Contribution to International Economy

  • Transport and communications in the United Kingdom
About transport in the UK ... 3
Transport trends ... 3
CHAPTER 1 Transport system in the United Kingdom . 5
1. Private transport .. 5
1.1. Cars .. 5
1.2. Mopeds or motorcycles. ... 6
2. Public transport. 8
2.1. Public transport in urban areas.. 8
2.1.1. Trams.. 8
2.1.2. Double-decker buses...8
2.1.3. Underground9
2.1.4. Taxi..9
2.2. Public transport between town and cities 10
2.2.1. Coaches 10
2.2.2. Trains 10
2.2.3. Air transport.. 13
2.2.4. Water transport. 15
CHAPTER 2 Communication system in the United Kingdom . 19
1. British Telecom.. 20
2. The British General Post Office (GPO).. 20
3. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 21
4. The Internet.24
1. Who is responsible for the transport and communications in the UK25
2. Transport and communications problems who benefits and who pays?.........26
Transport and other forms of communication are among the most important factors in determining where a person is willing to live or to run a business. Any estate agent's literature shows how important access to bus and train services, shopping centers, schools, good roads and recreation facilities are to the potential house buyer. Businesses are even more acutely affected by communications and transport - not just by major features but by minor matters as well. Moving a bus stop fifty yards along a road, or prohibiting parking, may make the difference between prosperity and ruin for a small shopkeeper.
The transport system in the United Kingdom is well developed. A radial road network of 29,145 miles (46,632 km) of main roads is centered on London, Edinburgh and Belfast, whilst, in Great Britain, a motorway network of 2,173 miles (3,477 km) is centered on both Birmingham and London. There are a further 213,750 miles (342,000 km) of paved roads. The National Rail network of 10,072 route miles (16,116 route km) in Great Britain and 189 route miles (303 route km) in Northern Ireland carries over 18,000 passenger and 1,000 freight trains daily. Urban rail networks are also well developed in London and several other cities. Heathrow Airport is the world's busiest international airport, and the UK has a considerable network of ports which received over 558 million tones of goods in 2003-04.
The government department overseeing transport is the Department for Transport.
Transport trends
Since 1952 (the earliest date for which comparable figures are available), the UK has seen a dramatic shift away from the use of public transport and towards the use of private transport, for both passengers and freight.
In 1952 just 27% of distance traveled was by car or taxi; with 42% being by bus or coach and 18% by rail. A further 11% was by bicycle and 3% by motorcycle. The distance traveled by air was negligible.
By 2003 85% of distance traveled was by car or taxi; with just 6% being by bus and 6% by rail. Air, pedal cycle and motorcycle accounted for roughly 1% each. In terms of journeys, slightly over 1,000,000,000 are made per annum by main line rail, 1,100,000,000 by London Underground and other metro systems, 4,500,000,000 by bus, and 21,000,000 on domestic air flights.
Passenger transport has grown significantly in recent years. Figures show that total passenger travel inside the UK has risen from 403 billion passenger kilometers in 1970 to 797 billion in 2004.
Freight transport has undergone similar changes, greatly increasing in volume and shifting from railways onto the road. In 1953 89,000,000,000 tone kilometers of goods were moved, with rail accounting for 42%, road 36% and water 22%. By 2002 the volume of freight moved had almost trebled to 254,000,000,000 tone kilometers, of which 7.5% was moved by rail, 26% by water, 4% by pipeline and 62% by road.
This shift from rail to road is both caused by, and a cause of, changes in the relative sizes of their networks; whereas the rail network has halved from 31,336 km in 1950 to 16,116 km today, the motorway network, which today is 3476 km long, did not exist in 1950. It has also been caused by rising economic affluence, the move of the population away from city centers, and changes in industry.
In this chapter lets turn to the kinds of transport that are spread in the United Kingdom. In general, it is divided into two main sectors. These are the private transport and the public one. To the private transport we consider vehicles cars and motorcycles. But the public transport is more diverse in its structure. In my presentation I will describe kinds of transportation that are used in towns and cities and the ones that connect longer destinations urban and rural areas, regions and countries.
1. Private transport.
1.1. Cars.
Nearly tree-quarters of households in Britain have regular use of a car and about a quarter have more than one car. The widespread enthusiasm for cars is, as elsewhere, partly a result of people using them to project an image of themselves. Apart from the obvious status of indicators such as size and speed, the British system of vehicle registration introduces another. Registration plates, known as 'number plates', give a clear indication of the age of cars. Up to 1999 there was a different letter of the alphabet for each year and in summer mere were a lot of advertisements for cars on television and in the newspapers because the new registration 'year' began in August.
Another possible reason for the British being so attached to their cars is the opportunity which they provide to indulge the national passion for privacy. Being in a car is like taking your 'castle' with you wherever you go (see chapter 19). Perhaps this is why the occasional attempts to persuade people to 'car pool' (to share the use of a car to and from work) have met with little success.
The privacy factor may also be the reason why British drivers are less 'communicative' than the drivers of many other countries. They use their horns very little, are not in the habit of signaling their displeasure at the behavior of other road users with their hands and are a little more tolerant of both other drivers and pedestrians. They are also a little more safety conscious. Britain has the best road safety record in Europe. The speed limit on motorways is a little lower than in most other countries (70 mph =112 kph) and people go over this limit to a somewhat lesser extent. In addition, there are frequent and costly government campaigns to encourage road safety. Before Christmas 1992, for instance, 2.3 million was spent on such a campaign.
