The meeting started at 1030 a.m. and it was good to welcome back Fred Gillibrand after a considerable absence. Four apologies had been offered prior to the meeting.
In “Initial Notices” thanks were given to Peter Belton who has offered his services in assistance to Mike South. A few volunteers are required to complete the Vote of Thanks Rota up to the end of the season.
Today’s talk was given by the Forum’s own member David Siddans and was titled “Jam Tomorrow”. Having grown up in Sleaford Lincolnshire David had always ambitions to be a Civil Engineer which after a full-time and university education he achieved. Much of his career was spent working on Road Projects and it was Traffic Jams (Congestion)which provided the focus of his discourse.
The amount of traffic having trebled on the roads over the years has led to increasing congestion and the quandary of what can be done to alleviate it. David took us back to 1826 before the huge transport revolution when roads and turnpikes were poorly maintained, transport being largely horse powered and journeys undertaken limited or non-existent for much of the populace.In 1830 railways began to open and the Liverpool– Manchester line was the first to link two cities reducing travel time from five hours to two hours. From a standing start in 1830 to 1870 three hundred and twenty million passenger journeys took place. In 1890 the first cars appeared on the roads but it took a century to achieve the capacity covered by rail. Two other developments contributed or were impacted by the changing transport situation namely in 1840 the Universal Penny Post and then the Telegraph system.
Moving forward to 2014 there were almost thirty-six million licensed vehicles on the roads and this has been increasing at 2/3% for many years apart from a lull in 2008.The amount of roads equated to 246,000 miles but motorways and strategic roads (mainly “A”roads) contributed only 1-2% of this although taking the vast amount of traffic overall. Car growth of 10% in the last ten years saw only a corresponding 2% increase in road growth. An examination of car ownership and the reasons for travel were then shared with us before David moved on to traffic congestion highlighting the economic and environmental issues. He showed us some of the options considered as ways of reducing congestion such as planning control, new roads or widening, reducing demand, public transport etc. and finished with some interesting and alarming projections of where traffic volumes may go other the next twenty years.
A number of questions/comments were made by audience members and Dave Essam gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-seven attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY