Roads (Traffic Lanes)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th May 1976.

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Photo of Mr Robert McCrindle Mr Robert McCrindle , Brentwood and Ongar 12:00 am, 26th May 1976

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has considered introducing fast traffic lanes for vehicles carrying three or more persons.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Marks Mr Kenneth Marks , Manchester, Gorton

Yes. Powers already exist for local authorities, or the Secretary of State in the case of trunk roads, to provide priority lanes for any specified types of traffic. In practice these are normally used as bus lanes.

Photo of Mr Robert McCrindle Mr Robert McCrindle , Brentwood and Ongar

Is the Minister aware of the experiment in the United States along the lines of my Question? Does he know that as a result of that experiment the number of commuters travelling one to a car has been substantially reduced, thereby reducing the density of commuter-time traffic and speeding it up? Will the Minister consider introducing a similar experiment on trunk roads in this country?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Marks Mr Kenneth Marks , Manchester, Gorton

The hon. Gentleman has chosen an appropriate date for his American idea. The situation is different in the United States where the experiment applies to urban motorways, which have as many as 17 lanes in which to segregate the traffic. The scheme is not carried out in city streets.

Photo of Mr George Cunningham Mr George Cunningham , Islington South and Finsbury

Does my hon. Friend agree that taxis are an intermediate form of public transport and should be regarded as part of the public transport system? Is his Department in close contact with the GLC about the proposed speedbus arrangements?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Marks Mr Kenneth Marks , Manchester, Gorton

We are having discussions about the speedbus. Taxis in London are easily recognisable but they are not always so in other towns. Oxford is carrying out an experiment with taxis which involves the word "Taxi" being prominently displayed on the vehicles. My Department certainly has no objection to that experiment.