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Old May 11th, 2011, 11:52 PM   #2301
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Interesting, yes, but it doesn't give the full story. What the analysis does not allow for are:
  • capacity increases arising from the widening of existing motorway carriageways; and
  • construction of non-motorway classified strategic routes.
Regarding the first point, there has been a significant degree of carriageway widening over the last 20 years. Large parts of the M25 and M1, for example, are now 8 lane motorways, with further widening planned. And regarding the second point, the UK (for some reason) does not tend to give a motorway classification to routes as readily as many other countries. There are a great many 4 lane (and sometimes 6 lane) non-motorway routes that drivers treat as motorways, with driving speeds to match, but which do not show up as a blue line on a map. A good number of these have been constructed or upgraded during the last 20 years.

This distorts the picture somewhat, to the extent that analyses such as yours (28% increase in capacity vs negligible increase in motorway mileage) do not stand up to detailed, quantitative scrutiny. (If improvements had genuinely come to a standstill since 1990, the network would be in permanent state of gridlock - and that, clearly, is not the case.)

None of that detracts from the overall point, however, that capacity improvements are certainly needed in many areas. I think we all agree on that.
It would be interesting to plot the increase in motorway lane kilometres rather than the increase of motorway length, but I guess that would be very difficult. For example 100km of 2x3 motorway would be 600 lane km, but if it was widened to 2x4 it would be increased to 800 lane kilometres.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #2302
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British motorways are already pretty wide compared to most European contries. Increasing the length of the network would be far more important.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:03 PM   #2303
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British motorways are already pretty wide compared to most European contries. Increasing the length of the network would be far more important.
There aren't many places which need a new motorway. All I can think of is the completion of the Birmingham Ring motorway, another east-west motorway and bypass for the M60/62 and some parts of the M25. I think some places need express/collect which would help.

Pretty much all the places that need a motorway have one which means that not many entire new routes are needed, just increased capacity on existing routes...
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Old May 13th, 2011, 09:35 PM   #2304
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There aren't many places which need a new motorway. All I can think of is the completion of the Birmingham Ring motorway, another east-west motorway and bypass for the M60/62 and some parts of the M25. I think some places need express/collect which would help.

Pretty much all the places that need a motorway have one which means that not many entire new routes are needed, just increased capacity on existing routes...
I'm not really sure of that. The UK has a lot less motorway per capita than almost all other advanced countries. Some say this is because it's an island, but I do not believe that international traffic makes that much of a difference in mainland Europe.

For a start, London is in desperate need, though politically it's probably a non-starter for the foreseeable future as banal 19th and early 20th century buildings that exist in the hundreds of thousands are thought to all be worthy of saving.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:32 PM   #2305
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There aren't many places which need a new motorway. All I can think of is the completion of the Birmingham Ring motorway, another east-west motorway and bypass for the M60/62 and some parts of the M25. I think some places need express/collect which would help.

Pretty much all the places that need a motorway have one which means that not many entire new routes are needed, just increased capacity on existing routes...
Currently, way too much traffic in Britain goes via the M25. Sussex to Dover? M25. Dover to Cambridge? M25. Oxford to Cambridge? M25. Milton Keynes to Chelmsford? M25.

There should be an alternative to that, and it should look like something this:



(M27 Dover to Portsmouth, A34 upgraded to M34 from M3 to Oxford, brand new motorway from Oxford to Cambridge, brand new motorway from Cambridge to M2 [would need a massive bridge]).

This would solve most of the problems around London, however, unfortunately, it is completely unrealistic.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #2306
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I'm not really sure of that. The UK has a lot less motorway per capita than almost all other advanced countries. Some say this is because it's an island, but I do not believe that international traffic makes that much of a difference in mainland Europe.
I agree that "island" is unlikely to be a major contributing factor. What I do see as a major contributing factor is the shape of Britain: a standing rectangular. The bulk of the major population centers are within 20 kms from one of the two major North-South axes, namely London - Birmingham - Glasgow - Edinburgh and London - Leeds - Newcastle. Two backbone roads with branches every now and then will inevitably form a much shorter motorway network than a country like Germany or France, where long routes to all corners of the country are required (in grid or radial form). As such, Britain is very much comparable to Italy and Japan. Both countries with two major North-South axes but a relatively low number of motorways.

