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back to article UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

The UK government has announced its plans for the national road network in coming years, assigning funding for a variety of different projects. Transport Minister Ruth Kelly has also published plans for a future of "managed motorways", which will require "a high level of monitoring and compliance to make the package work". "I am …

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Anonymous Coward

@Flocke

GPS has an accuracy of a couple of meters (5m IIRC). DGPS has guaranteed decimeter accuracy and with really accurate localised DGPS you can get mm precision.

If this wasn't true, GPS wouldn't work for people walking about. And I can quite happily monitor myself with mobile Google Maps + GPS walking up and down my street in a non-straight line (so it's not just inferring where I'm going and jumping 100m that way). And that's a phone's built-in GPS with a crap aerial. When driving it knows what side of the road I'm on. My little chewing-gum-stick-sized GPS does this as well.

Speeding up traffic greatly reduces fuel consumption / litre over the normal crap speeds that are managed at rush hours. The fuel efficiency of some cars will peak at higher speeds / revs, and also if you're sat in traffic you're burning through fuel without going anywhere. Or stop-start driving, which is probably worse since you barely move but use lots more fuel...

Using the hard shoulder is such a sucky fucktarded idea that they should be sacked for thinking about it. What if someone crashes and needs help? What happens when we start filling THAT lane up- you'll be stuck with traffic that's just as bad but with no emergency lane.

I'd suggest that all MPs and council buildings have an artificial 2-hour lead time applied to their emergency service needs so that they can see what happens when an ambulance is stuck in traffic.

That £6Bn would be best invested in public transport. Or sorting out the abysmal state of our roads. Or bribing Her Majesty to legalise Gordon Brown's hanging. Hell, or bribing the government to legalise weed so we can all forget about this big brother crap....

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@Alexis Vallance

The M42 cameras are only activated when the active traffic management system enforces a temporary speed limit, which can be easily discerned by the lit signs. I read that somewhere a long time ago and have proved it true on many occasion. Also, it's easy to tell which gantries have cameras on them by glancing at the gantry on other side of the road on approach.

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So, they're planning to spend many billions of pounds

providing an 'extra' lane (really just the hard shoulder) that I can't afford to drive in anyway, with the added benefit that the whole road has an absurdly low "temporary" speed limit with a festival of speed cameras to ensure that no-one looks up from their speedometer for more than a second at a time. This is of benefit to me HOW?

I actually wonder how much cheaper (for the M6 in Brum at least) it would be for them to just buy out the M6 Toll and open it for free, and how much bigger an effect this would have on congestion in the area.

I often use the M42 where 'ATM' (Active Traffic Management) is in use- the 'temporary' limits tend to hang about well past the times when the motorway is actually busy, and tend to change without warning such that you have to concentrate on and read every gantry you go under. Added to this is the occasional comedy of an inexplicable 20mph limit (camera-enforced of course) applied to a SINGLE LANE, resulting in everyone either braking suddenly once they've read the sign, or desperately cutting into another lane if they saw the sign too late. I wouldn't trust the current government (or the Highways Agency for that matter) to run a piss-up in a brewery, let alone micro-manage the speed of all vehicles across the motorway network. I also seem to remember that implementing the M42 ATM scheme cost almost as much (IIRC about 15% less) as just widening the damn thing properly would have been.

Added to this, I am continually infuriated by the old "reduce traffic jams by using other methods to stop people driving" bollocks. Why was the traffic jam a problem in the first place?; because it stops people effectively using a road. How this is made better by stopping people effectively using a road is beyond me.

Increasing the cost of motoring doesn't work- petrol is now at £1.169/L and there are still traffic jams. The same twats that were bleating when it was £0.699 (a mere 6 years ago) are still bleating about driving being 'too cheap'. Congestion is a matter of capacity and nothing else. The "new roads will only become jammed" brigade are assuming that there are infinite cars and infinite people to drive them. If capacity is sufficient there will be few jams, especially when there is such a massive cost attached to driving anyway; do they think that given any more roads we will all just spend 24h/day driving round aimlessly?