Another indication that the car is perceived as a private space is that Britain was one of the last countries in Western Europe to introduce the compulsory wearing of seat belts (in spite of British concern for safety). This measure was, and still is, considered by many to be a bit of an infringement of personal liberty.
The cars owner can join to the AA and to the RAC. These are the initials of the Automobile Association and the Royal Automobile Club. A driver who joins either of them (by paying a subscription) can get emergency help when his or her car breaks down. The fact that both organizations are very well-known is an indication of the importance of the car in modern British life.
1.2. Mopeds or motorcycles.
The British are not very keen on mopeds or motorcycles. They exist, of course, but they are not private enough for British tastes. Every year twenty times as many new cars as two-wheeled motor vehicles are registered. Millions of bicycles are used, especially by younger people, but except in certain university towns such as Oxford and Cambridge, they are not as common as they are in other parts of north-western Europe. Britain has been rather slow to organize special cycle lanes. The comparative safety of the roads means that parents are not too worried about their children cycling on the road along with cars and lorries.
What the British motorists hate the most? Traffic wardens are not police officers, but they have the force of law behind them as they walk around leaving parking tickets on the windscreens of cars that are illegally parked. By convention, they are widely feared and disliked by British motorists. Every year there are nearly a hundred serious attacks on them. In 1993 government advisers decided that their image should change. They were officially renamed 'parking attendants' (although everyone still calls them traffic wardens).
Traffic cones are orange and white, about a meter tall and made of plastic. Their appearance signals that some part of the road ahead (the part marked out by the cones) is being repaired and therefore out of use and that therefore there is probably going to be a long delay. Workers placing them in position have had eggs thrown at them and lorry drivers have been accused by police of holding competitions to run them down. On any one day at least 100,000 of them are in use on the country's roads.
Now about the situation on the motorways. Statistics show that only 12% of all journeys made are by public transport. Around six times as many are made by car. Unfortunately, the poor performance and questionable safety of British public transport is forcing more and more travellers out onto the roads. But, as anyone who's experienced the motorways recently will attest, this isn't always a quick and easy alternative.
It's estimated that a quarter of all main roads in Britain are jammed for at least an hour a day - compared to our neighbors in Germany and France, where that figure is less than 10%. In fact, a journey from London to Manchester (that's less than 200 miles) frequently takes as long as seven hours. That's an average speed of less than 30mph on roads with a maximum of 70mph. A fit cyclist, accustomed to lengthy periods in the saddle, could get there quicker. Of course, it isn't just the increased number of car owners that are choking our motorways - there are more trucks out there too. However, it's wise to be careful when apportioning the blame - after all the motorways were originally built for freight.
In 1994, a law was passed that all trucks over seven and a half tonnes had to be mechanically restricted to 56mph. This safety measure transformed British motorways overnight, and not necessarily for the better. Prior to this legislation, there were always faster lorries and slower ones, so they were evenly dispersed along the length of the motorway. Now all lorries travel roughly at the same speed, give or take an mph or two. As a consequence, they now bunch together in long lines travelling nose-to-tail. These rolling road-blocks can have a devastating effect on the flow of traffic. When a truck pulls out to overtake another, two out of three lanes are effectively slowed to below 56mph - two-thirds of the maximum speed. This forces faster cars and vans into the third lane, effectively creating a 'bottle-neck' where three lanes are suddenly funnelled into one.
2. Public transport.
2.1. Public transport in urban areas.
Public transport services in urban areas, as elsewhere in Europe, suffer from the fact that there is so much private traffic on the roads that they are not as cheap, as frequent or as fast as they otherwise could be. They also stop running inconveniently early at night. Efforts have been made to speed up journey times by reserving certain lanes for buses, but so far there has been no widespread attempt to give priority to public transport vehicles at traffic lights.
2.1.1. Trams.
An interesting modern development is that trams, which disappeared from the countrys towns during the 1950s and 1960s, are now making a comeback. Research has shown that people seem to have more confidence in the reliability of a service which runs on tracks, and are therefore readier to use a tram than they would be to use an ordinary bus.
2.1.2. Double-decker buses.
Britain is one of the few countries in Europe where double-decker buses (i.e. with two floors) are a common sight. Although single-deckers have also been in use since the 1960s, London still has more than 3,000 double-deckers in operation. In their original form they were 'hop-on, hop-off buses. That is, there were no doors, just an opening at the back to the outside. There was a conductor who walked around collecting fares while the bus was moving. However, most buses these days, including double-deckers, have separate doors for getting on and off and no conductor (fares are paid to the driver).
There is a sane of George Mikes that says An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one. It is true that waiting for buses allows the British to indulge their supposed passion for queueing. Whether this really signifies civilized patience is debatable. But queueing is certainly taken seriously. When buses serving several different numbered routes stop at the same bus stop, instructions on it sometimes tell people to queue on one side for some of the buses and on the other side for others. And yes, people do get offended if anybody tries to 'jump the queue'.
