The Anonymous Widower

A Solution To Hospital Car Parking Charges

If I need to go to my preferred hospital of University College Hospital, I walk round the corner from my house and get a number 30 bus, which stops outside the hospital.

If I want to go to the Royal London Hospital, I take the Overground four stops to Whitechapel.

I live in Dalston, which is reasonably close to Central London and I chose to live here, as I don’t drive.

Some other cities have good hospital access on public transport.

  • Addenbroke’s Hospital in Cambridge has a fast guided busy to the City Centre and the North of the City. It also has it’s own bus station and may even get a railway station.
  • The Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham has a tram stop with direct step-free access to the hospital. The tram system also has seven large Park-and-Ride sites.
  • James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough has its own railway station.

But how many hospitals and that includes many new ones have terrible public transport links?

Consider two elderly sisters; Elsie and Doris, perhaps living on opposite sides of the country.

Suppose one sister has a bad fall and ends up in the local hospital.

  • The train system in the UK is improving and I’ve regularly met fellow train passengers well into their eighties travelling for four or five hours by train, to visit friends and relatives or have a holiday.
  • Crossing London can be a problem for some, but my London-savvy eighty-five year old friend does it regularly.

It’s just the last link to the hospital, that can be a problem.

Norwich And Norfolk Hospital

The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is a large teaching hospital, that was built in 2001 on the Western outskirts of the City.

It replaced a City Centre hospital.

There is a bus from the station, but finding details of the schedule is difficult, as the bus company’s web site, is more about selling you deals, that telling you how often the buses run.

I suppose the only way to find out is to go to Norwich station and do some bus spotting.

This Google Map shows the location of the hospital close to the University of East Anglia and the world-famous John Innes Institute.

I’ve only ever been to the area by car and I do wonder what students without transport think about getting to the University of East Anglia.

It certainly, isn’t the sort of place, I’d have wanted to go to University. During our time at Liverpool, C and myself were always popping down Brownlow Hill to the City Centre.

In somewhere like Germany or Switzerland, there would be a tram from the train station.

A London Example Of Improvement

If I wanted to go to Barnet Hospital, I would take the Underground to High Barnet station and then get a bus. But the Underground and bus interchange at High Barnet is not easy, especially on a wet day.

But it does appear that there is a better route, which involves catching a 384 bus from Cockfosters station.

  • The bus provides a feeder service direct to the hospital.
  • Cockfosters station will be step-free in a few years.
  • The bus stops at both Barnet Hospital and the A & E unit.

It’s certainly a lot better than when I lived in the area as a child.

Why Can’t All Hospitals Have Decent Public Transport?

Hospitals are important to so many people and although not every hospital can have a transport network as good as Addenbrooke’s, the Queen’s Medial Centre or University College Hospital, getting to some hospitals is a major logistics nightmare.

  • Hospitals serving a large rural area, must be at the heart of the bus network.
  • There should be a frequent bus or tram service to the city or town centre and the main railway station.
  • There should be much better information.
  • Hospitals could follow Nottingham’s and Cambridge’s .examples, where the hospital is on the city’s Park-and-Ride network.

How many hospitals in the UK meet this standard?

Conclusion

I believe that if decent public transport is provided to a hospital, that many patients, staff and visitors will use it, as they seem to do in Cambridge, London and Nottingham.

  • In some places there is no easy way to get to the hospital and driving is the only way.
  • Car parking is expensive to provide.
  • Some hospitals have no space for car parking to be increased or added.
  • How many are late for their appointments because the parking is full or they can’t find a space?
  • Making car parking free will only make the problem worse, as everybody will drive.

Perhaps we should rate hospitals on the quality of the public transport, just as they are rated on care.

 

November 24, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport | , | 2 Comments

Fire Up The Quattro: My Other Car Is An Energy Supplier

An article with this title is on Page 3 of the Business Section in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Car companies could be encouraged to become electricity suppliers under an overhaul of the energy market being explored by the government and the regulator.

This is an excellent idea.

