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Old August 5th, 2009, 02:22 AM   #681
geogregor
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On Monday there was interesting documentary on BBC4 about motorways in UK.
Have you seen it guys?
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Old August 5th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #682
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielFigFoz View Post
If you take into consideraiton the thousands of miles of rural motorways in the US, which are mostly 2 lanes in each direction, you could say that even more than three lanes in eac direction is relativly rare.
Those superhighways really only exist in major cities. Here in Florida, Miami has a few 5x5 or even 6x6 expressways (I-95 and SR-826 for example), but once you get into the sticks, it's mostly 2x2 or 3x3.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 02:10 PM   #683
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
On Monday there was interesting documentary on BBC4 about motorways in UK.
Have you seen it guys?
Sadly, no... any chances of seeing it again ?
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Old August 5th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #684
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
On Monday there was interesting documentary on BBC4 about motorways in UK.
Have you seen it guys?
Yes, it's been shown before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mateusz View Post
Sadly, no... any chances of seeing it again ?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...of_the_Affair/
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Old August 5th, 2009, 04:24 PM   #685
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
On Monday there was interesting documentary on BBC4 about motorways in UK.
Have you seen it guys?
I've seen 2 of the 3 parts of that documentary a few times. It is certainly very interesting, especially for us few road geeks!

Oh, and first post and all that...
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Old August 10th, 2009, 12:52 AM   #686
Pansori
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Are A road pictures allowed in this thread?

I took these pictures of A27 today from Mill Hill (that is near Brighton) with my mobile phone. Quite a landscape over there! I will get back with a proper camera and tele lens for some nighshots next time.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr
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Old August 10th, 2009, 01:47 AM   #687
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Originally Posted by Pansori View Post
Are A road pictures allowed in this thread?

I took these pictures of A27 today from Mill Hill (that is near Brighton) with my mobile phone. Quite a landscape over there! I will get back with a proper camera and tele lens for some nighshots next time.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr
In many countries, that would be considered a motorway anyway.

Great scenery BTW....your phone takes really good pictures.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 02:03 AM   #688
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Yeah it's a fairly good road. No much different from some motorways. One thing it lacks though is proper hard shoulders.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #689
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we are anyway in lack with photos from GB so all photos are welcome indeed
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Old August 10th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #690
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A27 is not a very good road. It has good sections but it has some really poor ones. The section from Portsmouth to Chichester is quite good, similar to above. However, there are too many roundabouts (about 5) near Chichester and it gets worse around Arundel and Littlehampton where it becomes a B road with a few roundabouts (this is due to the fact that the road works were blocked by local farmers).


From then on, the Littlehampton-Worthing section is good again (similar to above), but it goes through Worthing town where it is very slow all the way to Lancing. The section you see in Pansori's photos above is the Lancing-Lewes section, which is the best section of the road. After Lewes it is a single carriageway all the way to Eastbourne.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #691
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The A27 around Portsmouth is nearly a motorway. There are 3 to 4 lanes with full-width hard shoulders so it could be considered as part of the M27 (Junctions 13 to 15).

Apparently there is no official alternative route for non-motorway traffic, so it remains an A-road. However, the former A27 runs parallel through the middle of Havant and Cosham. It could easily be reinstated. As is stands, though, this means the the A3(M) is isolated from the rest of the motorway network.

These sections are called (unofficially, I think) 'secret motorways'. Other such sections are the following: A1 in East Lothian, Scotland - A55 in North Wales - A167 in Newcastle - A533/A557/A558 in Runcorn, Chesire.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 12:15 AM   #692
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleetz View Post
Littlehampton where it becomes a B road with a few roundabouts (this is due to the fact that the road works were blocked by local farmers).
I'll post a map illustration of that:

Blue brackets show the A27 where it is a dual carriageway road. The red lines show where (I guess) it should have gone if not the protests (?) due to which the section has never been completed.

image hosted on flickr


I wonder if they are going to improve the situation? Because driving through that particular stretch of A27 is quite miserable.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:44 PM   #693
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Yep, but not as miserable as driving on A27 through Worthing where it becomes a very narrow single-lane city road with two extremely busy roundabouts and loads of local traffic. The road A27 and road A24, which is also a very busy road, actually turn into one (called A24) for half a mile or so (as below) and its impossible to drive through that section during peak hours! Worthing DESPERATELY needs at least two bypasses in place of those annoying roundabouts!

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Old August 20th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #694
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I think the British Motorway system is by and large fine as it is. Many people are scandalised at the idea that it's inferior to the motoway systems of so many other European countries. I for one do believe the notion that 'you cannot build your way out of congestion'. Britain is more densely populated than most other European countries so you simply can't have everyone driving their cars all the time. The railway system of the country is essentially sound, only a bit old. Ironically enough the problem with British railway is actually quality rather than quantity. All it needs is some junction alterations and signalling improvements. Progress is on the way and it does have the potential to become an even better alternative to the car. For most high-volumn journeys the train is already a much better option - trying Birmingham - London in 90 minutes in a car. Ticket flexibility would also be nice too.

Aethetically I think anything more than 4 lanes is hard to manage as a driver. If you start turning local roads into motorways and build duplicates then you really do end up spoiling the beautiful but already precious countryside. Many drivers prefer the A1(M) to the M1 because the M1 is too boring. Having a variety of road widths and an odd roundabout here and there is actually quite nice. For all intents and purposes most dual-carriageways do just a fine job as motorways - the obtainable top speeds are essentially the same, roundabouts may take an extra 5 minutes but a variety helps keep you awake. I don't believe motorways in Britain need any major capacity boosts - most of the time even with a bit of congestion 40 or 50 mph is still obtainable. Britain is very fortunate to have very good drivers - everybody drives at almost identical speeds, something that won't happen for 100 years in America or China. British Motorways are still pretty free-flowing with its high AADT. Trust me if Chinese motorways had this level of AADT everything would be at a standstill.

