A few weeks ago, Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrats’ transport minister, came up with some ideas which makes you wonder why they see High Speed 2 as part of their transport strategy.
In an article in the Daily Telegraph, he said he wanted employers to let their staff work from home, reducing the demand for transport. If the Government encourage fewer people to travel, forecasted problems with capacity cease to be a issue, meaning that High Speed 2 becomes more of an unnecessary extravegence.
In the same article, the Association of Train Operating Companies also attacked (perhaps without realising it) the rationale for the economic benefits of HS2. These are based on the decades old assumption that travel time is entirely wasted.
ATOC is quoted as saying “The train is a good option for businesspeople getting around the country because in many cases they can catch up on work and use their time travelling almost as productively as they could do in the office.”
So there you have it; the government wants to reduce the need for travel, and the economic case is already outmoded.