Sunday, 22 February 2009

Cardiovascular networking

I often find myself travelling around the country. Although I try to travel by train, the very nature of my work means this is not always possible. Unfortunate as it is, I have become quite an expert on road numbers, motorways, their junctions and where they lead. Sad, really. Knowledge fitting for a pub quiz, I guess.

During my ten years in this country, I have definitely noticed an increase in the number of cars you see on the road. I never cease to be amazed that it all sort of ... works.
All these travellers - all going somewhere, heading home or away, to meetings, work or pleasure. I cannot help thinking what it would be like if they all had a sign on their cars, informing fellow travellers what they were up to. Like a giant, mobile Twitter community. "Nipping down to Tesco for a weekend shop." "Going to airport for my dream holiday"."Picking up granny for a family do". "Attending a conference in the City".

It would undoubtedly make the journeys more interesting, but it would probably not work. Road safety aspects, I guess. And - not much of privacy either, come to think of it. Plus - you wouldn't get a runaway white van advertising "Just robbed the local Natwest. Off to Bahamas." Would be handy for the Police, though! "Chasing bank robbers up the M1".

Our motorways are like a giant system of arteries, with A-roads being the smaller blood vessels and B-roads the capillaries. Sometimes, you will see blood clots clogging up the system, while the busy heart of it all - the M25 - is busy pumping away.

When I think about the number of roads we have in this country, how busy they are, how much pollution is being spewed out in the atmosphere every day, week, month and year - it becomes mindblowing. And this is just the UK. With all the other networks of roads around the globe, the car loving USA as well as the emerging economies wanting to have a bit of the same cake - it is not difficult to see that our planet needs help. Now.

Maybe the economic crisis in some strange, backwards way have done something good to the environment? Not for a minute do I suggest it is a positive thing that thousands of people have lost their job in the car manufacturing industry. That cannot be good for anybody.
But the downturn has also meant that the demand for big gas guzzlers have decreased, as people - who can still afford to have a car - change over to smaller engine sizes. And that has got to be a good thing for all of us.


  1. Ignoring the usual traffic hotspots in town, and I would say there are definitely fewer cars in the centre of town. Twice today I went all the way down Piccadilly with punters, something I'd NEVER normally do. More people leaving their cars at home 'cause of the credit crunch?? Don't know about that but it's one theory.....

  2. Pity that you haven´t inherited the very normal Wermlandic gene for carloving and carspotting, then your trips on the M5 would have been far more interesting