Former Transport Minister urges embracing of technology | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Former Transport Minister urges embracing of technology

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The former Transport Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman has urged the highways industry to ignore what he calls “spurious” reasons to believe the Internet of Things is a bad thing.

Writing in the forthcoming Smart Highways, Dr Ladyman – who’s now an ambassador for Clearview Intelligence, writes, “I spent 13 years in Parliament listening to MPs think of reasons not to exploit the product of brilliant minds.”

Giving examples of what he came across, he says, “Let’s not use genetic modification to feed the starving, say the Luddites, even though they offer not a scrap of evidence to suggest it cannot be used safely with the right precautions. Nor should we use nuclear power to produce clean electricity or to generate hydrogen to use as a vehicle fuel, even though I am certain that carbon burning is causing climate change and the UN estimates 1.3million people die each year from traffic fumes. And when they absolutely cannot provide a scrap of evidence to suggest that some new advance is harmful they say ‘we must follow the precautionary principle’ to justify blocking progress!”

The magazine has some articles on road user charging and Dr Ladyman believes it is long overdue but has been halted by unfounded fears, “We could have made real strides by now towards road charging to manage demand for road capacity at rush hours if, as a society, we were more open to new ways of doing things. By shifting from tax on fuel to a charge for using the road which varies according to how busy the road is, we could have incentivised travel outside rush hours. Instead people who have no choice but to travel at a particular time have to sit in increasingly long traffic jams alongside people who could have left the office an hour earlier or later but have not been given an incentive to do so.”

You’ll be able to read all his thoughts, plus those of another former Minister about road user charging, Steve Norris, in the next Smart Highways which will be distributed to subscribers ahead of Traffex and available at the event.


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