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Cardiffs' Transport Policy

January 2007 (last updated 24/1/07)
 
(Substantial parts extracted and abridged from Web Video Productions "Transport Policy" series)
 
10 times more people die (39,000) from air born pollution in the UK than die on the roads, if only the speed camera effort was applied to catching pollution offenders, but of course that might not make money for government.
 
The worst road pollution offenders are large diesel vehicles running part loaded, for example: Cardiff Bus fleet has an average occupancy of 5.5 passengers across all journeys. There are considerably less passengers at times in buses weighing up to 17.5 tonnes, producing an unjustifiable carbon footprint (Global Warming) and life threatening pollution.
 
There is a local and national government policy move against the car which is evident in Cardiff.
 
The city was recently found (BBC report) to be the worst in the UK for traffic planning and management, with drivers spending more than half their time stationary, not just wasting a lot of man time harming the economy, but also adding more to air born pollution and the cities carbon footprint.
 
Cardiff Traffic Worse Than London Cardiff's planners seem oblivious to the efficient utilisation of the high efficiency car concept which presents the most efficient form of transport in terms of pollution, carbon footprint, fuel use and man time.
 
Comparing a common traditional compact car weighing one tonne with an average two passengers with a bus weighing 10 tonnes with the average 5.5 passengers, it is obvious the car is near 4 times more efficient (in terms of the overall weight that needs to be moved) and therefore 4 times less pollution and carbon, not to mention the faster journey time and man time saved (with high efficiency cars the difference is much much bigger - see below).
 
The major car manufacturers have not been encouraged sufficiently by government (carrot and stick) to produce lighter more efficient vehicles, there are already cars on the road which are much lighter. The short range (currently 90 miles max between refuels) Swiss "Twike" with two average passengers on board weighs 3 times less at 0.35 tonnes and therefore potentially 12 times less pollution and carbon footprint (Global Warming).
 
Car owners too have not been encouraged sufficiently by government (carrot and stick) to use lighter more efficient vehicles, which are typically smaller and need less road and parking space.
 
It's long past time for traditional cars to be taxed on size and weight, with the lighter cars being tax free as some are now.
 
VW (Volkswagen) 300mpg car in 2002 VW (Volkswagen) has already had a 300mpg car on the road (2002) but has not put it into general production because it judged not enough people would buy it (around 17,000), if only VW and car users had been encouraged.
 
The the VW car and the Twike are just two examples of the way future transport will develop in the near future, there is no doubt about this. The vehicles and travel range will improve dramatically as existing more advanced technology is introduced.
 
Like it or not Transport Policy is ultimately tied to overall efficiency and the Carbon Footprint (Global Warming). It is important that planners realise the inevitable mandatory connection with overall energy policy.
 
Well over half the air burn fuel energy (eg: gas, coal, oil) used in main stream centralised electricity production is lost as heat in the generating process which is between 30% and 50% efficient at best and has little hope of much improvement beyond 50%. Most of our electricity is generated in this inefficient way.
 
Traditional fuel driven transport, planes, trains, buses, lorries and cars waste between 75% and 60% of the fuel they consume by throwing it away as waste heat as they move. The latest highly efficient car type transport already available does not do this, it is almost 100% efficient, in effect reducing carbon and polution emissions by nearly 100%. At the same time this reduces costs and strengthens the future ecconomy.
 
Domestic Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit It has long been possible to generate electricity and heat at the point of use with near 100% efficiency simply because the waste heat can all be used to provide hot water and heat our homes. Appliances are already available to replace a central heating boiler and simultaneously generate electricity and heat our homes much more efficiently while reducing bills at the same time.
 
Domestic micro power (CHP) plants will also refuel our highly efficient cars with for example electricity or hydrogen. Honda, BP and others are already well down the road towards producing domestic hydrogen generation plants to refuel hydrogen vehicles like the Zcar town vehicle shown below (and many others).
 
Home Heat Pump technology has been around for over 40 years, but few use it, but those that do end up with a lot more heat energy than they started with, in short, summer heat naturally stored in the ground is amplified and used for heating. The overall energy efficiency can be the equivalent of 300% (ie: you can get back up to 3 times more energy than put in) providing a dramatic reduction in the carbon footprint and primary energy use. Carbon neutral homes already exist using Heat Pump and other technologies.
 
