Transport Congestion, Safety and Over-Population in London
A Debate on Transport Safety and the Increased Risk from Over-Population
The purpose of the presentation is to apply the concerns over environment and over-population; to transport-congestion and over-population. There is little point complaining, about the congestion on the London Underground, when we are doing little to address the one factor that is putting pressure on the capital's transport system. Namely, the increasing size of London, the UK and the world's population.
It is useful to use the idea of root cause analysis. Rather than building more railways to reduce transport congestion; there is an underlying problem which needs to be addressed. The root cause of the congestion and the safety problem is over-population.
The Underground system was built to cope with an increasing population. However, the problem now is that the Underground has to keep on closing to maintain safety. This suggests that the network is increasingly unable to cope with the number of passengers that use the railways. Overcrowding concerns are exacerbated with the fire at Oxford Circus station in August 2017.
The UK government has attempted to mitigate congestion with Cross Rail 1. There are also plans for a second cross rail. Arguably, these new railways could be followed by the need for a third and fourth London and south-east railway. But the available space for new railways, in and around the capital, is limited. Therefore, it is not credible that London’s growth can be supported indefinitely with future cross-rail plans. It should be recognised that there are environmental limits to growth.
It is helpful that some politicians are willing to acknowledge concerns with over-population. However, the problems from transport congestion, from over-population, remain to be solved. It would be a mistake to think that the concerns over population, identified in the 19th century, have been solved. Therefore, the work of Thomas Malthus remains relevant in the 21st century.