fears about safety, many people are relying on their cars instead. So much so, in fact, that new research suggests that there could be up to a million extra cars on the road network; causing a substantial build up in traffic and a reduction in overall air quality.

Conducted by Westminster University’s Active Travel Academy, the research suggests that areas in England and Wales that rely heavily on public transport face the prospect of enormous gridlocks. More importantly, these gridlocks will occur daily. For instance, London Borough of Camden could end up seeing three-quarters more cars on the road at rush hour. Similar scenarios could play out in Birmingham, Oxford, Hove and Newcastle.

‘Rapid Changes’ Required

The research was commissioned by the climate charity Possible. It’s responded to the findings by calling on the government to invest more in making “rapid changes” to road layouts and cycle lanes; ultimately encouraging more people to walk and cycle. Professor Rachel Aldred from the Active Travel Academy stated plainly that the extra cars would cause “stress, pollution, and injury”.

Adam Harrison, a Camden Councillor, found the research alarming. He said, “the prospect of a 74 per cent rise in the number of cars used to commute in Camden is deeply alarming. Possible’s report recommends bringing in pop-up cycle lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods; measures that in Camden we have already begun introducing in response to the covid emergency”. He added, “we have shown that the political will exists to avert the congestion, air pollution, and carbon impacts brought about by a rise in driving. But to really stop the carpocalypse the report warns of, we will also need substantial financial support to ensure inner London does not come to a standstill.”

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