These are a few of my ideas.

All-In-One Deals

It would open up the scope for all-in-one deals for the purchase of electric cars.

The cost of the car, servicing and electricity would all be included.

A cost per mile could be guaranteed, which might rise with distance.

Most importantly, he car company would handle all the hassle and give the customers appropriate training.

It Could Be A Range Anxiety Solution

Some articles in the media, are saying that range anxiety is holding back sales of electric cars, as no-one wants to get stuck in remote locations with flat batteries.

Up market brands already have their own rescue service and I can envisage a network of electric trucks, which can rescue stranded vehicles, by giving them sufficient charge to get to the nearest charger.

These trucks could even be in a common fleet with video screens informing everybody they were a particular car company’s Electric Vehicle Rescue Truck. So when rescuing an Audi, they would say Audi’s El;ectric Vehicle Rescue Truck.

If a prospective punter, saw a rescue truck, with their favourite make on the side, it might persuade them to pop in to a showroom.

Free Or Reduced Cost Parking In Electric-Only Car Parks

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I outlined how a massive car park like this could hold electric cars with a total battery capacity of 1.35 GWh.

This storage capacity could be used to store surplus energy, whilst cars were parked.

I can see a consortium being put together to provide electric-only car parks.

  • National Grid to provide and distribute the electricity.
  • The car companies to provide the customers.
  • Airports and rail stations, local authorities to provide the land.

But not all car parks would be large!

I can imagine new housing developments bringing in an electric vehicle-only rule.

I wouldn’t mind living in one of that type of development.

There would be various charges in these  electricvehicle-only car parks.

  • An hourly or contract charge for the actual parking.
  • A charge for the electricity used to charge the vehicle.

There would also be a payment from Nation Grid based on the amount of energy stored in the vehicle’s battery.

Billing would be automatic, based on when you were connected to the charger and the various energy flows.

\suppose you were flying away from Heathrow for a week, Nation Grid would have use of your vehicle’s battery to store electricity for seven days.

The car companies would be in a unique position to enable this deal.

  • They have the customers.
  • They can make their cars compatible with the car parks.
  • They can handle the complex billing, as part of an All-In-One deal.
  • \drivers would probably prefer to deal with BMW, Jaguar etc., than an energy company.

I would expect this model of car-parking to multiply.

  • Many drivers would only use public transport on pain of death, so buying an electric car is the lesser of two evils.
  • It would cut emissions in the centre of towns and cities.
  • It would appeal to High Streets and Town Centres, as it could attract shoppers and visitors.
  • For those with home chargers, it must surely reduce range anxiety

The only disadvantage, is that it might increase the use of cars for short journeys and increase traffic congestion.

But at least the extra vehicles would be non-polluting electric ones.

Conclusion

Used creatively, the proposal of allowing car companies to be energy suppliers, would appear to have possibilities.

 

 

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September 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – Park-and-Ride Expansion At Rotherham Parkgate

This is a short-term objective and is probably sensible, as I know in the past that parking in Sheffield wasn’t easy and parking never gets better.

This Google Map shows the large Rotherham Parkgate Shopping Centre

Note the railway running around the South of the sight.

There is a blue dot , which is the position of the Rotherham Parkgate station, that is used by the tram-train.

To the North-East and the South of the Shopping Centre, there appears to be a lot of spare land.

Will these be spaces be more shops of car-parking?

The Tram-Train Frequency

Currently, the tram-train frequency between Cathedral and Rotherham Parkway is a tram-train every twenty minutes.

 

As the tram-train route could be extended from Rotherham Parkgate, more capacity will probably be neeeded.

Will this go to one tram-train every fifteen minutes, to increase capacity?

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars

The title of this post, is the same as that of an asricle in Wednesday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The biggest car parks in the world will be built as part of a £14 billion expansion of Heathrow amid fresh claims that the scheme will be an “environmental disaster”.

Parking for almost 53,000 vehicles will be built as part of a 30-year masterplan, even though the airport insists that expansion can be achieved without any extra cars on the road.

