Increase the speed limit to 80mph or reduce it to zero?

Peter Thomson's picture

As we approach the publication date of the book (7th October in the UK) it is interesting to see how relevant it is in today's economic, social and political climate. For example, the idea of raising the speed limit inthe UK from 70 to 80 mph hit the headlines last week ahead of the Conservative Party Conference. At the conference the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond  said "We must ... consider the huge economic benefits that can be created by shortening journey times. Increasing the speed limit on motorways from 70 to 80 miles per hour for cars, light vans and motorcycles could provide hundreds of millions of pounds of benefits for the economy."

The logic here is that shorter journey times will result in less wasted time and hence more productivity. However, many of those journeys are unnecessary in the first place. Our suggestion is that we reduce the time to zero. As we say in the book "As the next generation joins the workforce they will be asking more searching questions about why we work the way we do. They will challenge the need to commute daily and consume the planet’s natural resources at the current unsustainable rate. They will be comfortable using videoconferences and video calls, instead of traveling to meetings. And they will be choosing their employers based on their green credentials."

If we want to improve the economy and the environment at the same time maybe government ministers should be reading the book! To save them the bother all they need to read is this: "Future work is one of those rare opportunities for all-round benefit. As we have shown through numerous examples in this book, it contributes positively to the bottom line while improving the lives of workers and helping to protect our fragile ecosystem. It is not an option for business any longer. It is a matter of staying competitive." It's not an option for countries either, if they want to stay competitive.

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