The following was written by Jerry Marshall, chairman of the AGAHST Federation of Action Groups against High Speed Two.
HS2 is about as sensible as building a high speed canal network 15 years after the railways took off. Eight miles an hour would be a great improvement over four for Victorian transport users but pointless in the face of the game changing railway technology.
Fifteen years after the Internet took off, it is now a game changer in terms of travel. Sure, I’ll still use trains. In fact I even use canals from time to time.
Half of my board meetings have been audio conferences for a while. Most of my meetings are Skype video calls and a few weeks ago Skype introduced multi party video conferences. Then last week I tried a Webinar for the first time.
My Webinar had a window with the PowerPoint, a window with the speaker, a window for messaging between delegates and finally a box for actions, like putting your hand up. Apart from the advantage of not having to travel, the benefit was that I could go back and forth in the PowerPoint if I wanted, tell the speaker to speak up or that I didn’t understand without disrupting proceedings, and interact with delegates from around the world.
So here’s the choice for you or your employees in Birmingham: spend half a day travelling to (say) London and back (the 23 minutes HS2 time saving doesn’t significantly change this), pay the £149 peak return and possibly a hefty seminar fee to cover the high venue costs; or just login to a webinar, probably for free.
All this and we are only 15 years in. With the HS2 analysis, the benefit period runs to 2086.
Train demand will not rise 267% as HS2 expect. The Internet is a game changer. South Korea noticed: they are putting $25bn into ultra high speed broadband. Meanwhile we’re excited that we might get 8mph narrow boats.