TRAFFIC AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS. Through out the civilized world the countryman is being irresistibly drawn towards the great cities, which spread outwards, ring by ring, over the open fields, while the ancient core of the city on which millions of workers now converge retains the shape imprinted on it in mediaeval times when a small compact area amply sufficed.
London.—Although the difficulties thus created are by no means restricted to Greater London, where the population had risen from 7+ millions in 1911 to 7i millions in 1925, yet it is probably within this area that the typical problems present themselves in the most aggravated form. In 1923 the registrar general published, for the first time, a report on the work-places of residents in London and the five home counties. The preface reminds us that in a less highly organized and industrialized society localities may be self-sufficient, every residential group being supplied with its needs by members of the same groups in their working capacity. Such conditions were due to the dis persion of necessary service and production, which in the absence of transport facilities had to be located in proximity to the popu lation served. The subsequent development of transport and com munications fostered a concentration which has changed the whole face of industry.
To gauge the magnitude of the traffic problem the following data may be of service. In 1912 a census was taken of vehicles of all classes passing 39 of the more congested points in London be tween the hours of 8 A.M. and 8 P.M. on a selected day. The total reached was 825,445 In 1927 a count taken at the same 39 points In 1927 a grand total of 3,646,000,00o was reached. The in crease in the volume of traffic is out of all proportion to the growth of population. A principal factor in the increase of con gestion on the streets is the growth and spread of the travel habit. It has been estimated that whereas in 190o every Londoner, man, woman and child, travelled 158 times a year, that figure had risen in 1925 to 46o. The burden thus thrown upon the trans port agencies is even greater than these figures would indicate, owing to the fact that the "peak" periods of the day are now more compressed.
Remedies.—The remedies for traffic congestion on the streets are easier to enumerate than to apply. First and foremost, all wanton obstruction should be removed ; fountains, clock-towers, refuges, obelisks, horse-troughs and such like structures erected in the leisurely days of an earlier century must justify their existence in the light of changed circumstances. Street traders and stalls
must be relegated to side streets ; slow and heavy vehicles must be prohibited from using, during the busy hours of the day, cer tain routes in which rapid movement is indispensable ; the position of the great markets must be reconsidered in order that the streams of ponderous traffic to which they give rise may not choke all-important adjacent arteries. By extending railway sidings into markets, now served by road, much of the congestion on the latter might be relieved. The provision of adequate park ing places or stances will prevent the wasteful occupation of valuable space in busy thoroughfares by stationary vehicles. Within the London Traffic Area it is probable that upwards of eighty parking places will eventually be in use under regulations made by the Minister of Transport.
Parallel Routes.—A useful purpose may be served by the judicious sign-posting of parallel routes, so that inexperienced drivers may be induced to leave the overcrowded roads and make use of less familiar thoroughfares. A glance at the map of our great cities will show how many such alternatives are already available and how many more might be rendered feasible by the demolition of a few buildings which interrupt the continuity of a line of streets. In many instances greater advantage would accrue from the completion of an alternative route by the acqui sition of such obstructive buildings than from the customary widening at enormous cost of the principal thoroughfare by the demolition of one entire frontage. Two roads are better than one, seeing that an accident may at any time have the effect of closing a single thoroughfare, however wide. Unavoidable traffic stop pages due to road repairs can be shortened in many cases by the use of quick-setting cements and the introduction of pneumatic gave a total of an increase of 38%. The outstanding feature on the London streets is the motor-omnibus, of which in 1913 the number licensed was 3,664. In July 1927 the number of motor-omnibuses scheduled for regular operation in the Metro politan Police District was 4,709. In 1913 the passengers carried by omnibuses numbered 736,000,000; in 1924, 1,485,000,00o; while in 1926 a total of 1,700,000,00o was computed to have been reached. The important part played by the London County Council's tramways can be estimated from the statement that their tramcars carry more than i,000,000 passengeis during the six busiest hours of the day. On the Victoria Embankment 400 tramcars pass every hour.