The following simple tables are provided to illustrate that a massive 66% reduction in Carbon, Pollution and Energy Use can be acheived in just a few years using existing tried and tested technology. If a modest amount of home solar and or wind power are factored in then this easily reaches an 80% reduction.
 
One of the key savings is made by home charging / refueling of energy efficient cars which enables the traditional 75% energy waste to be used to provide around half of our home heating.
 
Common Traditional Energy Use January 2007
Small 1930 Semi DetachedPrimary Energy (Kwh)Energy UsedEnergy Wasted
Heating28,50020,0008,500
Electricity15,0005,00010,000
Small Petrol Car 10,000
miles per year
11,0002,7508,250
Totals:54,50027,75026,750

 
66% Carbon, Pollution and Energy Use Reduction with existing technology - January 2007
Small 1930 Semi Detached with
improved energy efficiency
Primary Energy (Kwh)ElectricityHeat providedEnergy Wasted
Home generated Electricity (natural gas engine)18,3006,6509,9751,675
Home Heat Pump (electric motor)0-2,5007,5000
Home electricity use0-290000
High Efficiency Electric Car 10,000
miles per year (charged at home)
0-125000
Totals:18,300017,4751,675

 
Hydrogen powered town car The availability of these long tried and tested technologies enable us to easily reduce energy use and our Carbon Footprint (Global Warming) by more than half relatively quickly in just a few years. Little known manufacturers round the world have been producing domestic appliances for this purpose for many years, there will shortly be a revolution in this area.
 
Of course at least some our new independent profit based energy supply companies are not going rush to help us move quickly towards much higher energy efficiency are they ? it would dent their profit margins, no surprise then that the available more efficient technologies are not more well known.
 
Swiss Twike 600mpg car in 2006 Planners need to quickly recognise that in a relatively short time new cars will refuel at home from domestic combined heat and power appliances (CHP) thus reducing the related Carbon Footprint (Global Warming) by more than 50%.
 
In the example of the 600 mpg (equivalent) Swiss Twike, this could result in 24 times less pollution and carbon production compared to current public transport by bus in Cardiff.
 
Public transport can not get anywhere near the overall efficiency of home refueled high efficiency cars. Three main obsticals for large public transport vehicles are: size and weight, average occupancy and difficulty utilising waste heat efficiently.
 
Even if all the waste heat from large public transport vehicles could be utilised which appears very difficult if not impossible to achieve, it is technically impossible to get the average occupancy high enough. An average occupancy of 57 passengers would be required for a 10 tonne bus (including passenger weight) to be equal to the existing best high efficiency car. The passengers alone weigh about 4 tonnes, so a bus weighing around 6 tonnes would need to be able to carry a much higher number to achieve an average occupancy of 57, impossible to achieve.
 
High efficiency cars bring advantages for city planners, appart from lower pollution and carbon emissions, they are smaller and fit into smaller parking bays, capacity of existing parking can increase substantially. Why should all parking bays be big enough for large gas guzling higher polluting 4x4's, larger vehicles can be religated to special areas with higher charges.
 
The local and national government policy move against sensible cars in cities needs to stop, the car concept is the only effective solution.
 
All electric cahrge at home Tesla The Ferrari beating electric Tesla is already being built by Lotus in England using components from around the world. This outstanding car proves electric car technology is already better than the traditional car, it can out accelerate a Ferrari, charge at home in 3 hours, has a 250 mile range and 130 mph top speed and uses relatively little energy and zero pollution and carbon emission (if charged at home with CHP).
 
Car parking at home will shortly be a necessity to make home refueling, carbon and pollution reduction possible and needs to be enabled not restricted. Cities that fail to do this will suffer relative economic decline in effected areas. Householders without adjacent parking will be forced to use traditional more heavily taxed polluting fuels or go without personal and family transport, creating a new form of poverty.
 
Driverless technology is already with us, soon cars will drive themselves, greatly cutting accidents, traffic problems, fuel use, driving offences and highway costs. Drivers will be able to sit back and watch TV or work, perhaps even sleep as they are delivered to their destination. Gentle overnight long distance journeys will improve the quality of life dramatically while at the same time further reducing fuel use.
 
