BusinessCar Office Blog: 13 January - Appropriate language
12 January 2009
The BusinessCar Office
I've been nosing through the Intelligent Speed Adaptation report and getting quite angry. Some of the deceptive wording betrays the group's far from objective attitudes.
ISA would, in its most advanced form, control the speed of every car on the road through a map of speed limits that the system plots a car's location by, controlling the car's speed and blocking it from breaking the limit programmed into the system. There are a whole host of logical, social and safety reasons why this makes me shudder, but almost as disturbing was the underlying attitude conveyed by the report.
The Committee for Integrated Transport, the Government advisory group behind the report, published a hefty set of conclusions including statements regarding the environmental impact of a potential speed-limiting scheme. It actually admits that speed control would have minimal impact on roads with a limit of 60mph or lower, but claims a "substantial" 5.8% emissions reduction on 70mph roads, with a confessed 0.7% uncertainty in either direction. But when it comes to urban areas, there's a subtle but determinable change in language.
Given the amount of time cars spend in towns, compared to that they spend exceeding a 70mph limit, the CfIT decides that 3% increases in fuel consumption and emissions are a "small detrimental effect".
A 3% increase in heavily populated areas versus is a "small detrimental effect" while a 5.8% decrease among cars travelling at over 70mph is "substantial". The CfIT could leave itself open to accusations of deliberately attempting to mislead through claims like that. A Government-linked body attempting to massage figures to suit its own ends? I'm sure that never happens.