Probably for the same reason, both Britain and Italy rely quite heavily on expressways. As these are below motorway standard, they are out of the motorway statistics; yet mostly adequate in the regions where they have been built. Even though the latter point is one for a long discussion, as everyone has his wish list for upgrades ...
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Old May 13th, 2011, 11:19 PM   #2307
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You clearly haven't driven in in Britain. E.g. A27 near Chichester has 54k AADT and 7 roundabouts in 4 miles. It is a complete mess that looks more like India than western Europe! Lines of trucks, tractors, bicycles queueing up at tiny roundabouts and single-level junctions with local farms. England is absolutely desperate for new roads.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 03:39 AM   #2308
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.


I tend to agree - simply because journeys from the South East of England to the South West involve a fairly large 'detour' for so many users (for example M20, M25, M3 etc instead of a more direct route.) I'm no advocate of unfettered road building but, where there is a clear need, you have to take a serious look at the problem. The hidden cost of not building a route like this is the excess congestion and inconvenience suffered by users of the routes that get used as alternatives. Unfortunately, the dissenters who make themselves heard when new routes are proposed shout louder than masses who suffer on the existing, overloaded infrastructure.
I guess a lot of the A27 could be upgraded. In places it is motorway or near motorway standards anyway...
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Old May 14th, 2011, 03:46 AM   #2309
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I'm not really sure of that. The UK has a lot less motorway per capita than almost all other advanced countries. Some say this is because it's an island, but I do not believe that international traffic makes that much of a difference in mainland Europe.

For a start, London is in desperate need, though politically it's probably a non-starter for the foreseeable future as banal 19th and early 20th century buildings that exist in the hundreds of thousands are thought to all be worthy of saving.
More motorways isn't always better though. I'm not against them, but I feel that upgrading what we have, including several A roads should be done first before looking at entire new routes...

A lot of other western countries have a lot more urban motorways which is probably why that have more motorway miles...ours only bypass and connect, ending mostly at the city limits. I think this is right rather than demolish 1000s of homes e.g. London Ringways. People saw Westway in London and ran a mile. It only seems to be Glasgow thats building inner motorways, but then again its on old industrial land not residential areas...
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Old May 14th, 2011, 06:00 AM   #2310
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Currently, way too much traffic in Britain goes via the M25. Sussex to Dover? M25. Dover to Cambridge? M25. Oxford to Cambridge? M25. Milton Keynes to Chelmsford? M25.

There should be an alternative to that, and it should look like something this:



(M27 Dover to Portsmouth, A34 upgraded to M34 from M3 to Oxford, brand new motorway from Oxford to Cambridge, brand new motorway from Cambridge to M2 [would need a massive bridge]).

This would solve most of the problems around London, however, unfortunately, it is completely unrealistic.
Do people really go from Sussex to Dover via the M25 rather than just along the coast? I understand the coast road's not a motorway, but still....
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Old May 14th, 2011, 06:21 AM   #2311
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Do people really go from Sussex to Dover via the M25 rather than just along the coast? I understand the coast road's not a motorway, but still....
No...

If I lived in Brighton and wanted to get to Dover, I'd still take the A27, as crappy as it is. Taking the A23/M23 up to London, then back down again on the M25 / M20 would be bottom-line retarded. The south coast motorway / M27 extension from Folkestone to Plymouth would connect the Channel Tunnel to Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Plymouth, perhaps merging with an extended M5, thus bridging a very big gap and alleviating the M25 / Greater London area greatly from through traffic. The economic implications resulting in this road would be enormous, opening up much of the south coast major towns and cities to new opportunities, with a "fast link" to the continent.

The road needs to be built. The south coast is Britain's longest east/west landmass, yet most of it is without any kind of motorway. It would be just as important as the M4 & M62 motorways. Add to that, it would take a lot of traffic off the M4, saving further widening of that motorway and would provide a 2nd motorway route for those heading from London to the south coast & south west.

It would connect a LOT of dots and it could be landscaped enough to have minimal impact on the countryside in counties such as Dorset.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #2312
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You clearly haven't driven in in Britain. E.g. A27 near Chichester has 54k AADT and 7 roundabouts in 4 miles. It is a complete mess that looks more like India than western Europe! Lines of trucks, tractors, bicycles queueing up at tiny roundabouts and single-level junctions with local farms. England is absolutely desperate for new roads.
You are discussing incidents. I immediately take your word for the A27 and other A-roads that are in need of an upgrade. But imagine that they did and the UK would get, say, 1500 kilometers of new motorway (probably more new connections than you can wish for), then still the UK would be relatively low in the motorways-per-capita statistic. And that has to do with the principle that I described in my previous post.

