Britain is a predominantly urban society; nearly 80 per cent of the population live in urban areas with over 30 per cent living in the major conurbations of Greater London, West Midlands, S.E. Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Tyneside and Clydeside. Nearly 40 per cent of jobs are located in these conurbations. Not surprisingly these concentrations of population and economic activity give rise to numerous problems of traffic congestion. Delays and frustrations of traffic jams, infrequent and unpredictable bus services, overcrowded trains, traffic noise, air pollution and accident risks are all common features of urban life. To understand why this should be, let us look rather more closely at the phenomenon of ‘congestion’.
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