Road-building myths busted

  • New roads are not damaging
  • Development will benefit all
  • Popular myths challenged
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Building roads will not harm the economy, or environment, according to new research.

The study carried out by the RAC Foundation, claims that opposition to building new roads is based on groundless myths.

The foundation says that opposition to new construction is built around propaganda rather than fact. Its myth-busting report has focused on dispelling what it believes to be the 11 most common myths:

1. New road capacity does NOT simply fill up with traffic. It creates benefits. New road capacity will generally reduce congestion and travel costs.

2. Building roads will NOT have a significant effect on climate change so long as wider policy measures are introduced alongside road development.

3. Traffic pollution is NOT getting worse. Technology has reduced traffic pollution significantly emissions from all major types of pollutant have reduced by one third since the 1970s.

4. Roads do NOT occupy large areas of land. Roads occupy less than 2% of the surface of Great Britain and most roads are local streets and lanes.

5. Roads ARE efficient users of space in comparison to the railways. Roads carry almost five times more passenger traffic than the railways and only take up 50% more land.

6. Britain is NOT unusual in relying on roads. Britain relies on roads to a similar extent to its European neighbours, but the UK has the lowest level of motorways and main roads relative to its population.

7. Building roads WILL benefit low-income groups as all income groups rely on roads for over 92% of their travel.

8. The construction industry CAN accommodate a substantial increase in road building.

9. Road traffic DOES pay its way. Road users pay 45 billion pounds a year in motoring related taxes, while running the road network takes little more than 10 billion every year.

10. Building new roads is NOT too costly. Road building is affordable if there are good economic reasons behind developing a route.

11. Public transport is NOT a ready alternative to the private car. Public transport currently accounts for 13% of all personal travel.