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"Outline the principal problems associated with increases in urban traffic congestion and evaluate the strategies used to ease these problems".

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"Outline the principal problems associated with increases in urban traffic congestion and evaluate the strategies used to ease these problems" Over the past 40 years, there has been a huge increase in the number of privately owned cars, and today most families have two or more cars creating an excess of 21 million cars in the UK today. This increase in available transport has meant that housing has been able to be built further out of the city leading to counter-urbanisation which has caused greater commuting between home and work. There has also been a huge reduction in the amount of people using public transport as the general reputation of public transport is that it is dirty, unreliable and very expensive. These factors therefore have meant that private transport has become ever more appealing, but has brought with it environmental, economic and social problems. The environmental issue of air pollution leading to the green-house effect and harmful exhaust emissions leading to human illnesses as serious as brain damage has caused high costs to the car manufacturers to reduce car emissions and has also cost the government and tax payers, as more and more people enter hospitals with car related illnesses as well as car accidents. ...read more.


Bus priority lanes have also been introduced down some roads to allow quicker access to the city by bus, in an attempt to make it seem quicker to take the bus into the city, but again this strategy has only been part successful as few roads have these priority lanes introduced. Bus shelters are also being improved to make people's perceptions of the public transport change. Another city which has faced massive congestion problems is Mexico City, which produces 12,000 tonnes of gases and pollutants from the 40,000 factories and 3.5 million vehicles. This gives the city the world's highest ozone level from December to March. 2 million people suffer from diseases caused by air pollution (placing yet more pressure on medical facilities) and 98% of the northern sector of the city suffers from cell deformation and inflammation of the nasal passage. The pollution is so bad that the WHO (World Health Organisation) declared that air quality in Mexico City was only acceptable on 20 days in the year. All of this pollution is due to the fact that many cars are not serviced properly and therefore respire more than the legal amount of toxic fumes. ...read more.


Overall, traffic congestion is a major problem to all countries throughout the world, due to the favourite phrase "time equals money", which means that while people are driving to work they are not being productive. Also the effect on the environment is quite drastic, as the green-house effect is a global issue that all countries must think about. The strategies to reduce these effects have been quite successful in easing the problems that congestion has on society, but they still have a long way to go before these strategies can actually start making a big impact on the problems. I think the main area for the government to look at is trying to make public transport more appealing to the average commuter. Perhaps this could be done by lowering the prices for fares or maybe introducing cash penalties for entering the city such as in London, where it now costs people �5 to enter the city. Drastic strategies like this must be made in order to be able to start seriously reducing the effects that traffic congestion has on the economic situation of a country the social aspects and especially the environmental threat. Peter Wilby 31/03/2003 ...read more.

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