Birmingham City Council's A47 'Car Share' Lane Duplicity Exposed
Journey times will be monitored during the twelve month trial period of the A47 'car share' lane to assess whether it has been successful or not.
However, it may have gone unnoticed that a few peripheral actions have taken place in conjunction with the imposition of the lane.
1) The central reservations were cleared of all bushes and grassed flat on the approach to roundabouts. This was previously a big hindrance and slowed traffic flow due to poor visibility (virtually zero at times forcing swan-necking) but has probably been done to get the average speed of the now slow moving single lane back up.
2) It seems that the traffic light phasing at the Bromford Lane A4040 roundabout (passing under the M6) has been changed. Probably to a phasing that will again assist traffic flow and artificially increase the average traffic speeds.
These measures could have been implemented without the imposition of a car share lane.
Furthermore, Birmingham City Council is not replicating the best practice examples when it comes to running a car share scheme. Rather than promote a service that would enable all individuals to find travel companions, such as the free site www.birminghamcarshare.com, they are trying to promote a system that only works if you happen to work at one of 5 local employers. There are 3 similar car share lanes already operating in the UK and each one of them promotes a website service that works for individuals as well as companies — www.liftshare.com
. The site is supported by over 300 local authorities in the UK and has over 200,000 members - questions should be asked as to why Birmingham City Council does not also promote this service.
ABD Local Co-ordinator for Birmingham, Paul Biggs said:
"The ABD supports car sharing, but doesn't support discrimination against drivers who are unable or unwilling to car share. I am puzzled by the fact that Birmingham City Council are not prepared to invest in a car sharing scheme that would be available to everyone. Instead they prefer to indulge in making subtle tweaks to the A47 traffic flow in order to help them proclaim that the car share lane a 'success' in 12 months time."