One of the things that always strikes me on returning from holiday in Europe is just how incredibly congested our roads are! We landed back into Stansted from Barcelona on Friday afternoon – yes it was a Friday, but the roads were crazily busy. What should have been a two hour journey for us become three hours – in what appeared to be a slow moving car park! It was quite a shock to behold after two weeks away.
I accept we are a very densely populated country, and this will always make us have busier roads, but we have become so dependant upon the car that sometimes I don’t believe we quite understand just how many cars we have on our roads and how unpleasant driving has become in the last 20 years!
Travelling in most European countries is far less congested (not the cities – although they are normally better than ours in this regard) – and this must have great benefits to their economies.
No doubt there is little that can be done to reduce the problem in this country quickly. It is far too deep set in our way of life – partly caused by our reliance on the supermarket and the killing off of our local shops (how far is it to your nearest baker?), and also our totally inadequate public transport systems. I believe we have become ‘a lazy’ society, not walking in many cases where we could do – are we all really that short of time?
If we don’t sort this out our economy is going to suffer, we need to reduce car use / ownership and provide a viable and efficient public transport system. Most of Europe can manage it so why can’t we?