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A History lesson in human transport: – Railways to cars

By 30th December 2022No Comments

In the late 1820s a new form of transport was evolving, something that was a total revelation to people that had relied on horse transport since the dawn of time.  It was faster than a racehorse and could carry much heavier loads.

Yes, the railways had arrived!

No longer were people confined to be born-live-die in the same place and this ‘cork out of a champagne bottle’ moment, was soon grasped and what we now call ‘rail mania’ was started and rail lines spread at an incredible rate all over Great Britain and the whole world soon followed suit, as people and commerce realised the huge benefits of such a system.

Even Government recognised the overall well-being the new transport system provided and rail companies were told that to get an operator’s licence, they had to include cheap travel for the masses; third class was born.

Jump forward one hundred years to the 1920s and many now realise that the car/motorbike is another giant leap in transport terms.  Mass production meant that these modes of transport had become more affordable and plenty of returning military personal from the recent World War had learnt to drive/ride in their countries service. People were no longer tied to pre-set destinations and fixed timetables of rail companies and something new was added to the mix; flexibility!

But this new found transport freedom also produced a simmering resentment by some groups that later on, would manifest into where we stand today.

Jump forward another one hundred years to the 2020s and that “simmering” resentment is now total resentment of those choosing to drive!

For example just put into Google, “Active Travel” followed by your county and see what comes up?  Certainly none of the ‘Positives’ of car ownership are mentioned,  only the Negatives’ are promoted way beyond  fair balance.  

Any ‘Flexibility’ can now be easily controlled by ANPR camera/computer technology, so we are now seeing the imposing of “15 minute cities”, which in their own blurb says How long does it take you to get to a supermarket? What about a public park, pharmacist, or primary school? For proponents of the 15-Minute City planning concept, the answer to all of those questions should be “less than 15 minutes.  On first glance, the concept is very simple: to create neighbourhood’s and cities where a person can meet a host of their basic needs via a short walk or bike ride; larger cities also tend to include public transit in the mix. Exactly what defines ‘short’ varies from place to place”. (And, perhaps your general health?)  So this is why places like Canterbury, Oxford, and Bath are in the planning stage of dividing cities into car-less ’ghettos’

Some might see this as a return to born-live-die policy of two hundred years ago?

Whatever your views of the above; how will they implement this nonsense when land shortages and land values are so high?

It also goes on to say “The greater aim should be to improve accessibility as much as possible to reduce our dependence on cars and reclaim our neighbourhoods for people. This will benefit our health, sustainability and communities.”

Odd that when you stop being a pedestrian and get in a car, you suddenly become a non-person, just like being ‘Cancelled’ and those roads have to be “reclaimed” from you!  That is until you get out of that car and become a ‘model’ citizen again, (pedestrian, cyclist, bus rider, blah, blah, blah!)  This clearly shows that this is the usual anti car rhetoric that we have had to endure these last few decades.

By nature, humans are inquisitive and like to see other places and do not want to live in ghettos designed by academics/planners, which seem completely out-of-touch with real world reality of the average person’s way of life or expectations.

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