Malcolm Buchanan – Traffic in Historic Towns
Malcolm showed how the car has dominated the pattern of urban growth and development sometimes resulting in neighbouring towns merging into one. He also drove home the point that the car is by far the major contributor to the increase in CO2 emissions and resulting climate change.
Directing the talk to historic towns, he talked about approaches ranging from car park pricing and tolls, to Park and Ride and alternative modes of quality public transport. One solution cited was Durham, where payment is required to activate a retractable bollard to exit the town centre. This simple solution has had the very positive effect of decreasing traffic in the town centre by half. It has also made the town centre a more welcoming place and despite initial opposition from retailers, shopping turnover increased dramatically. Similar increases in retail activity have been experienced whenever full or even partial pedestrianisation has been implemented. He also stressed the necessity for control over when delivery vehicles have access to town centres.