That's not to say however that nothing at all needs to be done about the system. There are bottlenecks that still need to be widened and bypassed, but I'd keep it at that. Perhaps it is true that too much power is given to the NIMBYs and tree-huggers. I suspect the underlying problem is that people are nolonger talking to each other, each fearing if any compromise is made it's the start of a slippery slope.

As for signage, I think the British system is just fine. In fact I feel it's quite systematic - it's very easy once you understand how it works. It uses a checkpoint system, such that on your way from Liverpool to Leeds, it doesn't give you Leeds straightaway, so you look for (for example) Warrington, then Manchester, then Rochdale, then Huddersfield, then Leeds. I think that's the least amount of work that can be expected from any driver. If you can't even handle this little amount of basic geographic information then you simply shouldn't be on the roads.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #695
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Nah, I think a certain amount of congestion will always appear around cities. Simply too many people go to work at the same time. However, traffic jams on rural sections can be solved. You rarely need more than 6 lanes on rural motorways, and 8 if needs to be. Road transport is still the backbone of the economy, especially with todays "just in time" economy where warehouses, distribution centers, supermarkets, and factories don't keep expensive large stocks anymore, it can be a matter of hours before such companies run empty and the customers are gonna feel it.

Major truck corridors should be 6 lanes, and even 8 lanes around cities if necessary. Idling hours are very expensive and can hurt an economy, I'm sure y'all read about the billions lost because of traffic congestion.

In the case of London, I don't traffic congestion is avoidable in the city itself, but M25 should be widened to 8 or even 10 lanes to keep the traffic moving around the city. I think London's main problem is that there isn't a good orbital around the city center. Yeah A406 is somewhat of a substitute, but especially trips that don't go to the city center are hard to handle with public transportation, since they focus on city centers and urban subcenters. But M25 is too far out, so people chose the surface streets instead.

I think the Paris setup, with a center orbital, and a suburban orbital (A86 if completed) is better. Through traffic can use the third orbital. In the case of London, one either needs to use M25 or the surface streets.

However, there's not much one can change about that. A new beltway around central London is out of the question, since all of it is densely build, or they have to chose an underground beltway, much like Madrid's M30.

I wonder though, since they do not build new motorways anymore, where does all the funding go to? I mean, they must've had significant funds in the 60's and 70's to construct the motorways, but has the budget been cut back since? The main problem in most of the modern countries is that road construction costs have tripled or even more (adjusted to inflation), but budgets haven't, so you can build less with the same funds.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #696
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Also no amount of public transport will solve the A303 Stonehenge problem. What they need is a government who'll stop pandering so much to the green lobby and build that damn bypass.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 07:02 PM   #697
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As for orbital traffic, the London Overground network when it's fully operational will, probably not completely solve, but help a great deal towards alleviate the traffic problems.

As for the A303, there are rather a few single-carriageway sections that could do with dualling. When the road is already mostly dual-carriageway then removing bottle-necks actually makes environmental sense, as less congestion = less pollution. However I am in favour of a generally environmentally sensitive attitude.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 07:20 PM   #698
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I wonder though, since they do not build new motorways anymore, where does all the funding go to?
It is not strictly true to say that there is no new construction on the motorways--M74 Glasgow southern orbital is going forward, as is A1(M) Dishforth-Darrington, M25 widening DBFO, etc. Labour massively cut spending on trunk road construction with the so-called "New Deal for Trunk Roads" but even so lengths of new or widened motorway have opened in virtually every year Labour has been in power (since 1997).

Quote:
I mean, they must've had significant funds in the 60's and 70's to construct the motorways, but has the budget been cut back since? The main problem in most of the modern countries is that road construction costs have tripled or even more (adjusted to inflation), but budgets haven't, so you can build less with the same funds.
There was significant funding (in real terms) in the 1960's and early 1970's, but this was greatly cut in the years following 1973 as a result of the Middle Eastern oil crisis. The Thatcher-Major years brought a partial recovery (completion of the M25 and M40), but I don't think construction funding was hiked back to 1960's levels in real terms. The Major government brought in the so-called "fuel tax escalator" and Labour continued it for a number of years until fuel tax protests in 2000 forced a rethink of the policy.

The fuel tax escalator consisted of above-inflation increases in the fuel tax year on year, but it was intended as a straightforward Pigouvian tax on car usage with the entire proceeds of the fuel tax going into general government revenues. As far as I am aware, no part of UK motor fuel tax is dedicated specifically to maintaining or extending the road network, and in practice motorists derate other areas of government spending such as health care.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 07:26 PM   #699
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As far as I am aware, no part of UK motor fuel tax is dedicated specifically to maintaining or extending the road network, and in practice motorists derate other areas of government spending such as health care.
I think this is true for most European governments. The Dutch fuel tax brings in about € 12 billion, while only 2.8 billion is spend on roads. Even total infrastructure (including waterworks) do not exceed 8 billion. And I'm not even counting other road-related taxes such as the monthly road tax and purchase tax which also brings in additional billions.

I don't mind paying taxes to fund needed basics like health care and education, but I get a bit anxious when people say they can't build a road because there's not enough money. There is enough money, but it's spend otherwise.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 07:34 PM   #700
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Yes, the "not enough money" alibi is irritating, particularly when refashioned as a justification for using some other method of financing road construction (like tolls) which adds financing charges to the actual construction cost.

As far as I am aware, the federal government in the US and the majority of American states are the only jurisdictions worldwide which have laws stipulating that motoring tax revenues must be spent on highways (or, in California's case, on transportation in general). Britain used to have a similar rule but it collapsed in the 1920's.
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