Transport Watch UK Focusing on UK's Traffic & Traffic Systems

About Transport Watch UK

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Transport Watch was registered in October 2002. Our objective is to become the non-governmental point of reference for factual data dealing with transport generally and road and rail in particular. We welcome contributions from any person provided the contributions give references to sources and, as far as is possible, the source numbers and calculations upon which conclusions may be based.


Our founder was Paul F. Withrington BSc, MSc, MICE. C. Eng.

In 1962, Paul graduated from Bristol University with  a BSc in Civil Engineering.

He worked, as a site engineer, through the big freeze of 1962/3 winter, on the Thorpe Marsh Power Station near Doncaster for the main contractor, Mitchell Construction Co. From there he was transferred to the wilds of the Loch Awe Hydroelectric Project, where 7 day, 12-hour shifts on the dynamite blasted heath were thought to be fun.

Following that he had experience in reinforced concrete design with the same company and with the celebrated firm of Ove Arup in its London Office, from where he became a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Chartered Engineer, aged 26. 

In 1966, Paul made a career change, joining the Greater London Council to become a transport planner. The GLC sent all successful applicants on a one-year MSc. course in transport planning at Birmingham Univeristy, a course now discontinued.

He worked for the GLC for an additional 3 years and as a lecturer in transport planning at Portsmouth Polytechnic (now University) for a further 3 years before joining PTRC, a firm organising courses for local government and with some consultancy work. In addition to the London office the firm had offices in Portugal and in Damascus at a time when there were revolutions in both places and when work was otherwise scarce. That forced the firm to bankruptcy.

Paul preserved himself by joining Northants County Council, as Project Manager Transport Planning, for nearly 20 years.

He took retirement in 1994 but remained active in the field, preparing evidence for public inquires on local transport issues and appearing extensively at the Examination in Public of the County Structure Plan.

In 2000/01 he appeared as the Strategic Objector at the public inquiry into Railtrack's West Coast Main Line Modernisation Programme.

In 2010/11 he appeared for objectors to the proposal to add a track to the Bicester to Oxford railway

Paul passed away in January 2021.



  • Are we over-designing urban roads: The Surveyor, 8th December 1972.
  • Pitfalls in standard cost benefit theory: The Surveyor,15th December 1972.
  • Silver medal winner of East Midlands Branch of the Institution of Highway Engineers competition, 1978, for his paper deconstructing the Department of Transport's procedure for the evaluation of small schemes.
  • Reigniting the Railway Conversion Debate: Journal of the Institute of Economic Affairs volume 24 No 2 July 2004
  • Chapter on Rural Rail in the IEA publication the New Rural Economy, ISBN 0 255 36546 2, See page 170 onwards. [ Note - erratum on page 178 the £27,700 should read £2,770].
  • Section 3, Gridlock Britain, a Transport Policy, in Professor Stanley Feldman's and Professor Vincent Marks' book, "Global Warming and other Bollocks", 2009,  ISBN  978-1-84454-718-0.
  • Paving Over the Tracks (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2015), with Richard Wellings.
  • Viewpoint, Rational decision making in the Northern Powerhouse?  Sadly not: Local Transport Today, Number 695 darted 15th April 2016.
  • Over the decade, 70 to 100 published letters in Local Transport Today.

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