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High time to abandon the spurious case for a high-speed railway

Rail demand might increase substantially further, or it might not. If it does, there are many strategies more flexible, and orders of magnitude cheaper, than a new high-speed line.

The tyranny of the minority in the age of technology

Most people have little time or energy to devote to politics, which enables small groups with a strong commercial, personal or ideological motivation to exert disproportionate influence.

London’s rise from sewer to spectacle

The salient fact is that London could never have become a great business and financial capital if its residents felt an urge to vomit every time they went outdoors.

London’s new airport held to ransom by folly

Prevarication and political posturing, the persistent incrementalism when bold actions are required and the readiness to oppose policies simply because they have been espoused by somebody else, are as characteristic of policy today as they have been for the past 50 years.

Why do we need to pay billions of pounds for big projects?

The argument that we need the best and latest is powerful in political decision making, even among people who would never behave that way in their everyday lives.

Policy Exchange Event

On the 27th March, John spoke at an event hosted by Policy Exchange on the issues of obliquity, long-term decision making and the limitations of knowledge in relation to energy and transport policy. Watch it here.

Why the Pembury road matters more than the Olympics

This month’s budget in Britain will provoke yet another round of debate on austerity versus stimulus. But the issue of how we spend what we have is more important than the issue of what we spend.

Why trams belong in museums and not on city streets

Trams were phased out because they were inferior to buses as a means of public transport. They still are.

High-speed vanity projects unfit for an austere age

At a time when public expenditure cuts are focused excessively on capital expenditure, we are in danger of directing too much investment to vanity projects – like the Olympics, high-speed broadband, high-speed rail – whose returns are political excitement rather than tangible.