This sounds to be contradictory, as why would you need to build extra car parking, if there were no more extra cars on the road?

Perhaps there is a clue later in the article, where this is is a paragraph.

Heathrow said that the overall number of parking spaces would “not change materially from today”, insisting that spaces were simply being consolidated on bigger sites. It pointed out that car parks would allow for 100 per cent electric vehicle usage in the future. In total, the number of parking spaces, including those for staff and spaces at nearby offices, will grow from 64,000 today to 67,000.

Admittedly, it only says allow, but Heathrow are future-proofing themselves for the day when everyone is driving electric cars.

Heathrow and others are also planning to do the following.

  • Charge a congestion charge of up to £15 a day will be imposed by 2026 to dissuade passengers from travelling to the airport by car.
  • A “green loop” — a 12-mile pedestrian and cycle network — will also circle the airport.
  • Finish Crossrail.
  • Improve Heathrow Express.
  • There will be a rail link to Reading.
  • There will be a second rail link to Waterloo via Clapham Junction.
  • There will be a rail link to Basingstoke, Guildford and Woking, possibly by extending Heathrow Express.

Will these measures nudge travellers in one of two positive directions?

  • Using public transport to get to the Airport.
  • Cycling or working to the airport.
  • Using an electric car to get to and from the Airport.

I am a Control Engineer, who spent a working life of nearly fifty years analysing data and doing mathematical calculations, hopefully to improve little bits of the world.

So What Would I Do?

It is absolutely essential that it is known, where all the vehicles to the airport are travelling to and from.

No-one is going to get out of their car, if there is no creditable alternative

The ultimate aim must be that, all transport within a certain distance of the Airport must be zero carbon.

  • All vehicles used by travellers and workers to get to and from the Airport.
  • All vehicles bringing supplies to the Airport.
  • All airside vehicles.

What will happen to those that lived in the zone?

This Google Map shows Hanwell Village to the South-West of the Airport.

Will all those residents pay the congestion charge?

But suppose Heathrow could get ninety percent of all cars travelling to  the Airport and using the car parks, to be electric vehicles.

This would be 45,000 vehicles, each with a battery of between 30-60 kWh. Let’s call it, 30 kWh.

This would mean that the total of energy storage on a typical day at the Airport would be 1.35 GWh.

Compare that to the 9.1 GWh capacity of Electric Mountain.

Electric Mountain would be bigger, but intelligent control of the batteries of these electric cars could create a massive electricity storage resource at the Airport.

  • Cars would be connected to a two-way charger, when the driver went about their business at the Airport, after telling the car when they would return.
  • On return to the car, it would have enough charge for the next journey.
  • The driver would also have an app on their phone, so they could alter their return times.
  • Whilst the driver was away, the grid would borrow electricity as required.

All the technology exists and National Grid are looking at ways to use electric car batteries for energy storage.

The grid might even pay for the use of your battery.

I suspect that all car parks for electric cars will work using something like this model.

Note the following calculation.

In December 2018, there were 31.5 million cars and four million light goods vehicles in the UK.

In a few years time, suppose half of these vehicles are electric with a 20 KWh battery.

That works out at an astronomical 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

  • Electric Mountain cost £425 million in 1984.
  • Applying a web inflation calculator means it would cost around £1350 million today.
  • So forty Electric Mountains would cost £54 billion.

That is a lot of money and we have no place to put them.

But we have this massive storage capability in the millions of electric vehicles, that will be on the roads in a few years.

Conclusion

All future large car parks must be built to be large storage batteries, when drivers plug in their electric cars.

If you were to be paid for the use of your car’s battery, would that ease the exense of owning an electric car?

 

 

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Heathrow Plans Runway Over M25 In 30-Year Expansion

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in Saturday’s copy of The Times.

This picture, which I downloaded from this page on the Heathrow web site, shows the proposed expansion.

For comparison this Google Map shows the Airport recently.

These are some of my thoughts.