ULTRA Driverless Vehicle 2004 Cardiffs' abandoned Ultra system experiment (driverless four seater public transport vehicle) is now being rolled out elsewhere (eg: Heathrow), it is an early version of future highly energy efficient transport that is much cheaper to provide than existing public transport, city journeys are twice as fast as a bus, existing roadway width can more than quadruple in capacity and fuel use is reduced by two thirds (66% less carbon).
 
It is just a matter of time before all cars are able to work in a driverless way because it is so much better overall.
 
Driverless technology can ultimately increase the capacity of existing road carriageways by a factor of up to 10 or more, simply because optimum spacing and safe speed will be possible at all times.
 
The trend to over develop town centres, the primary cause of pedestrian and vehicle congestion, inner city pollution and the reduction in quality of life must stop. Where is the sense in paying more and more for a reducing quality of life and related social problems ?
 
Everyone loses except the Local Authority and Governmental Empires who benefit from increased taxes on business, property and transport. There is a growing argument that at least some of these Empires have a conflict of interest as they become more concerned with preserving and growing themselves.
 
Congestion charging is in truth a desperate remedy for a massive planning failure and is in itself an unfair prejudice against the less well off majority who are in effect being punished for planning failure and the privilege of the better off minority. At the same time our responsible planners are rewarded with better salaries, pensions and benefits, why ?
 
In Cardiff planners have allowed large developments without sufficient parking and efficient traffic flow structure, one of the most notable of many is the new 70,000 seat Millennium Stadium without any parking provision, residents are frequently forced to suffer restricted access to their central areas through road and public transport closures during stadium events, not to mention drunken yob culture which has deprived residents of a formerly enjoyable town centre.
 
With a second new Cardiff stadium and other developments now imminent, it is clear planners are intent upon further reducing the quality of life in the city, no doubt for the benefit of businesses and the Council from increased revenues.
 
You do not have to be very bright to work out that by compressing more and more business and homes into a centre you inevitably reach a point of serious congestion. The Romans wrote about this problem 2000 years ago, it seems many city planners today ignore this wisdom. It is far more efficient to create a number of well connected and serviced central points within a town rather than just one, congestion and journey lengths fall dramatically.
 
In Cardiff we see an attempt to introduce a city wide residents pay for parking scheme (CPZ) based on flawed consultants reports alleging some problems where none existed and ignoring the real issues. In fact the proposed scheme would reduce residential parking availability and restrict it. A plan for residential area decay and a further dramatic fall in the quality of life, certainly not an improvement.
 
We really do need to encourage home refueled energy efficient cars to enable a substantial reduction in Carbon Emission and Pollution. Restricting or reducing Residents abilty to park adjacent to their homes will prevent a substantial reduction in carbon and pollution.
 
It seems Cardiff's planners have not yet realised that cheap hand held ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) units are now readily available and allow parking wardens to instantly identify local vehicles, enabling LVZ (Local Vehicle Zones).
 
The LVZ control method preserves the quality of life, is much cheaper to run and implement, avoids the need for permits and the cost of charging residents and the substantial traditional scheme administration costs. Importantly, the freedom for Residents to park adjacent to their homes and charge up their new cars remains.
 
hand held ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) unit for parking control Hand held ANPR units currently hold 5 millilon number plates, when a local vehicle number match is found an audible warning tone is sounded and an appropriate message displayed on screen. When the unit is returned to it's cradle for recharging all it's data can be transfered and updated automatically with the office PC. It can also recognise known non local vehicles and store images of offending vehicles.
 
For more on LVZ's  click here 
 
Could it be Cardiff's disinterest in LVZ's is that it would not enable them to raise stealth tax revenue or is it just ignorance ? having spent a reported 500,000 on parking consultants it should not be ignorance, but then the Consultants did apparently admit to not carrying out any proper survey of the area and had no real idea of the actual parking issues, the local evidence they produced was found to be based on at least some false (or fabricated) information.
 
There is apparently no information indicating that Cardiff Council has attempted to obtain a refund or compensation from the consultants employed for their poor or negligent work, why ? surely this is a primary duty to Tax Payers ?
 
It really is time for some joined up thinking and some sensible radical action. Sitting still is not an option if we want to avoid substantial decay in the quality of our lives and our area.
 
It seems the local authority can no longer be depended upon to work diligently and competently in the electorates best interest. Will it take dramatic change from top to bottom before quality returns ?
 
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