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Explain how the costs of the congestion can be estimated &Discuss how a more sustainable transport policy may reduce the costs of traffic congestion.

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Introduction

Explain how the costs of the congestion can be estimated? Congestion is an all too familiar feature of most transport networks. It occurs when there is too much traffic for existing capacity so that the actual journey times taken by transport users are in excess of their normal expectations. Consequently, it is inefficient and costly to transport users. It does not affect commuters themselves, but also bring huge negative externalities to the society. According to the National Statistics, congestion costs UK economy �15 billion in 1989, and this figure jumped to �20 billion in 1999, increasing by a third just in a decade. Measurement of the costs of congestion in practice is a complex calculation and includes: Firstly, additional value of time costs to motorists, particularly for work journeys. These costs can be obtained through average wage rate times delayed hours, which gives a very good estimate. Lost leisure time can also be calculated in the same way, just need to substitute wage rate with "leisure satisfaction". Moreover, delivery delays and cost penalties is the main cost of this category, and productivity lost is also included. Overall, time lost can be seen as precious, and hence this represents around 30% of whole congestion costs according to the statistics. ...read more.

Middle

In the last century, road transport has brought huge amount of benefits to the UK economy, but at the same time, it suffers from a major problem-congestion. Congestion has one definite outcome-delay! Too much traffic chasing too little road space results in traffic speeds falling to as low as 10 miles/hour in most cities. This is below our expectations both as drivers and users of public transport. Moreover, the air is thick with poisonous fumes; for motorists and most public transport users, simple journeys are fraught with frustration and stress. Road rage and gridlock are part of the complex problem of congestion. Traffic congestion is a good example of market failure; social efficiency is not achieved for the reasons stated above. Consequently, the actions of road users affect people other than themselves, so causing side effects or externalities According to the National Statistics, congestion costs UK economy�20 billion in 2000, and this figure tend to increase in the near future. Hence government tends to intervene and launch sustainable transport policies to reduce this cost. "A new deal for transport" and "ten year transport plan to 2010" are the two major products. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also the additional problem that when new roads are built, this tends in itself to generate and increase in demand. Meanwhile, we can improve public transport. This is the logical approach that has been pursued with much more vigour in the rest of Europe, where many cities have integrated efficient passenger transport systems. This has not been favoured by the UK government since early 1980s, mainly because it needs huge amount of subsidies and extensive local support. Government could also combat congestion through regulation. They limit the car and lorry usage; restrict usage in certain areas during a certain period of time in the day. But, whether it is effective, much would be depend on the enforcement of the law. Moreover, practice administrative issues could also be costly. To conclude, there are various policies which have been designed to improve the use of existing road capacity. These include policies which can be introduced influence the demand for road space; there are also policies designed to expand road capacity, which can be viewed as supply side policies. Overall, these policies are designed to lower the costs of congestion, but whether they can achieve this goal or not, it would ccccdepend on various factors. ...read more.

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