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  • We have ‘car brain’ in the UK
  • cookeaa
    Full Member

    But public transport is neither reliable or fast. If it offered an advantage over using the car, then people would use it.

    Bit chicken and egg really innit?

    tjagain
    Full Member

    But public transport is neither reliable or fast. If it offered an advantage over using the car, then people would use it.

    Even when it does and for some journeys I do its both quicker and cheaper by a combination of train and bike than by car its difficult to persuade people to do it.  See comments on this thread about mixing with the great unwashed etc.

    Its needs a carrot and stick approach and also to be looked at holistically – You cannot separate time and convenience for individuals from overall population effects and harm from from pollution and effects of lack of exercise – and also town planning, road design etc etc.   The issue needs to be looked at as a whole.  focusing on one aspect leads to false conclusions

    Also the elephant in the room remains – the massive subsidy from general taxation to motorists and also that urban journeys – in most cities its a minority of urban journeys by car but cars get the majority of transport spend and car drivers have the majority of political power

    kerley
    Free Member

    But public transport is neither reliable or fast. If it offered an advantage over using the car, then people would use it.

    For most people it is never going to offer an advantage in the primary area of concern – time.

    Not much you can do about that as can’t have an infinite number of buses and if you did they would still be slower than a car because they have to stop many times and they don’t pick you up from your door and deliver you to exactly where you are going.

    Looking at this from an advantage point of view is completely wrong. People will need to be forced out of their cars. The 3 month experiment was just to prove that even when offered a completely free (lesser) alternative I don’t think many would use it so little point in improving it.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Also there is no “one size fits all” solution.  Urban, suburban and rural areas need different focus.

    Another issue is the arms race in the size and weight of cars.  What was seen as a large family car 25 years ago is smaller and lighter than what is seen as a small car nowadays.  IMO we need a class of vehicles that is small and light – something like the japanese K car.  The solution to cars getting too big for parking spaces is not bigger parking spaces, its smaller cars

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Another issue is the arms race in the size and weight of cars.

    That *might* start to happen with the shift to EV. Problem at the moment is an already large SUV, on shifting from ICE to E becomes even larger and heavier as it has to accommodate the batteries to move its vast bulk.

    The logical answer is to go for smaller, lighter cars which require less power to move them and therefore have greater range.

    Part of the size of cars now though is safety systems and powered everything – windows, mirrors, boot lid, seats – it’s all more electric motors, more bulk, more weight…

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    On the subject of vehicles, I want to see more of this kind of thing:
    XBus rather than bloated SUVs

    5lab
    Full Member

    the xbus is just the electric version of the bedford rascal, which isn’t sold in the UK any more as no-one wants a slow, cramped, noisy, inefficient and unsafe vehicle to go about their daily lives. Plenty of kei-car-based vans in japan and the far east still

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Bit chicken and egg really innit?

    Well that’s a conservative viewpoint – that public transport has to be popular and profitable to be worth investing in. But that idea creates that chicken/egg situation.

    However you could invest in public transport anyway, and break that cycle.

    That *might* start to happen with the shift to EV.

    It won’t. Most of the energy spent moving a car is against air resistance. If you reduced the battery in an EV by 75% it wouldn’t weigh 75% less and you wouldn’t get 4x the range.

    But that’s the whole point of this thread. You have to get rid of the mentality where everyone simply gets in their car all the time. Smaller cars will do nothing to change that.

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    Lock of strategic oversight, lack of joined-up thinking and a piecemeal approach to privatisation, conflicting priorities between business, transport, environment and public health all fighting for insufficient funds means frankly it ain’t going to happen. It’s going to take a 10-20 year plan with baked-in investment rather than funding driven by parliamentary cycles and the whim of ministers doing favours for their mates – regrettably I can’t see any of this happening in my lifetime.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    That *might* start to happen with the shift to EV. Problem at the moment is an already large SUV, on shifting from ICE to E becomes even larger and heavier as it has to accommodate the batteries to move its vast bulk.