The Position Of The Third Runway

As can be seen, the new third runway is to the North-West of the North Runway.

  • It will extend all the way to the M25.
  • The M25 will be lowered and the new runway and two parallel taxiways will cross the road on a series of bridges.

This enlargement from the first image shows the crossing of the M25 and two other roads.

Note.

  1. The runway is on the left, which increases the spacing with the North Runway
  2. How openings between the runway and the taxiways will allow natural light onto the motorway.
  3. In the picture you can see five angled taxiways joining the runway from the two taxiways. Does this design mean that aircraft spend a minimum of time queuing for take-off? Similar but not so extreme layouts can also be seen on the two existing runways.

What intrigues me, is what looks to be a hole in front of the ends of the taxiways.

Could it be rail or road access to the airport?

This map from Network Rail shows the route of the proposed Western Rail Approach To Heathrow.

It looks like the dark holes could be the railway, between Langley and Terminal 5.

This section of the rail link is supposed to be in tunnel, but I wonder if costs could be saved if it is in a buttressed cutting, designed in cooperation between Heathrow and Network Rail.

Obviously, it will need to be in tunnel to cross under the M25.

I think that rather cleverly, the runway has been slotted in with the best use of the limited land available.

A Phased Construction Program

The Times says this about the construction program.

Only the runway would be built by the opening date of early 2026.

Other facilities such as new terminals, car parks, hotels and transit systems would open from 2030, with an expansion of Terminal 5 the priority

This means that the extra runway capacity can be used initially to better accommodate the same number of flights.

If Heathrow get it right passengers. should see the following.

  • They would suffer less from construction.
  • Fewer taxi delays on the ground.
  • Less long fuel-burning taxiing between gate and runway.
  • More flights leaving on time.

It might also enable air traffic controllers to allocate aircraft noise in a fairer manner.

Car Psrking

Two huge new car parks are to be built North and South of the Airport, which in conjunction with new hotels would be connected to the terminals by an underground transit system.

This article on International Airport Review is entitled Heathrow To Launch First Airport Ultra Low Emission Zone.

So doesn’t the building of large car parks contradict this policy.

It would unless, the car parks are designed for the future.

  • Electric cars only.
  • Intelligent chargers for every parking space.
  • Whilst the cars are parked and connected, they would be a massive energy storage battery for the National Grid.

When you arrived back to your car after a week in Greece, there would be enough power in the battery for your next journey.

By 2030, there will be a substantial need for parking for electric cars at railway stations and airports. Parking solutions like this will help reduce the carbon footprint of airports.

Conclusion

2030 is ten years away and Heathrow will have to work hard to build an airport fit for those times.

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turn Off Engine Or Face Parking Ban, Coach Drivers Told

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on page 12 of today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Tourist coaches face being banned from parking in central London because of concerns that they pumping out toxic fumes as drivers leave engines idling.

Apparently, Westminster Council are thinking of reducing parking for coaches, if the practice continues.

Interestingly, this evening, I walked past two coaches parked close to Kings Cross station with their engines running.

 

 

 

June 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Saddle Up Says Bank, As It Slashes Staff Parking

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article on Page 12 of today’s Sunday Times.

This is the precis.

HSBC is swapping spaces for bike racks to persuade workers to drive less, and to discover why Britons refuse to pedal.

It’s an interesting position to take.

And I agree with it! Especially, if offices have good public transport connections.

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

How Many Welshmen And Welshwomen Can You Fit In A Million Pound Park-And-Ride?

This article on Insider Media, which is entitled Work On £1m Park-And-Ride Site Completes.

The Park-and-Ride facility is at Abercynon station, which is the station, where the Merthyr Line splits into two branches to Metryr Tydfil and Aberdate stations.

  • The facility has 310 parking spaces.
  • It has been built in six months after a November start.
  • Bus access will be provided at the original car park.
  • I hope they’ve increased cycle capacity for the Geraint Thomas effect.

My only worry is that with eight trains per hour to start between Abercynon and Cardiff in 2023, will the facility be big enough?