2.1.3. Underground.
The famous London Underground, known as 'the tube', is feeling the effects of its age (it was first opened in 1863). It is now one of the dirtiest and least efficient of all such systems in European cities. However, it is still heavily used because it provides excellent connections with the main line train stations and with the suburbs surrounding the city.
2.1.4. Taxi.
Another symbol of London is the distinctive black taxi (in fact, they are not all black these days, nor are they confined to London). According to the traditional stereotype, the owner-drivers of London taxis, known as cabbies, are friendly Cockneys (see chapter 4) who never stop talking. While it may not be true that they are all like this, they all have to demonstrate, in a difficult examination, detailed familiarity with London's streets and buildings before they are given their license. (This familiarity is known simply as 'the knowledge'.) Normally, these traditional taxis cannot be hired by phone. You simply have to find one on the street. But there are also many taxi companies who get most of their business over the phone. Their taxis are known as 'minicabs'. They tend to have a reputation, not always justified, for unreliability as well as for charging unsuspecting tourists outrageous prices (in common with taxis all over the world). However, taxis and minicabs are expensive and most British people rarely use them, except, perhaps, when going home late at night after public transport has stopped running, especially if they have been drinking alcohol.
2.2. Public transport between town and cities.
It is possible to travel on public transport between large towns or cities by road or rail. The arrangement of the country's transport network illustrates the dominance of London. London is at the centre of the network, with a 'web' of roads and railways coming from it. Britain's road-numbering system, (M for motorways, then A, B and C class roads) is based on the direction out of London that roads take.
2.2.1. Coaches.
Coach services are generally slower than trains but are also much cheaper. In some parts of the country, particularly the south-east of England, there is a dense suburban rail network, but the most commercially successful trains are the Inter-City services that run between London and the thirty or so largest cities in the country. Coaches provide long-distance links throughout the UK: in England & Wales the majority of coach services are provided by National Express. Megabus run no-frills coach services in competition with National Express and services in Scotland in co-operation with Scottish Citylink. Within regional areas, there is are various local bus systems which in Great Britain were usually originally owned by local councils, but have been deregulated and privatized under the Transport Act 1980. Since deregulation the majority of these local bus companies have been takenover by one of the "Big Four" private transport companies: Arriva, FirstGroup plc, National Express Group (owners of National Express) and Stagecoach Group. In Northern Ireland coach, bus (and rail) services remain regulated and are provided by Translink.
2.2.2. Trains.
The rail network in Great Britain is the oldest such network in the world. The world's first intercity railway was the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, designed by George Stephenson and opened by the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington on 15 September 1830.
Until 1996 the rail network in Britain, and the passenger and freight services on it, were owned, operated and maintained by British Rail, a government-owned monopoly. In 1994 and 1995 British Rail was split into infrastructure, maintenance, rolling stock, passenger and freight companies, which were privatized from 1996 to 1997. Privatization has proved controversial and the rail network has not yet experienced the full improvements that had been hoped.
After more than 100 years of private operation, the railways became a state concern in 1947. British Rail accounts for some 6 per cent of total passenger mileage, but is now being privatized through a complicated sale of routes, management structures and equipment. This is causing public concern about the quality and availability of future rail services.
Rail passenger structures consist of a fast intercity network, linking all the main British centers; local trains which supply regional needs; and commuter services in and around the large areas of population, particularly London and south-east England. Increased electrification of lines, and the introduction of fast diesel trains such as the Intercity 125s travelling at a maximum speed of 125 mph (201 km/h), have improved rail journeys considerably. But such speeds and facilities are still inferior to those in other countries.
Many railway lines and trains are old and need replacing, and more electrification is required. There is much criticism by passengers, particularly in south-east England, about fare increases, overcrowding, delays, cancellations, staffing problems and poor services. Similar complaints are also made about the London Underground system (the Tube), which covers 254 miles (408 km) of railway line in the capital.
Critics argue that the inadequate state of Britain's railways is due to lack of government investment; Conservative policy that the rail system should be run on commercial lines, rather than as a public service; cuts in government subsidies to British Rail; and a failure to realize that rail could be part of a modernized and properly funded integrated transport system catering for passengers and freight. This latter point would ease road congestion, satisfy demand and improve the environment.
In Britain, the infrastructure (track, stations, depots and signalling chiefly) is owned and maintained by Network Rail, a not for profit company. Network Rail replaced Railtrack, which became bankrupt in 2002 following the Hatfield Accident in 2000. Passenger services are operated by train operating companies(TOC's), most of which are franchises awarded by the UK Government. Examples include Virgin Trains, GNER and First Group plc. Freight trains are operated by Freight Operating Companies, such as EWS, which are commercial operations unsupported by government. Most Train Operating Companies do not own the locomotives and coaches which they use to operate passenger services, being instead required to lease these from the Rolling Stock Operating Companies (ROSCOs)examples like HSBC and maintained by bombardier.
The difference between certain trains is a fascinating reflection of British insularity. Elsewhere in Europe, the fastest and smartest trains are the international ones. But in Britain, they are the Inter-City trains. The international trains from London to the Channel ports of Newhaven, Dover and Ramsgate are often uncomfortable commuter trains stopping at several different stations.