Another part of that principle is that non-motorway expressways are more likely to work in countries with the geography of Britain, Italy and Japan than they are in a country with the geography of Germany, France or Spain. That is not to say that every route that does not form part of the backbone can be a dual carriageway A-route, but a large number of them can. And as I mentioned, upgrading the black spots in that A-network is not going to bring the UK to anything remotely close to a top spot in the motorway-per-capita statistic.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #2313
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The M4 between Windsor and London Heathrow. Pics were made using my telephone, so the quality is not too high - but acceptable in my view. See Panoramio for the pictures at full size.







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Old May 14th, 2011, 12:18 PM   #2314
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The south coast motorway / M27 extension from Folkestone to Plymouth would connect the Channel Tunnel to ... Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Plymouth, perhaps merging with an extended M5, thus bridging a very big gap and alleviating the M25 / Greater London area greatly from through traffic. The economic implications resulting in this road would be enormous, opening up much of the south coast major towns and cities to new opportunities, with a "fast link" to the continent.
All these places have a shorter route via the M25 than via Brighton (and Portsmouth is about the same), so it's not really a "fast link" to the continent as it wouldn't be any faster than the current route, especially once they've done the widening between J5 and J6 on the M25 (I think they might have gone with ATM, but even that would make the traffic flow a lot better on this, the peak-time problem with the M25 route from Dover to Southampton)

The South Coast Route is about Sussex traffic and is only of regional, not national importance - by all means it needs upgrades, but I think you are over selling the case massively.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #2315
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All these places have a shorter route via the M25 than via Brighton (and Portsmouth is about the same), so it's not really a "fast link" to the continent as it wouldn't be any faster than the current route, especially once they've done the widening between J5 and J6 on the M25 (I think they might have gone with ATM, but even that would make the traffic flow a lot better on this, the peak-time problem with the M25 route from Dover to Southampton)

The South Coast Route is about Sussex traffic and is only of regional, not national importance - by all means it needs upgrades, but I think you are over selling the case massively.
Just from looking at the map Southampton-Dover via the South coast is significantly more direct than via the M25. Google maps shows that it is slightly shorter, even given all the twists, turns, corners etc that would be ironed out if replaced by motorway.

Besides, I think the M25 is going to be congested whether it is widened or not if alternative routes aren't made. Often more than one route is needed, simply to avoid congestion.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 02:06 PM   #2316
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Just from looking at the map Southampton-Dover via the South coast is significantly more direct than via the M25. Google maps shows that it is slightly shorter, even given all the twists, turns, corners etc that would be ironed out if replaced by motorway.
M3-A31-A3-M25: 144miles
A27-A259 all the way along the coast:145 miles Avoiding Bexhill and Hastings will remove some mileage, as would sorting out the kinks, but you'd divert to avoid Hythe, Folkestone, etc.

The M3 all the way is 150 miles, compared to 149 miles along the South Coast trunk road, via Ashford.

It's closer than I thought, but it is certainly not significantly shorter via the coast - if a South Coast motorway is shorter, then it'll be by an insignificant amount.

Dover is about 10 miles more north than Southampton (level with Winchester), Brighton about 10 miles more south than So'ton. The M25 is about the same distance north of Dover's northing than Brighton is south of it - don't let that coastline deceive you into thinking it's a better route if the roads are the same quality.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #2317
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For a start, London is in desperate need, though politically it's probably a non-starter for the foreseeable future as banal 19th and early 20th century buildings that exist in the hundreds of thousands are thought to all be worthy of saving.
London is investing heavily in public transportation (Tube upgrade, Crossrail, Thameslink), I doubt they will give any attention to motorways anytime soon.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #2318
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Do people really go from Sussex to Dover via the M25 rather than just along the coast? I understand the coast road's not a motorway, but still....
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Originally Posted by Comfortably Numb View Post
No...

