One thread running through every facet of the city of tomorrow is how we will get to the places we work, rest and play. Transport is already going through a period of fundamental reappraisal because of increasing environmental awareness, according to Malcolm Simpson of international consultants and engineers Ove Arup. But this is bedevilled by misconceptions, and the wealth of data can be used to prove virtually any point.

One inescapable fact is that car ownership will continue to increase unless something radical takes place. With fewer than 400 cars per head of population, the UK is still well behind other countries. One myth is that boosting rail transport will get lorries off the roads. But even a 50% rise would amount to only a few months' traffic growth.

The crucial question is whether it is POSSIBLE for private transport to continue growing. Density of vehicles on the roads is already more than twice that in France and the US. Even the government accepts there is no way that environmentally-acceptable roads will cope with demand. It is therefore inevitable that cars will be restricted in the city of tomorrow.

Working from home or local business centres will have some impact on the rush-hour, according to studies for the government by Horace Mitchell at Management Technology Associates. But management and road pricing are still waiting on the horizon.

Fewer roads will be built in the next century. Buses could be segregated even further from cars, giving them greater priority, while walking and cycling should also be encouraged with separate routes. Parking charges will rise as part of a movement towards road pricing. Examples of park- and-ride and electronic charging now being tested could be the norm by the next century.

All this will require greater political will, however. Governments have never given long-term commitment to public transport , says Mr Simpson. They will need to do so in future, drawing up national strategies for balancing private and public transport.

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