My solution is that unless we want to become a piss-stained 3rd world banana republic we need to actually INVEST in transport NOW. That means new and wider roads, MUCH faster and bigger trains, rebuilt stations and frequent, fast and cheap buses. This does NOT mean narrowing every good urban road in existence with a bus lane that rarely sees a bus. This does NOT mean implementing some kind of bullshit road pricing scheme, costing the same as DOUBLING the motorway network would.

The government should start spending some of the £30,000,000,000 per year it gets from fuel and road tax on building some frigging infrastructure (especially for the massively increased numbers of rail passengers there already are), rather than dreaming up ever more innovative methods of extractng yet more money from us all, with the bonus of ever more minute control over peoples daily lives.

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Dear Leader

"understand the rationale for the regime, enjoy the improved reliability it delivers, and accept the need for high levels of monitoring and compliance"

Sounds like a report written for a personality cult dictator. (The people love the monitoring, they want more)

You guys will be trying to emigrate to China soon, to get more freedom.

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Re: Congestion Control

> An obvious way to manage congestion on the motorways is to have some

> sort of pro-active slip road control - ie don't let more traffic join the motorway

> when it's already full.

Indeed, several of the motorways hereabouts in the US (in built up areas subject to congestion at least) have this, called "metering". And it seems to work pretty well in keeping the road moving most of the time. They also have it on one of the old-M6 junctions in Birmingham.

> Of course, this means redesigning all the junctions to incorporate space

Not sure you need much redesign. Just space for traffic lights with sensors under the road to enforce one-car-per-green. Certainly none of the junctions here seem to get redesigned when this is added.

The bigger impediment to adding this seems to be all of the monitoring of traffic on the motorway and the control setup itself in order to dynamically adjust how many cars to allow on at each junction.

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@ road pricing

Isn't this road pricing already in place? After all I seem to remember 50% of the amount I spend on fuel goes to the government...

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Black Helicopters

Remote control

The control of our roads should be given to an American company. They can then send out the fines for non-compliance. If we fair to pay the fines we can be extradited to gitmo.

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"motorists appear to understand"

that's unless you actually ask them, stop taking the halucogenic drugs you fuckwit and listen to the people.

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Pirate

Didnt someone of some importance say...

...that the reason we DONT have toll roads is because we have a car tax system >INSTEAD<, I think it came up at the fuel protests a few years back. At the time it was said our road/fuel tax system was highest in europe because we didnt have toll roads, implying it was either tolls or tax.

Now it seems were heading towards tolls AND tax, and the only thing its giving in return appears to be an orwellian country-wide motorway network camera system.

Nice.

Skull and crossbones because were being micromanaged by pirates.

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Unhappy

@ Fraser

"...

<snip>

Where are the crowds of people protesting about this, I want to join them, I can't just be angry about it any more...."

don't be daft. this is britain. the more the government shafts the public up the arse, the more they love it. evidence of this can easily be found by watching or listening to any TV or radio political phone-in programme. in the five minutes before you put the fucking telly [or radio] through the wall, you'll realise that for every person saying "policy X is an infringement of people's human rights", there will be at least a dozen morons keen to point out that "if you're not doing anything wrong, you've nothing to worry about!"

face it, the vast majority of the british public are so fucking thick they deserve all they get. unfortunately the rest of us will either have to grit our teeth and put up with it or keep saving up 'til we can afford to emigrate

[i know i am!]

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It's all clear now...

"A high level of monitoring and compliance is needed"

Pretty much par for the course in the UK, then?

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Black Helicopters

Met SO15 - the UK's secret terror police

Yup, they scare the fuck out of me too! I wish our anti-terror Police would knock on their door

Look up, people. Look up.

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Caution - Sub Editor at Work

Lewis is quoted as writing: "In all fairness, the government does seem willing to have a two-tier motorway system, not a compulsory e-surveillance panopticon."

It is quite clear that the sub editor has removed the word "yet" from the sentence. After the comma it should surely read: "not YET a compulsory ... "

Please can we have an icon for "Don't believe anything until it has been denied twice by the government or their sock puppets"?