    The problem is to fit enough batteries in to get ~300+ miles range you need a big platform to fit them all in under the floor. The only car that seems to have bucked this trend is the Model S, which is still absolutely massive, but at least isn’t 7ft tall.

    Electric is the future of cars, but car’s realistically aren’t a viable future in general.

    kerley
    Free Member

    but car’s realistically aren’t a viable future in general.

    And how quickly that comes is largely down to policies within a country, so a log time to go yet…

    rsl1
    Free Member

    zEV mandates may actually kill off small city cars as it’s incredibly hard to make a city car sized EV profitable. It’s not a coincidence the the EV market is currently dominated by luxo barges. Something like a Renault twizzy probably bucks that trend but e cargo bikes and e scooters are probably a much better holistic solution for the use case of a twizzy.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    The only car that seems to have bucked this trend is the Model S, which is still absolutely massive, but at least isn’t 7ft tall.

    BMW i4/8, Mercedes EQS/E, Hyundai Ioniq/Ioniq 6, MG, there are low EVs out there, as well as small ones (e-Up, Smart). People need to accept that you don’t need 300 miles of range. And they will, they’ll have to.

    But that’s all a diversion. EVs aren’t a solution to transport which is what this thread is about. The fact they keep coming up is probably just confirming the problem.

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    It’s not cars or size of cars or their propulsion method that’s the issue – the problem in this country is the venom and bile projected against the perfect form of sustainable transport – cycling.
    I used to 3000miles a year commuting but I got fed up with close passes and constant resentment.

    Driver’s being ‘blinded by the sun’ killing cyclists and walking away from court, right wing papers and their anti cycling agenda, councils being forced to remove lockdown cycle lanes.

    **** it – lack of infrastructure and cycling culture from the top I had enough so drive to work now and happily sit in traffic listening to R4.

    5lab
    Full Member

    it’s incredibly hard to make a city car sized EV profitable

    it is right now, but over time that’ll change as economies of scale build up. electric car sales are growing but worldwide they’re a tiny portion (2% maybe?) of overall cars made.

    regarding range – I think peolpe will accept lower range cars when
    a) they’re cheap enough to be the second car in the household
    or
    b) charging is fast enough not to make a difference.

    we’re getting closer to each of those over time, the fastest charging cars can now at 10 miles of range per minute, I think once you’re adding 30 miles per minute you are close enough to the speed of filling an ICE to not matter – then all the upset people who care about flats not having charging can be quiet too.

    whatgoesup
    Full Member

    b) charging is fast enough not to make a difference.

    This is already solved, at least for modern, decent spec cars – my Etron charges at 150kW, which is 375 miles per hour or just over 6 miles per minute. That’s quick enough that a 15 min stop gives 95 miles extra range – more than quick enough to keep you moving on a long journey while fitting in with normal breaks you’d take anyway on a long drive.

    The challenge is being able to reliably plug into a vacant fast charger when arriving. It’s no good being able to charge at the rates above it it’s only after a 30 min queue. So it’s charger availability that’s the challenge.
    Once the network becomes widespread enough to stop worrying about this then the need for a 300 mile+ range will disappear for most people.

    But back to the original point of the thread …. yes as a country we’re stuck on cars and need to move away from them so that they’re one transport option out of many – a bit like in central london where the car isn’t a preferred way to get around – tubes, buses being very prevalent with occasional taxi rides filling in the gap where a car is needed occasionally. Imagine if the rest of the UK could work like that.

    5lab
    Full Member

    This is already solved, at least for modern, decent spec cars – my Etron charges at 150kW, which is 375 miles per hour or just over 6 miles per minute. That’s quick enough that a 15 min stop gives 95 miles extra range – more than quick enough to keep you moving on a long journey while fitting in with normal breaks you’d take anyway on a long drive.