It is notable that the names of the main London railway stations are known to almost everybody in the country, whereas the names of stations in other cities are only known to those who use them regularly or live nearby. The names of the London stations are: Charing Cross, Euston, King's Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington, St Pancras, Victoria, Waterloo. Each runs trains only in a certain direction out of London. If your journey takes you through London, you have to use the Underground to get from one of these stations to another.
The numbers of trains and train routes were slowly but continuously reduced over the last forty years of the twentieth century. In October 1993 the national train timetable scheduled 10,000 fewer trains than in the previous October. The changes led to many complaints. The people of Lincoln in eastern England, for example, were worried about their tourist trade. This town, which previously had fifteen trains arriving on a Sunday from four different directions, found that it had only four, all arriving from the same direction. The Ramblers' Association (for people who like to go walking in the countryside) was also furious because the ten trains on a Sunday from Derby to Matlock, near the highest mountains in England, had all been cancelled. At the time, however, the government wanted very much to privatize the railways. Therefore, it had to make them look financially attractive to investors, and the way to do this was to cancel as many unprofitable services as possible.
In order to get to more remote areas, for instance, other countries, it is more comfortable to use sea or air transport facilities.
2.2.3. Air transport.
Britain's civil aviation system accounts for some 1 per cent of passenger mileage, and is in the private sector following the privatization of the former state airline, British Airways, in 1987. But there are other carriers, such as British Midland, Britannia Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which run scheduled and charter passenger services on domestic and international routes. All are controlled by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), an independent body which regulates the industry, including air traffic control, and which the government may privatize. The airlines also provide air cargo and freight services.
A very small minority, of mostly business people, travel within Britain by air. International air travel, however, is very important economically to Britain. The largest airline in the UK is British Airways, who operate long-distance flights from the UK to all over the globe. Others include bmi, Easyjet, and Virgin Atlantic. British Airways is one of the biggest airlines in the world. Its ambitious plans for the future include operating an enormous new kind of jumbo aircraft. This will not travel any faster than today's aircraft, but will be big enough for passengers to move around inside in rather the same way as they do on a ship. There will be no duty-free trolleys or meals coming round; instead, passengers will go to the bar, cafe or shop to get what they want. First class travelers will have sleeping cabins and a fully-equipped business area. But how many airports will be able to accommodate the new monsters of the sky?
There are 137 licensed civil aerodromes in Britain, varying considerably in size. Heathrow and Gatwick Airports outside London are the largest. These airports, together with Stansted in south-east England, and Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen in Scotland, are owned and managed by the private sector British Airports Authority (BAA). They handle about 73 per cent of air passengers and 84 per cent of air cargo in Britain. Most of the other larger regional airports, such as Manchester, Birmingham, Luton, Belfast, Newcastle and East Midlands, are controlled by local authorities, and cater for the country's remaining passenger and cargo requirements.
Expansion of existing airports (particularly regional facilities), and the provision of new ones, will be necessary if Britain is to cope with increased consumer demand and competition from Europe. But such projects are very expensive and controversial because of environmental problems, such as construction work, noise and traffic. Some disquiet also exists about plane congestion in the skies over Britain, the efficiency of the air traffic system, and safety generally.
retaining its world number-one position, others are not so pleased. The problem is the noise (which British people tend to regard as an invasion of their privacy). Local farmers and the hundreds of thousands of people who live under Heathrow's flight path are objecting to the idea. The airport planners arc arguing that the next generation of planes will be much quieter than present-day ones. Nevertheless, the plan is going to have to win a tough fight before it goes ahead.
2.2.4. Water transport.
Due to the United Kingdom's island nature, before the Channel Tunnel and the advent of air travel the only way to enter or leave the country was on water, except at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Approximately 95% of freight enters the UK by sea (75% by value). Three major ports handle most freight traffic:
Felixstowe on the east coast - the fourth largest seaport in Europe.
Tilbury, near London.
Southampton on the south coast.
There are many other ports and harbours around the UK, including the following towns and cities: Aberdeen, Avonmouth, Barry, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Dover, Falmouth, Glasgow, Gloucester, Grangemouth, Harwich, Hull, Inverness, Leith, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Peterhead, Plymouth, Poole, Port Talbot, Portsmouth, Scapa Flow, Sullom Voe, Swansea, Tees, Tyne.
Although there are over 300 ports in Britain, most are small concerns which do not handle much cargo or passenger traffic. However, the bigger ports such as Clyde, Dover, Tees, London, Southampton, Grimsby, Hull, Felixstowe, Liverpool, Cardiff and Swansea service most of the country's trade and travel requirements. But there has been a big decline in work and labor since the great days of the ports in the past.
The British shipping fleet has been greatly reduced from its peak year in 1975, owing to increased competition and a world shipping recession. The cargo market is now dominated by a small number of large private sector groups. But 77 per cent Heathrow, on the western edge of London, is the world's busiest airport. Every year, its four separate terminals are used by more than 30 million passengers. In addition, Gatwick Airport, to the south of London, is the fourth busiest passenger airport in Europe. There are two other fairly large airports close to London (Stansted and Luton) which deal mainly with charter flights, and there is a small City Airport, which caters mainly for business travelers between London and north-western Europe.