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Anonymous Coward

@Alex Hooren

A few years back I tried a little experiment. I stopped driving as fast as the conditions allowed. Instead I dropped into the nearside lane, dialled 45-50mph into the cruise control, sat back, did a bit of steering as required and listened to the radio for a while. Journey took a few minutes longer but not enough to bother me (I just left a few minutes earlier on the odd occasion I had to be at my desk by a specific time), petrol consumption dived but, more importantly, little or no stress. I arrive perfectly relaxed. Of course that couldn't be said for the wankers in their beemers having a cardiac event because I was in their way momentarily but that in itself adds to the pleasure I get from the journey.

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Is the problem due to excessive management already?

Is traffic in the UK following the pattern in Melbourne where there congestion is getting worse and worse yet there has been a decrease in total miles driven every year for the last four?

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Dead Vulture

Re: too easy? By Sam

"Improve communications to the point where we don't have to commute? Why drive x miles to talk down a phone and tap at a keyboard when you don't have to? How many people really have to have a physical presence in a particular location for their job?"

You might be surprised to know that there is still some manufacturing industry left in the Province formerly known as England. It requires people to get their hands dirty so that others can have a supply of the things they need. As bankers are finding out at present, pushing figures around on a screen many times when it really only needs to be done once is a huge cost saver waiting to happen.

I don't know about the vulture, but this country's had it!

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car transport by train

I’m going on holiday next month, travelling from Cornwall to the Scottish highlands, I have to take a car because by air I could not take the amount of luggage, etc we need and travelling by train has the same issue.

But If I could transport my car by train from my nearest major station to one somewhere in Scotland, I could save shed loads on petrol, not add to congestion and be far more environmentally friendly.

I would happily pay £80-£130 to have my car taken up and brought back; it’s going to cost me more than that in petrol and stopping in a travel lodge half way up.

They have systems like this in other European countries, the USA and Australia.

I don’t want to drive everywhere, I have to.

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Paris Hilton

My 2p's worth

Get rid of the undertaking rule, and run the lanes as seperate lanes. This would alleviate all the problems caused by all the t**ts that insist on cutting into the fast lane and then anchor on when they nearly miss their junction. Think about it, no more middle lane hogs as well. It would work...honest!

Paris, because she's American and it works for them ;)

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Unhappy

hard shoulder

umm can't help thinking the hard shoulder already has a purpose. it's where you go when you break down (no doubt due to overheating in the congestion).

I swear if just one of the major political parties would just say "things are ticking along just fine, we'll leave well alone, then they would have my vote for life"

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Coat

I've an idea!

Why not wipe out half the population with say bird flu, starvation or some other man made, oh wait a minute I think that plan is already in place oops......

However a less harsh method might be to invest in a small single person transportation device that can do +120miles per gallon for all those one person travelers wait wait I've got it a scooter with a roof no that been done too.

Forget it ye shall submit to our control methods or die!

btw if they have all this money for such a system could someone please fix all the ruts and potholes on my route to work as it's getting a bit hairy.

Yes yes mines the white one with the hands that tie behind the back thank you.

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Alert

Just like the M6 is just now surely??

Is the offside lane of the M6 between Birmingham and Preston (or the M5 from Cheltenham - Walsall) already covered by this scheme, because it seems man+dog want to be in this lane, which usually means it slows to between 40-60mph.

Often resulting in me contiuing to pootle on by at 70mph in the middle/nearside lanes. Apparently undertaking is perfectly legal as long is you are doing it to keep up the flow of traffic. So just don't undertake at more than 70mph.

When will they learn? Nobody uses the one (actually useful) toll road we have, except the BMW (I'm more important than you, but couldn't afford indicator bulbs) brigade. So if it's a choice, then expect to see the free lanes jammed full.

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Paris Hilton

This government just don't get it

How unpopular they have become. They think the population is unhappy because of world events, and there is an element of that, but in the people I meet and see, by far and away they are unpopular for the never ending deluge of legislation, enforcement and micro behavioural management they are inflicting on us.

Yes something needs to be done about congestion but applying any form of congestion tax when there is no alternative public transport for people to use instead is just a tax, and it affects the poor disproportionately.

Even the psychology is wrong, "enforcement" cameras immediately gets people's backs up because it implies coercion - you will be MADE to obey. I remain to be convinced that "Safety camera" isn't an oxymoron. In a wider view, if laws were kept simple, well explained and easily understood then the majority of people would obey them, removing the need for most of this monitoring and enforcement.

