Archive for Carbon Emissions

‘Car-less’ Cities By 2050? A New EU Plan.

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Germany, Government Spending, Modern World, Spain, Traffic, Travel, UK with tags , , , , , , , , on 28/03/2011 by floroy1942

A possible solution to the problem of cars in city centres has been put forward in the latest report from the European Commission. They suggest that all petrol and diesel cars should be banned from european cities by the year 2050. This would suggest that if you have an all-electric car there should be plenty of parking spaces!

Paris Traffic Madness! 

http://www.youtube.com/embed/TTtsmBYIShATransport

Siim Kallas - A Man Of Vision?

Commissioner Siim Kallas is of the opinion that apart from banning these cars in cities, he would like to see what he calls, ‘middle-distance’ journeys moved from road to rail. He states that all journeys of more than +/- 186 miles could be made by train instead of by car. 

The Commissioner also advocates a 40% reduction in shipping emissions, which he suggests when combined with the saving by vehicles, would reduce carbon emissions by around 60% and reduce our dependence on oil. Without doubt, a lofty target but is it possible? Hmmm! Doubtful!

London Traffic:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/XRh6_D3hslA

The only trouble is, it would take an unprecedented amount of coöperation from governments (something they have never gotten used to), and a major shift in public behaviour (which I doubt will ever happen). At the moment, to travel by train, or even bus, costs an arm and a leg so that is the first hurdle. Second is the fact that with the buses in particular, they don’t pick you up at your door and drop you outside your favourite shop or  bar, and most irritatingly, after a night out they stop running about an hour before you need to journey home. Typical!

People have an aversion to using their legs these days, a fact you can see every day by the lazy so-and-so’s who double park three car lengths from an empty slot or block an exit: “I’ll only be a minute” says he/she! There is little doubt that for many legs are going out of fashion. This has led, inevitably, to our current dependence on the car.

Rome Traffic:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/PyqWPdXZCpc

Damn! Damn! A Jam!

So, first things first! To begin with, bus and train companies would have to lower their fares to such an extent that the general public find it cheaper to use these forms of transport than their own car. It really is a basic economic exercise, if you increase the turnover you can make the same profit achieved by high prices (i.e. 2×50 = 100/10×10 = 100). The only problem with this scenario is that it takes time to generate the numbers that compensate for the reduced prices. During this period it is most likely bus companies would be running at a loss until people took up the offer. Dangerous ground!

Secondly, the logistics surrounding bus routes and train stops would be a major headache in more ways than one. Let us deal with buses first. How do you plan your bus routes, not only through the city, but more importantly the residential areas outside the centre to maximise passenger pickup? If someone lives half a mile from the nearest bus stop they will use the car. Logical! The same goes for anyone who has a long walk to the office once in the city, as few people like to change buses to get to their destination.

In answer to this problem, many major cities like London and Paris have a Metro system which compliments the buses very well, so for this plan to go ahead a massive investment in such a system would be necessary. Whoops! Now we are talking about spending money!

Other cities have tram systems that serve the inner city quite well, but how far would you want to extend the tram network, and how costly would it be?

Bucharest Traffic:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/rzV1LLXOZcc

With train services we have a similar problem. If a train stops at every station to provide the necessary links to the city, the journey becomes intolerably long. If the train does not stop at every station many would-be passengers will use the car. In this day and age, many people travel 30 to 50 miles to work each day, a result of people wishing to live outside the city in surrounding towns and villages. It is a fact that many City of London workers actually live in Northern France and travel daily to work on the Eurostar!

Eurostar

The one thing the report has failed to mention, which has surprised me somewhat, is getting the long distance trucks off the road. Huge 25 ton HGV’s are travelling the length and breadth of Europe 24 hours a day (I hate 24/7) and yet they seem to have been overlooked in the study. It would without a doubt be a huge relief to see all these 16/18 wheel monsters disappear off our motorways, which is something I covered in a post a couple of years ago:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/truck-rail-a-way-to-beat-congestion/

There is little doubt such a move would certainly prompt people into buying electric cars for their daily commute into the city, but therein lies a beast waiting to pounce. Should we see a predominance of electric vehicles, which by necessity will be in their tens of thousands for every major city in Europe, we will without doubt run out of power generating capacity, i.e. electricity!

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/electric-cars-a-viable-alternative/

I must admit, I think the basic plan has many good points and may be some sort of blueprint for the future, but its implementation will be a major headache for governments across the continent, and it will probably never leave the drawing board.

Pity, for at some time in the future the oil will start to run out and then only the mega-rich will be able to afford the luxury of a car. For the rest of us it will gather dust in the garage and become a fading memory of the good times.

Roy.

Update 28/03/2011 1900hrs:

Norman Baker Says: On 'Yer' Bike!

Since posting this article more information has come to light via the BBC. It would seem that although this is only a proposal, it has been rejected ‘out of hand’ by the UK Transport Minister Norman Baker who said: “We will not be banning cars from city centres anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas.” In his rejection he said that the EU Commission should not be involved in “individual cities transport choices”. He stated that the UK is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by investing £400m to support electric cars (oops), and by promoting walking and cycling! (Wow Norman, that’ll certainly help!!!)

This attitude doesn’t surprise me, because british politicians have never been able to decide if they want to be ‘in’ Europe or not. Whatever comes out of Strasburg or Brussells is usually met with scepticism and distrust, mainly due to the the negative spin put on it by the British press. It never ceases to amaze me that the idea of a united Europe works for everyone except the bloody British!

 

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