If I lived in Brighton and wanted to get to Dover, I'd still take the A27, as crappy as it is. Taking the A23/M23 up to London, then back down again on the M25 / M20 would be bottom-line retarded.
M25 is definitely the quickest way to Dover from Sussex. Definitely West Sussex, but my friend from Brighton also goes to Dover via M25. A27/A259 is not an option. Trust me on this one. I know those roads like the back of my hand, used to live there for quite a while.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 05:35 PM   #2319
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All these places have a shorter route via the M25 than via Brighton (and Portsmouth is about the same), so it's not really a "fast link" to the continent as it wouldn't be any faster than the current route, especially once they've done the widening between J5 and J6 on the M25 (I think they might have gone with ATM, but even that would make the traffic flow a lot better on this, the peak-time problem with the M25 route from Dover to Southampton)

The South Coast Route is about Sussex traffic and is only of regional, not national importance - by all means it needs upgrades, but I think you are over selling the case massively.
You completely ignore congestion and the M25 is always congested. If you factor in the traffic numbers and the amount of time that M25 is at a standstill then nobody in his sane mind would EVER choose to go to those places via the M25 over the "proposed" south coast motorway. The new south coast motorway would undoubtedly be the fast link to the continent for those places, absolutely not a single doubt about it. It would be about 20 miles shorter and less congested. It would also take lots of congestion off the M25. I am not even talking about benefits for the "local" (Sussex/Hampshire) traffic (it can take a couple of hours to go from Brighton to Portsmouth nowadays, which is ridiculous given the distance).
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Old May 14th, 2011, 08:50 PM   #2320
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You completely ignore congestion and the M25 is always congested.
No I don't - partially as that isn't true. Certainly it it's perfectly fine outside of rush hour - busy, but not going to hold you up. And most of the rush hour hold ups will be sorted by the J5-6 improvements, hence why I mentioned it.
Quote:
If you factor in the traffic numbers and the amount of time that M25 is at a standstill then nobody in his sane mind would EVER choose to go to those places via the M25 over the "proposed" south coast motorway.
So what you are saying is that there won't be lots of traffic using the SCM? Don't forget that the SCM won't justify D3M (and it would be too difficult to widen the Brighton bypass, so there's little point in having the empty bits as 3-lanes each way), so you'd have the problem of lorries overtaking each other and lots of travelling at 56mph on the SCM.
Quote:
The new south coast motorway would undoubtedly be the fast link to the continent for those places, absolutely not a single doubt about it.
I'd have thought that the train, or a fast boat from Portsmouth would be quicker to large parts of continent. And what is your estimate for additional delays on the M25 compared with the SCM?
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It would be about 20 miles shorter
It would only just be 20 miles shorter from Brighton to Dover - and even then that depends on it's route being a few miles shorter than the current route. And given we're talking about Southampton and places westward here, and not Portsmouth and Brighton, saying something stupid like it being 20 miles shorter really makes me question whether you've looked at a map, or my last post where I blew this stupid argument out of the water with actual evidence.
Quote:
It would also take lots of congestion off the M25.
Not really - there's not a huge amount of traffic on the M25 doing those journeys - at least compared to total traffic on those bits of the M25. You're overselling the case for this road, and undermining the case for it in the process.
Quote:
I am not even talking about benefits for the "local" (Sussex/Hampshire) traffic (it can take a couple of hours to go from Brighton to Portsmouth nowadays, which is ridiculous given the distance).
Please do talk about local and regional benefits - there's a much much better case for a South Coast expressway (motorway won't happen) in those benefits than in false tales of national importance - in fact those false tales undermine your case as it makes it sound like you are stupid.

The strength of the case for an SCM is in the currently poor road links to Hastings and Eastbourne compared to other towns their size, the sillyness of trunk traffic heading through central Bexhill and Hastings, the sheer amount of traffic on the A27 in Worthing and on the Arundel and Chichester bypasses and journey times from Brighton to Portsmouth and Hastings. It's not in removing a small fraction of the traffic from a busy road that is being upgraded anyway, and it's certainly not in shortening a route by not actually shortening it, but that's what you are using as the main selling point.

I'm not against upgrading the South Coast Route at all - in fact I'm very much for it. What I am against is dumbass reasons to build a motorway, especially if they are being put front and centre, undermining support for it as people see the falsehood in these reasons and think you have no grasp at all on reality and road needs.
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