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Comment: Re:But is high speed rail a *good* public investme (Score 1) 418

by BasilBrush (#48409957) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Yes, it is. The current plans place a lot of emphasis on upgrading trunk roads managed by the Highways Agency to dual carriageway and grade separated junctions. If you're interested, there's a list of these projects on the Highways Agency web site.

There are hundreds of thousands of junctions in the UK. 10s of projects does not make any significant difference.

It's really the main trunk roads that we need to consider if we're comparing the efficiency of road transport with the rail network and potential high speed rail infrastructure.

I figured that's what you were doing. Yet local roads are significant. Few journeys start and end by a motorway or dual-carriageway. And people experience most of their hours sitting in congested traffic whilst commuting, most of which is on local roads.

We see this every time a motorway is congested, when the most efficient way to use the space is to have the traffic slowing down and moving uniformly, but there is always Lane Changing Guy who has to jump around cutting everyone up so he can get there five seconds sooner.

And what of the M4 bus lane scheme, where it was deemed that using fewer lanes for cars actually speeded up the cars journeys? Having a short 3 lane motorway section between a two lane motorway section and one end and and a major off-ramp at the other was inefficient, and slowed traffic. - The bus lane effectively just became a way of using the tarmac that had been set aside for car efficiency sake.

Jeremy Clarkson does one of his ill-educated rants on Top Gear, and the politicians become fearful of white-van man, and overturn the traffic experts scheme. Resulting in worse traffic congestion for all.

Comment: Re:But is high speed rail a *good* public investme (Score 1) 418

by BasilBrush (#48404991) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

yet the reality at least here in the UK is that many of the major road-building projects in recent years have been carried out precisely to simplify junctions or eliminate the need for some of them altogether

The ONLY way they can be avoided altogether is with flyovers/unders. And other than motorways, they are as rare as hens teeth. A miniscule fraction of a percent of junctions. And that's not changing.

Widening motorways doesn't create junctions, but it does pour ever more traffic onto the existing roundabouts that most motorway sliproads feed onto. With ever lengthening queues to get on and get off the motorways as a result.

You talk of projects to simplify junctions. And that's true. But equally more and more junctions with traffic lights or roundabouts are created. Every time theres a new housing estate, business park or supermarket built for starters. Plus wider busier roads mean more pelican crossings are created.

It is self-evident that if you build enough road then there will be enough space for a finite population of drivers and vehicles.

Common sense is commonly wrong. There is no finite population. The number of cars increases every year.


Nor is there an eventual limitation of the population figure, as the population rises every year too.

And you are thinking about it in the wrong way completely when you talk of "road space". The only thing space gives predictably you is car parks. The road system is a mostly 2D network. And as such it's limited by it's nodes. The bottlenecks are the junctions.

Comment: Re:$62,000 per person, $156,000 per family (Score 1) 418

by BasilBrush (#48398567) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

The reason it helps your mortgage is because you're actually paying the thing off.

Not true. If you get an interest only mortgage for 200,000, then in 25 years, you'll still owe 200,000. But because of inflation, that 200,000 will be worth much less, and it would be far easier to pay it off, as your income will be much higher.

Of course in practice interest only mortages are paid off with investments, but the far that interest has shrunk it remains.

Public debt over 100 years would have the same inflationary reduction effect * 8.

For sure, inflation has the other effects you mention. And that's the reason public debt has to be managed. I was just correcting the common misunderstanding that it needs to be paid off.

Comment: Re:how much does that cost to build? (Score 1) 418

by BasilBrush (#48394465) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

So there's different answers for different locales. London for example could not work without trains. It was the trains that were the catalyst for it to grow so big and for the housing to be made in the suburbs.

Likewise with Japan - it has a relatively small and long/thin main island, which is heavily populated. Universal car ownership won't work. But having trains running up and down the country and in and out of the cities works perfectly.

Comment: Re:But is high speed rail a *good* public investme (Score 1) 418

by BasilBrush (#48394439) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

The UK roads are becoming increasingly congested, and that can't be cured by building more roads. The CPO and quality of life issues you've raised for rail also apply to roads. But there's also the issue that building more roads means more junctions. And junctions cause yet more congestion. It's not feasible to avoid more than a tiny number of junctions by making flyovers.

That's why it makes sense to invest in rail. Because every 1.x passenger means one fewer car on the road. It's very debatable whether HS2 is the best investment to make in rail. But the principle of investing in rail is not wrong.

Comment: Re:$62,000 per person, $156,000 per family (Score 2) 418

by BasilBrush (#48394419) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

If there are 3 people in your family, that's $30,000 per year your family will have to pay back sooner or later.

Classic mistake of thinking public debt is the same as private debt. You have to pay off private debt, because one day you will die. Public debt doesn't have to be paid off in a AAA economy, because they can outlive all the people.

Public debt only needs to service interest. It does not "need to be paid off sooner or later".

Meanwhile inflation shrinks the debt just as it does with a mortgage.

Comment: Re: It's all about the haters (Score 1) 177

by BasilBrush (#48386819) Attached to: Android 5.0 'Lollipop' vs. iOS 8: More Similar Than Ever

Or maybe they don't want to pay a 50% markup for the Apple logo.

You know what a logo is? Same as a brand - it's a promise of quality. For good or bad. If a product can demand a 50% mark up because of a given logo, it's because the logo has built up a significant level of trust in the high quality of the product, either directly or by word of mouth.

Most logos can't demand any markup whatsoever, because they have not built up a good reputation.

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