High Speed 2
I have just one simple response to High Speed 2 (HS2). Why do we need to invest a lot of money, many billions, in further facilitating long distance national travel? This seems like a bad idea. We would be better served by re-engineering the country and economy to reduce our need and indeed our desire for long distance travel.
We’d do well to focus on the Proximity Principle as described by Dr David Fleming in Lean Logic. The principle states that the need for transport is reduced by using space more intelligently, producing goods and services – especially food – where they are needed, rather than having to transport them over long distances. The objective is to build competence across the whole range of economics and culture, and to enable personal lives to be organised so that routine travel and transport are no longer a necessary condition for material needs, nor for leisure, friendships and work.
The HS2 proposal misses this entirely, it seems to be based on the single, dumb, assumption that there’ll be more travelling in the future. To what end? I and I expect most others don’t want to travel more. In fact what we’d all really like to do is to meet all our needs as, Fleming describes above, without having to spend good time, and good money travelling.
Sadly, HS2 is another case of treating the symptoms, not the disease. Something to which transport policy is particularly susceptible.
The unanswerable question at the heart of transport is the one asked by the farm labourer standing bemused one day in the mid-eighteenth century at the side of the Liverpool-Manchester turnpike, crowded with urgently-speeding coaches: “Who would ever have thought that there were so many people in the wrong place?”
From Lean Logic ~ David Fleming 1940-2010