    The challenge is being able to reliably plug into a vacant fast charger when arriving. It’s no good being able to charge at the rates above it it’s only after a 30 min queue. So it’s charger availability that’s the challenge.
    Once the network becomes widespread enough to stop worrying about this then the need for a 300 mile+ range will disappear for most people.

    see I think the problem is the other way round. if you can add 30 miles/minute then chargers will be treated much more like pumps – it doesn’t matter if there’s a small queue as cars will flow through at a fast rate anyway.

    imo 15 mins -> 90 miles is still a reasonable compromise – it means stopping for ~25 mins every 2 hours, which is much more than I’d chose to do. You might be willing to take that compromise for the other benefits of an electric car, but for longer journeys a 200 mile range that can be topped back up in 10 mins would be a game changer

    molgrips
    Full Member

    When ICEs were invented people probably said ‘meh, petrol’s really hard to get and they don’t go any faster than horses, so they’re rubbish’. But anyway, however good EVs become they are not the solution to reducing car dependency. If you want to talk EVs there’s a thread for that.

    the problem in this country is the venom and bile projected against the perfect form of sustainable transport – cycling.

    It’s far from perfect for a load of reasons that I’m sure you’re aware of. Expecting everyone to cycle is not realistic, not least because a great many people are travelling further than even I as a fit cyclist (haha) would be prepared to on a daily basis. One reason that car ownership is entrenched is that people have relied on that to set their lives up – for example, a couple working 20 miles in opposite directions to their home – and thereby creating a much harder problem to solve.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Just doing some reading – in the Netherlands, 65% of commutes to work were by car (Statista), whereas it’s 71% in the UK (gov.uk). That’s not so different.

    The Dutch “now drive over 200bn km per year” according to Wiki but I’m not sure when that was. In the UK it was 240bn km per year in 2022 according to the RAC. Adjusted for driving population (50m UK, 10m NL) that sounds like the Dutch are driving more per person than we are.

    Now, these are poor statistics really and I’m not going to do a full investigation into them, but whilst we know the Dutch cycle a lot, if they aren’t driving less then it’s not necessarily the utopia people might think. I mean, I’m about to go to the shops now and I won’t be cycling, but I won’t be driving either. Given the faff involved in getting my bike out and honking up the hill it’s just not worth it. I’m going to take a little detour through the woods. If I had a flat open cycleway and a Dutch bike and no pleasant detour I might just cycle.

    The large number of cycle journeys in NL might be bolstered by people riding to train stations whereas in the UK people might simply walk to the station, as they do in London.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    One reason that car ownership is entrenched is that people have relied on that to set their lives up – for example, a couple working 20 miles in opposite directions to their home – and thereby creating a much harder problem to solve.

    Yep – move to the leafy suburbs for a ‘nice’ life but lock yourselves into car dependency and its effects.

    Initially of course it wouldn’t have been seen as any sort of problem – in fact it would have been a very desirable thing to show your wealth and independence. The problem with cars is that they’re brilliant when you have one and terrible when everyone has one!

    butcher
    Full Member

    Adjusted for driving population (50m UK, 10m NL) that sounds like the Dutch are driving more per person than we are.

    I’ve heard these stats before and would be interested in knowing more about them. Is it because of longer European journeys, for example driving for holidays instead of flying?

    Having spent time there, a huge amount of people cycle on a daily basis and there’s noticeably less traffic/congestion/parking. In the cities, upwards of 50% of people cycle daily. Most children, of all ages, cycle to school. Quality of life is vastly improved. Those who can’t drive have independence, and those that do have consistently voted it one of the best countries in the world to drive in. Many of the Dutch do live out of town however, which probably accounts for a lot of the driving.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    we’re getting closer to each of those over time, the fastest charging cars can now at 10 miles of range per minute, I think once you’re adding 30 miles per minute you are close enough to the speed of filling an ICE to not matter – then all the upset people who care about flats not having charging can be quiet too.

    This is already solved, at least for modern, decent spec cars – my Etron charges at 150kW, which is 375 miles per hour or just over 6 miles per minute. That’s quick enough that a 15 min stop gives 95 miles extra range – more than quick enough to keep you moving on a long journey while fitting in with normal breaks you’d take anyway on a long drive.

    It’s not so much miles per minute, as percentage charge per minute.

