Saturday, September 22, 2007

So many issues and problems for Bristol are transport-related

Today is World Car-Free Day. If Bristol is going to become the UKs ‘Green Capital’ it is transport-related problems that have got to be tackled perhaps more than any other. The list of issues raised by our current car, lorry and road-focussed, intensive approach to getting around is very long(not to mention flying of course, that’s another – related - issue).

Here’s a list of issues off the top of my head:

climate change contribution from carbon emissions;

toxic air pollutants and their health and wellbeing impacts, especially for children;

noise and vibration and the quality of life effects;

the footprint caused by transporting food over many hundreds/thousands of miles;

congestion stress, delays and costs;

public transport, cycling and walking investment relatively and absolutely poor whilst service quality is also lacking;

deaths, injuries and accidents;

road crime;

contribution to obesity and other health problems through lack of exercise;

loss of green, open space and threat to wildlife and biodiversity due to road construction…

Given these very serious issues doesn’t it make sense to: cut the need to travel as much; protect and enhance local community facilities and services; go by walking, cycling, bus/coach/train (invest serious money accordingly); make the price of travel by all methods fully and fairly reflect their total costs (raise the costs of non-renewable fossil fuel, bring in congestion charging and reinvest money raised in public transport..); plan transport properly (create a Transport Authority for Greater Bristol asap) ?? Challenge the green talk we get an awful lot of and demand green actions and outcomes.

For more on World Car-Free Day.


  1. Your post is very timely considering that Bristol City Council is (gradually) bringing into use its brand new shiny £5 mn. 'showcase' bus route up Old Market and through St George. However, the only thing this will showcase is how to waste £5 mn. as the council - not wishing to upset the great Bristol motoring public - has done nothing to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and the resulting congestion (which is of course partly responsible for the abysmal reliability of local buses).

    I just wonder what could have been achieved had the £5 mn. gone into our neglected local rail system and services.

    Bear in mind too that Bristol is very stingy when it comes to local authority support for public transport, only spending about half of what comparably sized cities do.

  2. Yes, Bristol City Council's efforts are poor compared to the size of the task and the scale of investment needed.


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