The intent seems to be to criminalise everyone until the state in some form or other has grudgingly granted a temporary certificate (at a cost - penalising the poor most) that we are not necessarily guilty of some particular offence, but with the implication that we are still guilty of everything else unless certified.

I really do hope all this changes when the next government comes. The UK has a lot going for it but we also have a lot to lose through short sighted knee-jerk legislation in response to events.

Paris - because she does a good knee-jerk in response to events. :-)

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Happy

Dosen't solve all the problems

Most delays in total transit time are the bottlenecks at junctions in urban areas (traffic lights, roundabouts, etc) , so they won't totally get rid of the ripple effect . ( see m4 bracknell turn-off at 845 am or the heathrow m4 sliproad at 5.50 am) . ( 6 billion, eh? ... wonder can i wangle a consultancy fee..)

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Flame

So how come . . .

TFL can't tell me if I need to pay the charge on the day (apparently their systems get a download at the end of the day from the cameras) and yet the Police get realtime info.

Had a situation where I drove briefly into and out of the zone at (according to my car clock) 6:55am, called to see if I had to pay (as their 'gps time' may have been ahead of my car clock), they couldn't say and don't issue a refund if you pay in case and it turns out you didn't need to.

Bastards.

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two tier

Seems to be going the way parking is at the moment, segregating it, so that only the well to do can afford it. I live in North Devon and now only the well off tourists can afford the £5+ to park at the beach in summer. What kind of society is it where you can do what you like to planet if you can afford it? It should be equal access to all (based on ability to pay), and fix the root of the problem - our dependance on oil....

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bahh

@Fraser - "Allowing Police to stop us, without reason and demand we account for ourselfs"

i got searched the other day in the middle of mcdonalds drive through, the reason they gave me was that they "could smell marijuana as i driove past them" - i didnt drive past them,i was already there when they drove in, even if i did they couldnt of smelt anything because they were in a van with windows closed, i didnt have any and i saw it as an excuse rather than "reasonable suspicion" so i went straight down to the station and made a formal complaint aganst them, for that and many other things they did wrong - it is now being taken higher, fight the power lol!!! im voting lib dem, have only just read about them but they are opposed to nanny state and want to scrap vehicle tax etc, thats good enough for me! its time people started doing something about all this crap instead of just moaning about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Simple proposals

They should increase business rates for properties far from public transport to prevent corner-cutting irresponsible shops and businesses forcing customers and staff to drive there, and reflect the wider social costs. Use taxes and planning laws to stop the building of out-of-town offices and shopping centres and reduce huge sprawling suburbs and exurbs (while simultaneously preserving the countryside). Focus new out-of-town businesses on planned areas with good transport links (like Edinburgh Park in Edinburgh, Docklands in London, or La Defense in Paris) rather than unregulated building scattered too diffusely to make public transport efficient. Tax gardens (around homes and particularly offices) to prevent suburban sprawl. Encourage more house or flat-building in cities and areas with good public transport links (e.g. by selectively removing stamp duty, relaxing planning regulations, selling publicly-owned sites cheaply).

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Black Helicopters

Ha!

Well they can promise all they like but with any luck and common sense they ain't gonna be there long enough to do it!!

Watch for more wild spending promises from a broke government, they make the promises and then can say that it's all the fault of those that follow, whether things are carried out or not. Good propaganda for the election after next!

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@AC, 11:58

What 'wider social costs'? Oh yes, the "OMG its a car and its evil" cost.

People shop at out-of-town shops because generally they prefer to, rather then driving into a congested city and attempting to park (probably not the outcome you desire), or catching a slow, expensive bus and then having to go home once they've as much shopping as they can comfortably carry at once.

I really want to know what is this magical goodness-ray thats emitted by public transport when the overall carbon footprint is much the same as driving and the user experience stinks.

Anyway, as an academic once wrote (on the societal effects of the car); how many cheap effective police cars/ambulances/fire engines would there be without the economies of scale generated by mass motoring, how many roads would there be for them to run on and how many people would die for want of quick medical/police/fire attention as a result?

