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3 Oct 2014
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Bob Walker Jam today and jam tomorrow?
By Bob Walker,

The Government's unveiled a £145 million programme designed to ease traffic congestion and improve road safety. Almost 100 small-scale improvement projects will be carried out - many will be targeted at so-called "pinch points" or bottlenecks.

Though some motoring organisations have welcomed any move to tackle traffic jams, others have warned that tougher action is needed. The Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has been urged to consider introducing widespread road charging or tolls.

Mr Darling said: "The Government is committed to tackling congestion and reducing the number of accidents on our roads. The package announced today will address some serious bottlenecks on the motorway and trunk road network, which currently cause major delays.

"Improving these junctions will cut queues and improve traffic flow, leading to more reliable journey times and less pollution."

The road information company Trafficmaster recently identified the M6 around Birmingham as the second most congested road in the country. Traffic is often reduced to a crawl or standstill. The Highways Agency has identified a number of improvement projects along the M6 and the neighbouring M5.

But Dr Pat Hanlon, a transport economist with the University of Birmingham, says such improvements are only a short-term solution. He points out that the Birmingham Northern Relief Road which is now under construction will be the country's first major toll road.

Dr Hanlon says tackling bottlenecks will only shift the problem elsewhere. He believes what's needed is a sliding scale of road pricing with charges varying according to journey times.

LINKS
Department of Transport - roads

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The Government hopes traffic jams can be reduced by tackling bottlenecks across the country.
Alistair Darling tells us how he plans to free up our congested roads.
Can new toll roads like the Birmingham Northern Relief Road improve congestion?
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