Is it me, or is the traffic in the UK the worst it's ever been? Is it actually now so bad as to be a genuine problem?
Now I live in London, I don't own a car. In central london we have the Congestion Charge, which does seem to have discouraged a lot of people from driving in London. When the weather's good, I cycle to work, so get in the traffic, and off the tube.
Over the weekend, I hired a car and drove to Manchester and back. Getting up there on saturday was pretty okay. Getting out of London was the usual hassle, but once on the M4, all was reasonable enough. Even the M5/M6 area was relatively trouble free. It took me about four hours or so.
Getting home on Sunday afternoon was another matter. Where previously there has been a bit of a slowdown through roadworks and the like, there were long queues. All down to the M5 from Stafford was just one big queue (there were even queues getting into Hilton Park services!). Getting home took me about 6 hours.
Surely, this has got to be a problem for the country. I mean, six hours to do 200 miles is ridiculous! I see there's going to be a tolled section of the M6, which I think goes south of Brum to London. I'd imagine a second M6 going North might be a better idea. Making people drive better might use the motorways more efficiently, and is cheaper, and lower environmental cost than the alternatives.
Of course, better still would be to sort the trains. I have to say, if you're not carrying too much stuff, the train is far better than driving (provided the trains are "normal", which of course they never are at the times you want to travel).