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hmmmm

stop banging on about trains. the vast majority of the country never uses them. most of us work within a few miles frkom where we live. all these bloody londoners banging on about using public transport really annoys me. you have a decent public transport system as everyone outside of london has been funding you for years, but we have all seen sod all spending in our regions.

i live about 3 miles from work.. simple 15 minute journey to work. if i was to get public transport i would need to get 3 busses! how ridiculous. many never turn up and they want silly money for fares. i know i could cycle etc. i have a massive hill to get up the way back so thats never gonna happen (its hard enough to walk up it!). also i need my car so i can get out at dinner times and do shopping and all the other stuff i dont want to do on a saturday with all the families and kids in town.

i drive approx 3500 miles a year and have a 1.6 astra... for that privilege i have to pay £200/year road tax (same as a 2 ltr BMW! wtf?!?!) i say we stop road tax - the gov is making a fortune from the massive oil prices (since 60%+ of it is tax) and shouldnt you pay for the miles you use rather than a blanket tax?

people dont want to have to pay through the roof to own, insure, tax a car and then be told to use public transport by bloody subsidised southerners...

how many times do we see pointless 50mph signs on motorways yet nobody is working (or has been for ages), surely making everyone drive slow doesnt help congestion... look at towns. strange you never see the german autobahns. i see the point in traffic calming between school hours but why the hell is it still 20mp near a school after 11pm? wtf?

also we have seen numerous ridiculous traffic calming measures (there seems to be crossings about every 10m where i live), all these SLOW DOWN traffic causing congestion.

we have also seen cycle lanes used excessively round here.. making lots of roundabouts now 1 lane as the 2nd has been eaten by a seldom used cycle lane (and kids still ride on the path anyway)

i also feel that we are being forced to use cars less, but then i see laods of polish cars on the road where i live... call me cynical but dont moan about congestion and have an open door policy - do they even have to MOT, tax and insure their cars?

when the hell are people going to really discuss the important reasons as to why we have more congestion?

erm.. maybe soaring population. we seriously need to stop any new people coming in, stop people having 5 or 6 kids and living on benefits and look at our population. if we still only had 45 millon people in this country like a few years ago would congestion be so bad? erm... no!

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How to solve traffic congestion

Solving traffic congestion is very hard. The solution is to constantly reduce speed limits on cars. We know this, because governments tell us so, and governments are the only organisations allowed to actually build this infrastructure.

Let's think about the following problem: "Maximise the throughput of IP packet-traffic through a network of interconnects, with cross-connections through IP routers".

Funded by a government think-tank, my solutions are:

1) Enforce a policy on data-pipes that adds a fixed latency per router hop. That is, impose a maximum speed-limit on the packets.

2) Increase the per-packet-mile charge until people stop sending this traffic - it only harms the environment, and clearly has no economic benefit.

3) Under no circumstances build out any capacity.

4) Take the income from the network, and invest it in building a slower, non-DARPA-networked, non-scaleable solution like snail-mail [OK, railways, get with the programme....]

Funded by companies with an interest in economic success, my solutions are:

1) Build out more capacity.

2) Make smarter routers that route packets in the cheapest direction, using RIP

3) Weighted Fair Queueing algorithms. Proved mathematically to optimise throughput.

What's especially interesting, as a network design problem, is how obviously mad the idea is, that imposing a maximum speed-limit on packets would increase the net throughput. Every network engineer knows that the cause of congestion is OTHER PACKETS. The solution is to get them out of the network ASAP, not delay them.

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Come Back, Marples - All is Forgiven.

@Thinking Laterally - Anonymous Coward:

Yup, tried before and worked beautifully. They called them Motorway Patrols. Think there are some examples in the Transport Museum.

If they are ever restored, perhaps one solution to Motorway congestion would be to ensure that access is permitted only to those who have passed a (decent) test to prove their common sense and ability. Those who drive who dive from Lanes 2 or 3 around 50 yards from their daily exit need not apply......you know who you are. Twinning lorry drivers permanently excluded.

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Stop

This is getting boring

I see the old chestnut about 'if we build more roads they just fill up' has been hauled out again - consider for a moment the implications of that idea (cooked up years ago by tree huggers) taken to it's logical conclusion...