    Like your mobile phone can charge in ~2 hours, or you can plug it into a 12v fast charger and it’ll do it in 40min, but it gets hot and you’ll kill the battery after 2 years which isn’t acceptable when it’s a ton of battery and not £40 to have Timpson’s replace it.

    So a huge Panzer Tank like the Etron can add miles at a phenomenal rate, but try the same trick in a Leaf and it would catch fire (or have a dead battery in 5 years, like most of them seemed to).

    Unless the battery tech changes there will always be that full charge in ~90mintues limit.

    5lab
    Full Member

    Unless the battery tech changes there will always be that full charge in ~90mintues limit.

    the fastest charge rate seems to be ~15-80% charge, if you have a 250 mile range car and can add 200 miles of that in 5 mins, charging becomes an absolute non-issue. it doesn’t really matter if the last 20% will take another hour

    kerley
    Free Member

    How to miss teh point of the thread – start discussing EVs (still clearly cars!)

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Yep – move to the leafy suburbs for a ‘nice’ life but lock yourselves into car dependency and its effects.

    You make it sound like an affectation, but there is not always room in city centres for all the people to live. In Cardiff, a lot of traffic is people driving from the Valleys to work in Cardiff. Often they can’t afford to live in Cardiff. I knew a couple who lived and worked here but after the relationship failed they had to move to nearby towns because they couldn’t afford to rent here on there own.

    These aren’t justifications for the status quo though. What we need is planning to avoid this issue. If you’re going to concentrate businesses in one place you need transport infrastructure, and it’s that that has been done badly. It’s done by means of roads, and NOT public transport. They’ve been building new roads and bypasses all over the Valleys since the 80s, but only now have they started looking at the train lines.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    MOlgrips – now look at an urban journey comparison Netherlands / UK  thats where the bikes are used

    irc
    Full Member

    The problem with cars is that they’re brilliant when you have one and terrible when everyone has one!

    Around here everyone does have a car. Well 80% of household, many of which have 2 or 3 cars. They are still brilliant. The only less brilliant feature is commuting to a 9-5 job in the city centre as it gets a bit congested. Luckily those suburb to city centre trips during the day is what public transport does well. So many people with cars choose the train/bus for those journeys

    Public transport does not do random start/finish point journeys late at night or early morning.

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    I think it’s better to compare against France and Germany rather than the Netherlands, because they have more recently started to really encourage cycling…

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/germany-vows-to-boost-cycling-as-part-of-climate-effort-germany-berlin-autobahn-greens-b1835244.html

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2021/10/22/paris-to-become-100-cycling-city-within-four-years-reveals-new-plan/

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    Gosh, it’s quite remarkable how crap our cycling infrastructure is when you scroll around Europe’s towns and cities on Google Maps using the “cycling” view, then scroll over to the UK.

    butcher
    Full Member

    Around here everyone does have a car. Well 80% of household, many of which have 2 or 3 cars. They are still brilliant.

    I take it you don’t have kids, who have no option but to stay in the house because it’s the thing that’s now statistically most likely to kill them?

    I find it incredibly sad that the vast majority of kids today cannot experience the freedoms and independence that we had growing up.

    Edukator
    Free Member

    That’s a lousy translation by Forbes. “Cyclable” does not translate to cycling. It just means you can ride a bike there. Which if you can put up with the poor infrastructure, pollution, bike theft, hostile road users… it already is. Not much is going to change in the next four years but hoepfully it will be better.

    I’ve ridden in both Paris and Berlin in the last year, they’re really not nice places to ride a bike and that isn’t going to change unless they:

    put a Stop sign for cars at every intersection of a bike path and road
    Have a solid barrier separating every bike path and road big enough to stop a monster 4×4.
    Have millions of secure bike storage places all over the city. This can be achieved by converting at least 50% the car parking into bike parking with e-bike charging.
    Make every narrow road (<7m) in the city one-way for cars with all the rest of the space given over to bike/car parking and pedestrian/bike paths.
    ban all ICE vehicles.

