Events Channel

Ending the road-building gridlock

Extract

A panel discussion featuring:
Richard Diment, former Director, British Road Federation
Jonathan Dupont, co-author of Gridlock Nation
John Hoad, Head of Planning, Campaign to Protect Rural England
Dr Oliver Knipping, President, Institute for Free Enterprise
Dr Richard Wellings, Head of Transport, Institute of Economic Affairs

Despite high levels of congestion, investment in new road capacity has collapsed over the last twenty years. Policy-makers have preferred to focus on public transport, with substantial investment going into the rail network in particular.

The economic implications are profound. Roads carry 90 per cent of passenger traffic and 65 per cent of freight in the UK. A sub-standard road network results in higher business costs and lower productivity, and is potentially a major impediment to economic recovery.

This panel discussion asks whether, in the context of strained public finances, the private sector should play a much larger role in the development and management of the road network. Can privatisation deliver investment in new infrastructure, as well as making more efficient use of existing capacity? Furthermore, should government policy continue to favour rail, or should it aim to remove distortions and facilitate a level playing field in transport?
The debate follows the publication of the IEA study, Which Road Ahead - Government of Market?, in October 2012.