Pave the entire country over and designate it all motorway. According to that idiot theory the entire country will fill with cars. More cars than probably exist in all of Europe. Far more cars than human beings in the UK. Cars that don't exist and can't be used if they did.

Yet that ridiculous theory is now accepted, by senior civil servants and the idiot politicians they lead around by the nose, as proven fact. And trotted out regularly as 'proof' that the incompetent civil servants are right in imposing their latest hare-brained, personal liberty encroaching, revenue generation (well, their salaries need paying after all) schemes.

It's painfully obvious that if you build ENOUGH road capacity you will, if the population remains constant, reach a surplus state. After which you only need increase capacity in line with population increase. Neither of which any government has ever actually attempted to do!

NuLab (AKA Applied Marxist Socialism) taking over the UK must have seemed like Christmas Day to these people - who are the ones you really need to worry about. Even when (if) the electorate comes to it's senses and heaves NuLab out, whoever does get in, those Senior Civil Servants will STILL BE THERE.

Nothing much will change. They'll still be leading the politicians around by the nose - ruining what's left of the UK - and imposing their ridiclous schemes on all of us. And remember, you can't vote them out...

Privatisation? Forget it. We all know how well that works - imagine BT running the government?

And run the government is precisely what the unelected senior civil service does - with plenty of help from legions of useless, near mindless underlings who aren't up to holding down private sector positions.

The answer? There isn't one, short of a massive and unprecedented change in the political landscape, or a selective plague that rids the country of huge swathes of our parasitical civil service, starting at the top.

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Congestion on the motorways is your fault, John Public!

Contrary to what people think, there is no "undertake rule" in the UK. If you read the highway code, you will find that you are allowed to pass traffic on the left when there are queues of traffic.

On one of those police propaganda programmes on the tele, I saw the pigs "undertaking". They referred to it as something like nearside passing, and if the police do try to do you for "undertaking" it will usually be something like driving without due care and attention.

The middle lane morons in this country (the majority of drivers, if you look at the behaviour of motorists on the motorways) are one of the largest causes of congestion on the roads. But as they seem to be a large chunk of society, the government does its usual thing of avoiding insulting the voters. Just like how when kids behave like little shits it's always the parents' fault, the government will not say this as those parents are also voters.

If you are a middle lane moron (you probably are), there is help available:

http://www.howmotorwayswork.co.uk/

http://www.middlelanemorons.com/

Infact, on the M6 not long ago I flashed my main beams at a middle lane moron from lane 1 as I was approaching, with a police range rover behind me. I then had to move all the way to lane 3, and back to one to pass him. The pigs also flashed their lights, and the idiot did then actually move over. So I can attest that the police don't mind if you give these clowns some abuse!

I remember when I first passed my test, the middle lane philosophy seems good for numerous reasons - you're not the fastest on the m'way, so the pigs won't pull you. You don't get stuck behind things..... but that is only due to not paying attention far enough ahead on the road.

The fact that probably over 99% of motorway users have never had motorway driving lessons will also account for the levels of stupidity on the motorways, and in turn the congestion. The next time you are on the motorway and it concetinas, notice how lane 3 concetinas first, then two, and then maybe 1. It is due to people not driving on the left, like we are meant to in this country!

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Anonymous Coward

Affordable Trains Might Help

No doubt it's been mentioned, but affordable rail travel might help with congestion.

Over the last 3 months I have spent £280 on petrol travelling to and from work(40 mile round trip). If I were to use the train (with a monthly season ticket) I would have spent £365. So by using the car I've saved £85. Not really a hard choice to make.

Also before opening up the hard shoulders how about giving tickets to the drivers who live in the middle lane. Who knows if all 3 lanes were to be used properly there wouldn't be any need to use the hard shoulder.

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Reduce congestion?

Ban those psychopathic HGV drivers from overtaking each other at 1mph then.

Seriously, how much pollution does it create when some HGV driver who's determined not take his wagon off cruise pulls out into the middle lane causing a dozen or more cars to slow down and pull out into the fast lane slowing that lane down too... and then all those cars then accelerate back to the speed they WERE at before Eddie Stobart's mindless human autopilot slowed them all down in the first place.

More than the extra half hour the wagon has to drive by doing 1mph less over a 500 mile trip I'd imagine.

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