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  • Simon Norton
    Apr 2, 2004
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      The trouble with tolerating congestion is that bus users are probably the worst
      affected. Congestion at a given point only concerns motorists if they are
      passing that point -- it concerns bus passengers waiting further down the route.
      Bus passengers can't by-pass congestion points in the way that motorists can.
      If bus passengers miss key connections they can lose hours and be forced to
      spend large amounts of money finding an alternative, longer route to their

      I would expect that while modal shift from car to rail, cycle or not travelling
      is reduced by relief of congestion, modal shift from car to bus is improved. In
      cities like Cambridge, congestion is enough to upset the already marginal
      economics of public transport to make it something that is completely unable to
      compete effectively with motoring. That's why cities of 100,000 or so people,
      which aren't large enough to be self sufficient, are doomed unless they find
      effective means of traffic restraint that apply not only in the city but also in
      the surrounding area -- otherwise economic activity will tend to relocate to the
      surrounding area because either congestion or congestion charging gives it a
      comparative advantage.

      Perhaps the worst thing one can do in such cases is to try to eliminate
      congestion in the surrounding area but give up the city as a lost cause. I feel
      that that is exactly what's happening in Cambridge, even if nobody will admit

      Simon Norton