Transport Minister, Norman Baker, has been in the papers this week, to discuss changing the way people commute to work. This is part of his remit, previously reported by Stop HS2, to reduce travel.
The Guardian says “Ministers are investigating tactics to “nudge” people into abandoning the rush hour, such as convincing train, tube and bus companies to offer bigger discounts for travelling outside the busiest hours.”
Norman Baker said “It is crazy these days for people to go to work when work can come to people. It is even crazier that we all travel on the same train on the same day at the same time.”
The Department for Transport has asked businesses and organisations to tell them how they are using alternatives to travel, and if not why not. (Please encourage your organisation to take part in their survey.)
The guidance notes for their questionnaire say
“Many businesses and organisations are already successfully using various alternatives to travel, ranging from teleconferencing, videoconferencing and web-conferencing, to working flexible hours, and working remotely – either from home or from a remote hub.
“With this Call for Evidence, we are seeking contributions from a wide range of businesses, sectors, organisations and individuals, which document experiences and impacts of, and the future potential for, using alternatives to travel. In addition, we are interested to hear from those not currently making use of such alternatives about the reasons behind this.
“The Call for Evidence will inform the development of a longer term strategy on alternatives to travel. And this in turn will ensure that alongside improved local sustainable travel choices, alternatives to travel can play a key role in creating economic growth and cutting carbon. “
If the Department for Transport’s initiatives to reduce travel are successful, then the case for HS2 is massively weakened. Philip Hammond’s is trying to tell commuters that HS2 could change their journeys, when it opens in 2026.
But with this DfT initiative, getting to work could be made much more pleasant, years earlier, and at a much lower cost to the country then HS2 Ltd want us to spend on their proposed railway.
Very heavy investment when we are at a sea change in terms of how we communicate would be highly risky even if we had run out of rail capacity on the West Coast Main Line. But given we can more than double the number of standard class passenger seats before we even start on significant infrastructure changes means HS2 is totally insane.