There are plans for a fifth terminal at Heathrow, bigger than the other four combined. The aim is to double the capacity of Heathrow by the year 2015. However, while some British people may be proud at the prospect of Heathrow of Britain's overseas trade is still carried by sea, although passenger mileage has been much reduced. Both may decline further because of competition with the Channel Tunnel.
Modern Britain makes surprisingly little use of its many inland were busy thoroughfares, and the profession of 'waterman', the river equivalent of the London cabbie, was well-known. In the last hundred years transport by land has almost completely taken over. A few-barge still goes up and down the Thames through London, but is used mostly by tourists. Several attempts have been made to set up a regular service for commuters, but none has been a success so far. There is no obvious practical reason for this failure. It just seems that British people have lost the habit of traveling this way.
The story of goods transport by water is the same. In the nineteenth century, the network of canals used for this purpose was vital to the country's economy and as extensive as the modern motorway network. The vast majority of these canals are no longer used in this way. Recently the leisure industry has found a use for the country's waterways with the increasing popularity of boating holidays.
Passenger ferries operate internationally to nearby countries such as France, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Ferries also operate within the UK, connecting Scotland with Northern Ireland, Southampton with Isle of Wight and many smaller routes. Cruise ships depart from the UK for destinations worldwide, many heading for ports around the Mediterranean and Caribbean. The Solent is a world centre for yachting and home to largest number of private yachts in the world.
And of cause, describing transport and communications in the United Kingdom, we can not miss talking about famous Channel Tunnel under the sea well known as la Manche tunnel.
The rail Channel Tunnel, privately operated by a French/ British company (Eurotunnel), is meant to improve passenger and freight travel between Britain and mainland Europe, although there are doubts about its pricing policy and competitiveness. The system has two main tunnels and a smaller service tunnel. It provides a drive-on, drive-off shuttle service on specially designed trains for cars, coaches and freight vehicles as well as passenger trains. The two terminals, Folkestone and Coquelles, are 31 miles (50 km) apart. Improved rail services from Folkestone to London should have been provided, but there have been delays and confusion over cost and policy. A high-speed connection has yet to be constructed, and there are no adequate facilities which would allow freight from the rest of Britain to cross London to the Tunnel.
It was opened on Friday 6 May 1994, when Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and President Mitterand of France traveled ceremonially under the sea that separates their two countries and opened the Channel tunnel (often known as 'the channel') between Calais and Folkestone. For the first time ever, people were able to travel between Britain and the continent without taking their feet off solid ground.
The channel was by far the biggest building project in which Britain was involved in the twentieth century. The history of this project, however, was not a happy one. Several workers were killed during construction, the price of construction turned out to be more than double the 4-5 billion first estimated and the start of regular services was repeatedly postponed, the last time even after tickets had gone on sale. On top of all that, the public showed little enthusiasm. On the day that tickets went on sale, only 138 were sold in Britain (and in France, only 12!). On the next day, an informal telephone poll found that only 5% of those calling said that they would use the channel.
There were several reasons for this lack of enthusiasm. At first the channel was open only to those with private transport. For them, the small saving in travel time did not compensate for the comparative discomfort of traveling on a train with no windows and no facilities other than toilets on board, especially as the competing ferry companies had made their ships cleaner and more luxurious. In addition, some people felt it was unnatural and frightening to travel under all that water. There were also fears about terrorist attacks. However unrealistic such fears were, they certainly interested Hollywood. Every major studio was soon planning a channel disaster movie!
One small but remarkable success of the channel (the Channel tunnel) enterprise seems to be linguistic. You might think that there would have been some argument. Which language would be used to talk about the channel and things connected with it? English or French? No problem! A working compromise was soon established, in which English nouns are combined with French words of other grammatical classes. For example, the company that built the channel is called Trans-manche Link (la Manche is the French name for the Channel), and the train which carries vehicles through the tunnel is officially called Le Shuttle.
This linguistic mixing quickly became popular in Britain. On 12 February 1994, hundred of volunteers walked the 50 kilometers through the channel to raise money for charity. The Daily Mail, the British newspaper that organized the event, publicized it as 'Le walk', and the British media reported on the progress of 'Les walkers'.
The public attitude is becoming more positive, although very slowly. The direct train services between Paris and London and Brussels and London seem to offer a significant reduction of travel time when compared to travel over the sea, and this enterprise has been more of a success. At the time of writing, however, the high-speed rail link to take passengers between the British end of the channel and London has not been completed.
Now lets turn to the communication system in the United Kingdom.
So, what is the communication itself? Communication, the process of transmitting and receiving ideas, information, and messages. The rapid transmission of information over long distances and ready access to information have become conspicuous and important features of human society, especially in the past 150 years.
A few centuries ago people knew only a few kinds of communication. They could speak to each other, they could send their message from one place to another by smoke signals, they used mail. Later on, they also had some newspapers. The first expansion of media was when the radio and television were invented. The second and the biggest boom started in 1960s when the first communication satellite was launched into orbit.
There are 4 main media: Newspapers, TV, Radio and the Internet. Todays people take this as an ordinary thing and we dont realise that we nearly cant live without it. Media are very important for us. They give us big amount of information, so big that we cant remember all that things. They help us to understand things and if you have lots of information you are able to make your own decisions. This is connected with education and media are very good teachers. They highly influence us. They can help other people making charities... News arent always true, they are not objective or says just half true.
