Road Works in London – a new Olympic Event?

If you live in London and have to travel around the city to get to and from work or on business or to see friends you will have noticed that travel is becoming longer slower and less pleasant, whether you go by bus, car, underground or taxi, particularly if you live north of the river. The reason is that there has been a plethora of road and tube works which has seen many roads being closed, many tube lines being disrupted by engineering works and many roads having temporary traffic lights to divert traffic around road works. It is not very pleasant.

Some of the road works are for installation or renewal of water mains, gas mains and sewage, but many of the road works are in preparation for the Olympic Games, as London tries to pretend it is a better city than it is with better facilities than it has, for a few short weeks in July.

Of course the delays caused by road works is very costly; vehicles burn more fuel as they sit in traffic jams, workers lose some of the leisure time as they spend more time in getting to and from their places of work, and worse of all the atmosphere becomes filled with fumes and emissions from the traffic jams.

Despite some efforts there is very little joined up thinking when it comes to road works. They are not well co-ordinated and it seems that the contractors are permitted to save their costs at the expense of a public that has to travel. Some days it seems as though we are boxed in by road works and have to take extraordinary diversions.

Every large City needs an efficient, safe, reliable and cheap transport system. London has a transport system that is reasonably safe, but inefficient, hugely expensive and very unreliable. As a result we pay the price of that system in our everyday lives, which are made more difficult and stressful, in the large amounts of our earnings that we have to expend simply to get to and from work, and in the large amounts of emissions and pollution that an inefficient transport system creates, which in turn provides Londoners with poor air quality and harms their health.

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