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Today’s AS microeconomic teaching topic was the externalities of traffic congestion and a discussion of the policy options available to reduce the problems created by congested road and rail networks. This BBC West Midlands news-video clip from Jan 2008 was useful in introducing some of the options. Here are some other BBC news clips on the topic which might be helpful in generating discussion.

I love some of the ideas that students come up with in these kinds of discussion. One student managed to argue quite persuasively that deliberately worsening traffic management systems and creating gridlock would - ultimately - reduce our dependence on the car as people gave up! I like the first BBC av clip listed below (a special Newsnight feature) which asks whether we should get rid of traffic lights at most of the 14,000+ junctions which use lights as a means of control. It raises interesting questions about the psychology of driver behaviour and how we become conditioned to the rules of the road - getting rid of traffic signals would not necessarily lead to the anarchy on the road that many might forecast.

Suggested clips

Call to abolish traffic lights (Newsnight - Jan 2008)

The Dancing US Cop (Great !!)

Car sharing encouraged - September 2007

Cambridge plans £5 congestion charge (July 2007)

Improved traffic management for users of the M62 (Feb 2007)

Road pricing plans backed (May 2007)

Homeworkers cut out traffic (Jan 2008)

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