Our world is very huge and sending a message from America to Asia a hundred years ago was nearly impossible or it took a lot of time. Nowadays you can send the message in a few seconds and it is very simple. The media makes the world much smaller particularly the TV and the Internet. When you turn on the TV or a computer you can see whole world like it would be in the next village. You can learn the culture and habits of other nationalities, you can see what they are doing right now. The world is also called the global community village. There are not only good things about media. Firstly there are always some information that are not true. We have to be careful about it but when you listen to media for a long time you can find some companies which are nearly always true. Secondly there is a danger of being influenced in the bad way (lot of pornography on the Internet, lot of action films in TV. Thirdly if you are a famous person the media very often take very big piece of your privacy.
Communications systems in Britain are also divided between the public and the private sectors. The main suppliers are the private British Telecom (BT) and the public Post Office. Also we will consider in this presentation the British Broadcasting Corporation, invariably known as the BBC and to the Internet as the most contemporary mean of communication.
1. British Telecom was privatized in 1984, and provides telephone and telecommunications systems domestically and internationally. There are 20 million domestic and 6 million business telephone subscribers. British Telecom is responsible for these as well as public payphones, telephone exchanges, telex connections and a range of other telecommunications services. Following privatization, there was considerable disquiet about British Telecom's performance. But most of the initial problems have now been solved and it is operating efficiently and profitably. The private company, Mercury, competes fiercely with British Telecom in the provision of telecommunications facilities, and the Conservative government plans to allow other competitors, such as cable networks.
2. The British General Post Office (GPO) was officially established in 1660 by Charles II and it eventually grew to combine the functions of both the state postal system and telecommunications carrier. In 1969 it was abolished and the assets transferred to the newly-created Post Office Corporation, changing it from a Department of State to a Statutory Corporation which was in turn split into separate Post Office and British Telecommunications Corporations in 1981. For the more recent history of the postal system in the United Kingdom, see the article: Royal Mail. The 19th century headquarters of the General Post Office in St Martins-le-Grand in the City of London.
Originally, the GPO was a monopoly covering the dispatch of items from a specific sender to a specific receiver, which was to be of great importance when new forms of communication were invented. The postal service was known as the Royal Mail because it was built on the distribution system for royal and government documents. In 1661 the office of Postmaster General was created to oversee the GPO. In later centuries the GPO acquired monopoly control of telecommunications and attempted to control the broadcasting industry.
It is responsible for collecting, handling and delivering some 61 million letters and parcels every day. It has sorting offices throughout the country with handling equipment, based on the postcodes which every address in Britain has. Local post offices throughout the country provide postal and other services, but there are fears that possible future privatization will reduce rural facilities and increase costs.
3. The British Broadcasting Corporation, invariably known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, employing 26,000 staff in the UK alone and with a budget of £4 billion. Founded in 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd, it was subsequently incorporated and made a state-owned but independent corporation in 1927. The corporation produces programs and information services, broadcasting on television, radio, and the Internet. The stated mission of the BBC is "to inform, educate and entertain", and the motto of the BBC is Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation. The BBC is a quasi-autonomous Public Corporation operating as a public service broadcaster. The Corporation is currently run by a board of governors appointed by the Queen on the advice of government ministers; however, the BBC is, per its charter, to be "free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners".
Its domestic programming and broadcasts are primarily funded by levying television license fees (under the Wireless & Telegraphy Act 1947), although there is also money raised through commercial activities such as sale of merchandise and programming. The BBC World Service, however, is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In order to justify the license fee the BBC is expected to produce a number of high-rating shows in addition to programmes that commercial broadcasters would not normally broadcast. Quite often domestic audiences have affectionately referred to the BBC as the Beeb, (coined by Kenny Everett) or as Auntie; the latter said to originate in the somewhat old fashioned Auntie knows best attitude dating back to the early days when John Reith was in charge. Occasionally the terms are used together as Auntie Beeb.
The original British Broadcasting Company was founded in 1922 by a group of telecommunications companies (including subsidiaries of General Electric and AT&T) to broadcast experimental radio services. The first transmission was on 14 November of that year, from station 2LO, located at Marconi House, London. The Company, with John Reith as general manager, became the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1927 when it was granted a Royal Charter of incorporation and ceased to be privately owned. It started experimental television broadcasting in 1932 using an entirely mechanical 30 line system developed by John Logie Baird. It becoming a regular service (known as the BBC Television Service) in 1936 alternating between a Baird mechanical 240 line system and the all electronic 405 line EMI system. The superiority of the electronic system saw the mechanical system dropped later that year. Television broadcasting was suspended from 1 September 1939 to 7 June 1946 during the Second World War. A widely reported urban myth is that, upon resumption of service, announcer Leslie Mitchell started by saying, "As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted..." In fact, the first person to appear when transmission resumed was Jasmine Bligh and the words said were "Good afternoon, everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh...?"