Economics

This is obviously and a much-needed scheme and each parking space has cost around £3,000. If on 250 working days, each generate around five pounds in revenue, that must mean that the car park should be viable.

Conclusion

If this Park-and-Ride facility has been built so quickly and should be viable, why is it that so few similar parking schemes are proposed for railway stations?

Especially, where at Abercynon station, there will be a massive improvement in capacity and quality of the train service.

  • A doubling of frequency
  • Faster, electric tram-trains.
  • Trains that can hold more passengers.

How many other stations are getting this improvement?

as to finance, I think this could be the sort of investment, infrastructure funds, run by the like of L & G and Aviva will be looking at..

  • Not a large investment.
  • Could be constructed to n efficient design.
  • Guaranteed return.

But in the future, when electric vehicles make up say half of all those on the road, it could become a large energy supply and storage facility.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parking Fees Rise At Many Hospitals In 2017-18, Analysis Finds

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first paragraph.

Four in 10 NHS hospitals in England have increased car parking prices in the last year, new data suggests.

I don’t drive, so it doesn’t effect me and the only hospitals I’ve visited in the last few years; Addenbrooke’s, Homerton, Royal London and University College have been easily accessible by public transport.

The real scandal is that so many hospitals are not easily accessible using fully-accessible public transport.

  • Addenbrooke’s has a large bus interchange, which has connections to Cambridge City Centre and at least one of the City’s large Park-and-Ride sites.
  • Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre has a tram connection to the large Park-and-Ride sites.

But I can think of several hospitals, where the only public transport is an expensive taxi.

I also remember a hospital administrator in London telling me, that the largest number of complaints they received was about car parking.

 

December 28, 2018 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Eastern Central Line Stations To Be Made Step-Free

Five stations at the Eastern End of the Central Line are to be made step-free.

These pictures show the various stations. on the 22nd January 2018.

Buckhurst Hill

Work is already underway to reopen an old subway at the Southern end of the station. A completion date of Summer 2018 is displayed.

Will lifts be added to this subway?

Debden

No work has started yet! Will the current bridge be replaced?

Newbury Park

Work has started. A completion date of Summer 2018 is displayed.

Snaresbrook

No work has started yet! Will the current bridge be replaced?

South Woodford

No work has started yet!

Summary

These stations were built by the Great Eastern Railway in the nineteenth century, with the exception of Newbury Park, which was built for the Central Line after the Second World War.

The Great Eastern stations show their heritage with good brickwork, period features and a good selection of wrought iron bridges.

Newbury Park station is Grade II Listed because of the hideous concrete bus station.

What Are Transport for London’s Plans?

Transport for London have stated that their aim is to eventually have all Underground stations with full step-free access.

There are twenty station East of Stratford station on the Central Line.

Currently, four have some degree of step-free access, so these five added stations would bring the step-free stations to forty-five percent.

Could all this work, be due to the fact, that when Crossrail opens, the Eastern section of the Central Line will effectively become a branch of London’s new line? The two lines will have a step-free cross-platform interchange at Stratford.

Will this give a marketing advantage, as there will now be a totally step-free route from a lot of Eastern Central Line stations to the West End, Paddington andHeathrow?

Could car parking be a factor?

  • Only Debden and Newbury Park stations, of those being made step-free have car parks with over a hundred spaces.
  • Disabled spaces are generally less than ten.
  • Of the other step-free stations in the area, only Epping has a large car park.

It is probably more affordable to add step-free access to stations, than provide disabled parking spaces, closer into London.

Onward To Ongar

Currently, there are no plans to extend the Central Line to Ongar.

But I do wonder, if this could be reconsidered in the future.

  • The roads will get more congested.
  • More housing is built in this part of Essex.
  • Crossrail will probably attack passengers to use the Central Line.
  • The Central Line’s new trains in a few years will cut journey times and add capacity.

What will probsbly decide the matter is overcrowding at Epping station.

 

 

 

 

January 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments