urtoca,r gDtroR Maurlce A. Smlth o.F.o. APORTa EDIToR Peter Garnier AgaraTANT EDtToFg Leonard A. Ayton, Ronald Barker MTDLAND EDITON EdWATd EVES ART EDrTon Howard Vyee

I9 JUNE I964

mANAOtN(l DaREOTOS H. N. Prlaulx m.A,e.

Pricing Traffic Tl CONOMISTS are blamed for suggesting that ft " considerable net benefits could accrue to the !/ rudqs if vehicle owners had to pay higher charges or taxes when they used congested roads than when they used uncongested ones. . . ." This thought lies behind the report, and it is no more than a report, for the Ministry of Transpon on Road Pricing pub- lished last week by H.M. Stationery Office (4516). As it has taken the panel and the printers since August, 1962, to produce it we will not uy to absorb and iudge it in a day or two. In fact, of its sort, it seerns to be a good report but one which can easily be misquoted or its points taken out of context. In essence it is an examination of costs versus savings and there is perhaps an air of apology about it for having to go into the subject at all-<' lYe do not, hotDeter, wish to giae the impression that pricing could by itsell pro- duce a cure lor congestionr" write the authors.

Three quotations which set the scene for the road pricing examination are-" Ot highly congested roads one person rnay cause inconoenience and delay to ,nury othets. . . ." " A usefri gviding principle is tlwt jour- neys should ltot be nade il they cre oalued at less thut the costs or losses they cause to other people." "- . . th" road user should pty a sum equal to the costs he imposes on othet's." Some estimates for cenual London show that the coogestion costs imposed by a typical car on other vehicles rise from 4d a mile at uafrc speeds of 20 m.p.h. to 6s a mile at 8 m.p.h. The costs imposed by heavy vehicles are often two or three times higher. The repon goes on to examine motor- meters, colour zone schemes and the economics. These and other nutters are discussed further on pge 1212.

Talk of complicated systems of graded congestion zones, purpler grfftr, pink" brown and blue, in cities or of sealed time devices-metal boxes 4x3x3in.-which all drivers wouid have to obtain at intervals from post offices-is nightrnareish. As a Frenchman has remarked : " Drivers in my country would start a revolution for lesg."

Up and Over YOU MAY REMEMBER that a few years aeo rhousands of cars sprouted-almost oveniight-i plastic device on the radiator or bonnet. It was a sheet perhaps 9 by 3in. with an elegam bend along ,irs ehoner, vertical axis. The purpose was to deflect insects and spray from the windscreen; by the time all the wide-

boys and show-offs had worked on the idea it becarne an ugly and rather useless "bonr-tie" on the front of the car, and a profit in some people's pockets, Some months later, almost overnight again, these " decorations " folded and silently stole away like so many Arabs.

Mud-and-fly-spotted windscreens are a great nuisance and a mild danger, and so long as wipers, with washers, arc only across portions of the screen they will remain so. The strip deflectors carried on the noses of some competition cars are very effective at a high speed in guiding the air strqam, and its contents, over the screen. But we have noticed, too, that some of these cars, with curving snouts, appear to have no need of a proiecting deflector to throw most of the di{t a,bove the screen.

We wonder now whether some basic research could not be uldertaken-in the MIRA wind tunnel perhaps -to determine what nose shapes would be besf for iir stre:un deflection at cruising and higher speeds. In addition, we wonder if air could not be collected at the nose of the car and ducted to a slit aloog the base of the screen, there to emerge under pressure as a protec- tive "boundary layer" over dte screen.


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