Competition to the BBC was introduced in 1955 with the commercially and independently operated ITV. As a result of the Pilkington Committee report of 1962, in which the BBC was lauded and ITV was very heavily criticised for not providing enough quality programming, the BBC were awarded a second TV channel, BBC 2, in 1964, renaming the existing channel BBC 1. BBC2 used the higher resolution 625 line standard which had been standardized across Europe. BBC 2 was broadcast in color from 1 July 1967, and was joined by BBC 1 and ITV on 15 November 1969. The 405 line transmissions were continued for compatibility with older television receivers for some years.
In 1974 the BBC's teletext service, CEEFAX, was introduced but was not finally transmitted in-vision as such until April 1980. In 1978 the BBC went on strike just before the Christmas of that year, thus blocking out the transmission of both channels and amalgamating all four radio stations into one.
Since the deregulation of the UK television and radio market in the 1980s, the BBC has faced increased competition from the commercial sector (and from the advertiser-funded public service broadcaster Channel 4), especially on satellite television, cable television, and digital television services.
The BBC Research Department has played a major part in the development of broadcasting and recording techniques. In the early days it carried out essential research into acoustics and program level and noise measurement.
The 2004 Hutton Inquiry, and the subsequent report raised questions about the BBC journalistic standards and its impartiality. This lead to resignations of senior management members at the time.
The BBC is a quasi-autonomous Public Corporation operating as a public service broadcaster incorporated under a Royal Charter reviewed on a 10 yearly basis. The Corporation is currently run by a board of governors appointed by The Queen or King on the advice of the government for a term of four years, though this is soon to be replaced with a BBC Trust. The BBC is required by its charter to be free from both political and commercial influence and to answer only to its viewers and listeners.
The BBC is a nominally autonomous corporation, independent from direct government intervention. It is currently run by an appointed Board of Governors, with this being replaced by the BBC Trust from January 2007. General management of the organization is in the hands of a Director-General appointed by the governors.
Historically, the BBC has been subject to continuing criticism for various policies or perceived biases since its inception[ and more recently over its coverage of events in the Middle East and the controversy over what it described as the "sexing up" of the case for war in Iraq by the government, for which the BBC was heavily criticized by the Hutton Inquiry, although the latter charge was much disputed by the British press.
4. The Internet is a very huge, world-wide, very fast, lots of information more than in TV, you can find there everything if you know how to find it. It became widely spread in our times due to the computers. One of the most dramatic advances in communication potential is found in the field of computer technology. Since the first development of the modern electronic digital computers in the 1940s, computerization has infiltrated almost every area of society in nations with advanced technology. Computers are available in many formats for use in industries, schools, and individual homes, and computer networks and auxiliary devices provide a means for the rapid transmission of a wide range of data. Computer systems can tap in on a variety of information databanks, and home owners of personal computers can gain access to this information using telephone lines; it can be displayed on computer screens or properly modified television sets.
Due to the rapid progress, the means of communicating have grown with the power of people to shape their physical world, and with peoples' increasing interdependence.
Transport facilities in Britain are divided between the public and the private sectors of the national economy. Roads, railways, shipping and civil aviation account for most of the country's transport infrastructure.
Central and local governments are responsible for the road network in Britain. Various types of public roads make up most of the highway system. The rest are motorways and trunk roads, which nevertheless carry most of the passenger traffic and heavy goods vehicles. Critics argue that Britain's roads are in bad condition and unable to handle the number of vehicles on them, leading to congestion and traffic jams. The planned expansion, repair and modernization of roads may be inadequate to meet the estimated future number of vehicles.
There are 25 million licensed vehicles, of which 21 million are private cars and light goods vehicles; 2.7 million commercial lorries; 688,000 motor cycles, scooters and mopeds; and 108,000 passenger vehicles (buses, coaches and taxis). Car transport is most popular and accounts for some 82 per cent of passenger mileage, while buses and coaches take 6 per cent. Britain has one of the highest densities of road traffic in the world, but also a relatively good safety record.
Private road haulage has a dominant position in the movement of inland freight. It accounts for some 80 per cent of the market, and lorries have become larger and more efficient. Critics have long campaigned for the transfer of road haulage to the railways and the publicly owned inland waterways (or canals), but to relatively little effect. At present the waterways are used for only a small amount of freight transportation because of the expense, although they are popular for recreational purposes and boating holidays.
Passenger services have declined in Britain because of increased private car usage. The Conservative government has deregulated bus operations, and most local bus companies have now been privatized, although some services are still operated by local government authorities. There has been a considerable expansion in private long-distance express coach services, which have attracted increased numbers of passengers because they are cheaper than the railways.
Transport and communications problems who benefits and who pays?
Changes in transport and communications benefit some people, but they sometimes disadvantage others. A bypass is likely to benefit householders in the town because traffic congestion will be reduced - but it may damage shopkeepers and hoteliers who rely on casual trade. A new airport runway, designed to increase the number of flights, will benefit people who want the extra services, but it may blight homes situated under the flight path.
Usually the improvements only benefit a small proportion of the taxpayers who are ultimately paying for them, while sometimes people who were never intended to be beneficiaries at all make a huge profit. To give one example, the extension of the Jubilee Line of the London Underground to Canary Wharf was funded out of general taxation. People who never visit that part of London derived no benefit at all, yet lucky nearby landowners benefited by nearly £3,000 millions - though many of them never use the Jubilee Line at all.
