Memorandum submitted by B Metcalf, Futurologist
Best ways of reduction in order of significancesome
political non starters.
1. TRAVEL LESSESPECIALLY
Leisure travel allowance?
Trading in surplus allowances
would be progressive re rich and poor.
Localize food production and marketing.
higher proportion UK foodeat
promote home food growing for
nutrition and health;
Localize educationie reduce parental
Free bus travel only to nearest
School buses free and parents
charged for bringing children to school by car (Travel to and
from schools has a major impact on traffic congestion and this
suggests that it is a major element of domestic travel).
Mathematical study of the best networking. ie
what is the shortest distance between A and B going via N other
places? This could help firms making deliveries to minimize usage.
Could be shaded by taking into account time congestion and time
for the journey and the possibility of lower CO2 output
by driving on motorways at optimum speed.
Localize services. eg bring back the logistics
of paid care services into social services to reduce the total
travel time to and from clients. Many care visits are only half
an hour but entail half an hour of driving. Local carers would
help reduce emissions. Less distances. More possibility of walking
or biking to clients.
(a) by stopping any further out of town developments.
(b) By stopping hypermarkets especially for
(c) Rationalizing delivery services and delivering
to lockers so that deliveries do not need to be so strictly timed.
(d) provide a street or OAP complex with
a minibus to a supermarket once a week cutting out personal vehicle
Localize jobs and services: encourage home based
Increase videoconferencing in business and local
Videophones might mean some journeys became
Localize health servicesmore GP based
Smaller more numerous general hospitals.
Town centre clinics.
GPs and pharmacies well dispersed across communities.
2. MORE FAVOURABLE
(a) Fuel cells may eventually reduce CO2
output (including CO2 output in their production) per
mile, vis a vis mineral oils.
(b) bioethanol and LPG are less harmful CO2
wise. Methane powered vehicles? Anaerobic digestion gas output
in cylinders would be a carbon efficient indigenous fuel. Biodiesel.
(c) carbon capture for propelled vehiclescould
be a philosopher's stone
(d) microgeneration ie bicycle assisted propulsion
(e) can one burn more of the fuel with fewer
particulates in the exhaust?
3. MORE EFFICIENT
(a) Reduce Weight
much lighter local vehicles
eg polythene covered wickerwork
shopping vehicles powered by pedal/small fuel cell
eg rigid or elastic foamed vehicle
bodywork for local trips
eg H2 filled airshipswith
new materialsthese could be less susceptible to explosion
than the ill fated ones in the past. My impression is that airships
use far less kg of vehicle for each kg of payload and hence would
be relatively lighter.
(b) reduce burn rate per mile
(a) by influencing choice of vehicle
(b) by improving fuel usage and CO2
production per mile
eg much more heavily tax high
(a) by increasing purchase tax per unladen
weight of vehicles
(b) by increasing purchase tax per consumption
measured on standard test (these measures would influence engineers
and vehicle buyers)
(c) by putting governors in private carsfor
safety this should be above the max speed limit but a limit of
80mph would probably appreciably reduce consumption
(c) Increase payload per trip and payload per
unit of fuel.
This could mean using minibuses to reduce car
usage where people do similar trips or car sharing for commuting.
It could mean wide bodies aeroplanessuch
as the wing shaped aeroplane.
It could mean airships. Propelling a floating
vehicle has to be more fuel efficient than powering upthrust to
keep a plane in the air. This will be at the cost of speed of
journeybut gives the sort of advantage that canals once
had over roadsslower but with more payload and hence economically
competitive for some types of cargo.
4. MODAL SHIFTSOME
(a) consider the possibility of a broad gauge
canal linking the NW (which has lots of rain) with London and
the SE. In the past and even today, canals are extensively used
for moving water supplies as a subsidiary benefit. Possibility
of good payload per trip. Container barges? Ro-ro barges?
Possibility of barges made of foamed materials
being light and fuel efficient per unit of payload. Another advantage
is that the slower speed will not encourage more commuting.
Much of the perceived demand for widening the
M6 or putting an expressway alongside seems to derive from dreams
of economic expansion in the NW.
A new canal might divert some of the resulting freight.
Huge potential savings of several billion pounds could be diverted
to the new project.
Canal freight was very fuel efficient. 1horsepower
was sufficient to take a horse from Birmingham to London.
(Have no idea if this idea is practicablebut
worth a thought.)
(b) Put the postal service back on the railways.
(The reason given for the change was the unreliability and cost
of rail freightbut looking at the full costs including
roadbuilding to reduce congestion, and at the extreme slowness
and unreliability of the postit has to be cost effective
to subsidize the cost of post going by rail rather than road where
possible. At certain times of day the motorways are awash with
Royal Mail vehicles.
(c) sea-based freight from the NE to the
SE of England to relieve the M1?
(d) Overhead monorail. This could be fuel
efficient if supported on an air cushion or magnetic repulsion.
ie like an airship or barge, this could be a matter of propelling
a floating vehicle and hence be very fuel efficient. Could be
an alternative to metro where there are redundant routes which
usefully link other places. There might be stretches of motorway
where a good capsule service would divert people from the roads
with fuel and CO2 efficiency gains.
(e) ensuring that services are sufficiently
local to walk. Eg a post box within 400 yards of every home. A
post office within 1 mile of every home. (ie half a mile, bearing
in mind one needs to come back.) etc
(f) free bicycle maintenance.
Dedicated bicycle routes in new neighbourhoods.
(g) Re-examining "secured by design"
principles which discourage walking and cycling by creating enclaves.
Travel distances to places outside an estate are much greater
and entail travel on busy roads linking enclaves.
One might be able to achieve some of
the same outcome by passive surveillance of walking and cycling
routes from windows. This deters offenders and means that someone
with a camera phone could capture pictures of them.
(h) Ensuring passive surveillance by living
people of footpaths and bicycle tracks in towns where possible.