    They won’t, Paris and Berlin will remain noisy, polluted, dangerous places to be on a bike.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Public transport does not do random start/finish point journeys late at night or early morning.

    Depending where you live public transport might only run once a day or stop before the end of the working day. That’s not even close to being usable.

    As pointed out it has to be multi modal to work. Trains for longer distances with buses and bikes out from transit hubs and seamless ticketing.

    Yes, free passes are a faff in this day and age but most 5 year olds don’t have their own phone. Personally I’d just allow children to travel for free and close the gap on the cost differential to use the car.

    irc
    Full Member

    I take it you don’t have kids, who have no option but to stay in the house because it’s the thing that’s now statistically most likely to kill them?

    Most likely to kill them? They are more likely to get murdered than killed on the road.

    59 murders in 2021.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/homicideinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2021

    52 killed on the road in 2020 – the latest year I can find stats for.

    More children being killed on UK roads

    When the risks about either are that low I don’t worry. Our kids all waklked themselves to school from Primary 1 and survived the experience.

    butcher
    Full Member

    Most likely to kill them? They are more likely to get murdered than killed on the road.

    Motor vehicles are the single biggest killer of children over the age of 5.

    That’s in a world where most younger kids don’t leave the house unsupervised.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Motor vehicles are the single biggest killer of children over the age of 5.

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean the risk is high.

    butcher
    Full Member

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean the risk is high.

    It’s one child killed each week. Several are seriously injured each day. You’ll not find many parents of young children who aren’t fearful to let them outside. Even if the risk was low, that is damaging in itself. But if kids were outside, as we were at that age, those numbers would be much, much higher.

    To me that is this thread in a nutshell. It makes no sense to me that we can be OK with the conditions we’ve imposed on our own children.

    onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    This weird car centric thinking was brought home today by a younger guy at work with three kids teen-3yo. He was moaning about the 20 limit as it makes it hard to pass cyclists. When I pointed out the average cyclist would struggle to hold 20mph in Peebles. He stayed that they managed that and more he knows because his Speedo tells him when he’s overtaking them.
    Questioned the legality of him driving at more than 30 in a 20. Apparently he has to because he’s in a rush.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    To me that is this thread in a nutshell. It makes no sense to me that we can be OK with the conditions we’ve imposed on our own children.

    I was making a statistical point, no more.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    There are eight million 5-15 year olds in the UK. (source). If there are 50 killed by motor vehicles, that’s 1 in 160,000 per year. Yes of course, that’s 50 too many, but isn’t never letting your kids outside because Cars something of an overreaction?

    But if kids were outside, as we were at that age, those numbers would be much, much higher

    How are they getting run over indoors?

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    Bit chicken and egg really innit?

    Well that’s a conservative viewpoint – that public transport has to be popular and profitable to be worth investing in. But that idea creates that chicken/egg situation.

    However you could invest in public transport anyway, and break that cycle.

    I was really being a bit facetious in response to the statement that “PT is unreliable and slow” if it’s unreliable and slow, I’d say that has more to do with the primacy of Cars and car culture than some inherent flaw with the idea of PT. Cars hoover up funding for roads, they hoover up road space and they hoover up land for parking they also hoover up people’s incomes to buy and fuel.

    Apparently the average lease/PCP/HP spend per car is circa £200 PCM or £2400 PA and £1300-1800 PA on fuel (ICE petrol bs diesel) chuck in servicing, insurance, tyres, VED, etc and on “average” car owners are spunking an average of (let’s be generous) say £4.5k+ (per car) distributed across various car related outgoings (queue lots of frugal people telling me how cheap their specific motoring habits are)… Imagine if the “average” UK adult didn’t throw that money at a car and maybe chucked it at PT and active travel, or even half that amount. The funding of PT wouldn’t be such an issue, and without all the tin boxes in the way busses would waft about efficiently on time.

    I do also find it hilarious that on a thread essentially discussing how we (as a nation) drive too much, several people have missed the point and started blathering about the wonders of BEVs, the solution to too having many cars isn’t just buying a different flavour of car.

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