All these changes are reflected in the value of relevant sites. People say that the prices of "houses", "shops" or "factories" are altered. That is an over-simplification. The price of the materials of which these structures are built is hardly affected at all. What alters is not the value of the bricks and timber and other equipment, but the value of the site on which the building stands.
No proper mechanism exists today either for compensating people who lose by such changes or for collecting revenue from those who make windfall gains which they have played little or no part in creating. True, people whose whole property has been taken away (e.g., for a road widening scheme) do receive compensation. On the other hand, somebody whose business is damaged by construction of a bypass, or whose once quiet home is disturbed by a new motorway a few yards distant, usually receives nothing. This is clearly unjust.
Changes in transport and communications often produce a very long-term effect indeed. In 1841, a rail link was established between London and Brighton. At the time, a good many people at both ends of the line benefited, while a good many other people suffered from the effects of dirty, noisy trains. Those gains and losses largely continue to this day. Land values at both ends of the line, and all along its length, are still affected by something that happened more than a century and a half ago.
By the same token, closure of railway lines or bus routes also affects land values. When railways were shut down in the 1960s under the Beeching schemes, shopkeepers and hoteliers foundered in the regions which lost their rail services, While shopkeepers and hoteliers profited in places which kept their rail links.
Public attitudes have changed dramatically since Beeching's time. Most people now regard it as desirable that more use should be made of public transport to road congestion and environmental pollution from private cars, yet the road and rail companies argue that they cannot substantially improve services because the extra revenue would not meet the cost. Sometimes the dilemma is met by subsidizing transport out of public funds. The old question arises: who benefits, and who pays?
All the various changes in transport and communications affect one measurable item: land values. Sometimes they increase the value of people's land, sometimes they decrease it. This point to a way of ensuring that people who benefit from changing land values pay for the benefit they receive, while those who lose are compensated for the loss. At the same time, the burden which falls on the general taxpayer for making the changes will be greatly reduced and perhaps removed entirely.
The way of doing this is called Land Value Taxation, or LVT. Under LVT, the site value of every piece of property would first be assessed. This assessment would not include the value of any building or other development on the land. A tax would then be levied in proportion to that valuation. At the same time, existing taxes such as income tax or VAT would be reduced.
There is every reason for thinking that improvements in transport and communications will result in far more increases than decreases in land values. When these increases are creamed off by LVT, this will usually suffice to pay for the development and eventually yield a profit. Thus the ordinary taxpayer will be repaid for the investment in improvement. There will be no question - as there is today - of people paying money to provide transport improvements from which they derive only marginal benefits, or none at all - or even from which they actually lose.
'Improving access to jobs and services, particularly for those most in need, in ways that are sustainable: improved public transport - reduced problems of congestion and reduced problems of congestion, pollution and safety.'
At a regional level, the Department encourages the close integration between regional transport, housing, economic development strategies and spending decisions. We do this to ensure that transport can best support the delivery of wider Government objectives on the economy, the environment and social inclusiveness, and we work with partners to ensure that strategies are well evidenced and supported in their delivery.
At a local level, the Department encourages modernisation of local transport as part of our strategy for a sustainable and integrated transport system, improving accessibility and reducing congestion. We oversee local transport planning and expenditure, helping local authorities and transport operators improve local roads, bus, taxi and light rail services, and walking and cycling facilities.
Transport and communications play a vitally important role in peoples life. Because of its key role in supporting regional and local prosperity, economic growth and enhancing quality of life.
There is much public concern about the adequacy of Britain's transport systems and the lack of an integrated infrastructure of roads, railways and airlines. Improvements and expansion involve considerable expense, and Britain invests less in transport than any other European country. Government initiatives and investment are ideally needed to remedy the existing problems, not only domestically but also in terms of European trade and competition. Otherwise Britain could lose its important transport role, particularly in the air. But the Conservatives are reluctant to spend public money on transport, and are considering more private ownership and charges for road usage in order to cut costs.
That is why, the British are very enthusiastic about mobility. They regard the opportunity to travel far and frequently as a right. Some commuters spend up to two or three hours each day getting to work in London or some other big city and back home to their suburban or country homes in the evening. Most people do not spend quite so long each day traveling, but it is taken for granted that few people live near enough to their work or secondary school to get there on foot.
As everywhere in Europe, transport in modern Britain is dominated by the motor car and there are the attendant problems of traffic congestion and pollution. These problems are, in fact, more acute than they are in many other countries both because Britain is densely populated and also because a very high proportion of goods are transported by road. There is an additional reason for congestion in Britain. While the British want the freedom to move around easily, they do not like living near big roads or railways. Any proposed new road or rail project leads to 'housing blight'. The value of houses along or near the proposed route goes down. Every such project is attended by an energetic campaign to stop construction. Partly for this reason, Britain has, in proportion to its population, fewer kilometers of main road and railway than any other country in northern Europe.
Transport policy is a matter of continual debate. During the 1980s the government's attitude was that public transport should pay for itself (and should not be given subsidies) and road building was given priority. However, the opposite point of view, which argues in favor of public transport, has become stronger during the 1990s, partly as a result of pressure from environmental groups. It is now generally accepted that transport policy should attempt to more than merely accommodate the predicted doubling in the number of cars in the next thirty years, but should consider wider issues.
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5. ABBYY Lingvo 11
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