New roads lead to more traffic and longer jams

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Several papers report that major new roads do not relieve congestion or boost local economies, instead increasing traffic that blights communities. The Times Ben Webster has reported that a study commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England refers to road schemes build in the past two decades that have encouraged millions of extra car journeys per year. This increased congestion on existing local roads, prompts questions on the benefits of the road-building programme planned by Highways England, which triples spending to £3bn a year by 2020. The study, conducted by consultancy Transport for Quality of Life, said traffic increased by an average of 47% above the regional equivalent in areas receiving major new roads. The Guardian Gwyn Topham quoted CPRE’s head of infrastructure and legal, Ralph Smyth, who said: “This is a programme that will forever fail on its own terms, producing a depressing, self-perpetuating cycle of more and more roads that do little for the economy and harm the countryside.”

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