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Old June 21st, 2010, 11:33 PM   #1181
DanielFigFoz
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You've changed your opinion on British signs in the last few months I see.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 02:18 AM   #1182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
My POV about the British Motorways;

The alignment is generally superior to that of any other motorway system in Europe. The roads are wide, built with six lanes from the late 1950's onwards, and have a very gentle alignment, few sections would really qualify as "substandard" compared to what you see on the mainland. The exit density is not very low, but also not very high, and the number of exits (junctions) in urban areas is lower compared to other European countries, which should improve traffic flow.

Traffic volumes are generally high, because large cities are never far apart for the most part of England. Some motorways have 100.000 + volumes for over 150 miles in a row, something that is unheard of in most of Europe. Traffic volumes, however, are not exceptionally high, the busiest section is M25 near Heathrow Airport at 210.000 vehicles per day. Not uncommon among other European cities, not to mention the United States or Canada.

The signage is generally okay. It looks kinda weird at first for a non-British national, but once you've seen more of it, it is certainly adequate. The signs are generally legible, with a good font, good colors and logical, albeit slightly regional choice of control cities. The British signage is also fairly consistent, you know what to expect. A slight downside are the massive gantries with a lot of sign-size differences, gray backgrounds, which are a bit monstrous. I'm also not really a fan of road numbers in plain text and 4-digit road numbers, but that's more personally.
I agree with pretty much all of that. The gantries are sometimes necessary, but often over engineered. I'd also like road numbers to be boxed off but I don't think it's a huge problem really.

Yes, there are tons of 4-digit road numbers, as soon as you get out in the sticks. They can be annoying as you'll often get roads which have identical first three numbers, with only the last differing. These are mostly B-roads and are the result of a large country having a nationwide system even for regional roads. I'd personally replace B-roads with a regional system.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 08:07 PM   #1183
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Is there a particular reason why British motorways are so wide compared to the rest of Europe?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:26 PM   #1184
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Mainly because traffic volumes are high, and the motorway-network is rather limited. A lot of traffic is funneled down to a motorway, instead of alternative routes.

However, it's mind-blowing when you consider they constructed six lane motorways back in the 50's for a traffic volume of less than 20.000 vehicles. The UK ought to be very thankful for the futuristic planning of the 50's and 60's.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 02:24 AM   #1185
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Mainly because traffic volumes are high, and the motorway-network is rather limited. A lot of traffic is funneled down to a motorway, instead of alternative routes.

However, it's mind-blowing when you consider they constructed six lane motorways back in the 50's for a traffic volume of less than 20.000 vehicles. The UK ought to be very thankful for the futuristic planning of the 50's and 60's.
It's really surprising how ahead of their time they're thinking. In may European countries they built 4 lanes motorways that are now being upgraded to 6-lanes because of the increasing traffic volume.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 03:56 AM   #1186
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It's really surprising how ahead of their time they're thinking. In may European countries they built 4 lanes motorways that are now being upgraded to 6-lanes because of the increasing traffic volume.
That's the problem... they were but not are. It's easier to upgrade a 2+2 to 3+3 than build a new one which is so desperately needed (such as the Coastal motorway in the south connecting Portsmouth with Brighton et al). Every time I drive in those areas I keep swearing... and stop occasionally to let my stomach settle so that the breakfast and/or lunch wouldn't end up on the dash due to all those winding narrow roads and roundabouts. I can't understand why this is being tolerated by the public. I wonder why they didn't do that in the 50's though. They surely had some good visions and plans.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:00 AM   #1187
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There's absolutely nothing being upgraded right now?

Yes, I've read about that coastal motorway before.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:12 AM   #1188
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There's absolutely nothing being upgraded right now?

Yes, I've read about that coastal motorway before.
I have no idea what's being upgraded but it's certainly not the A27 which is overdue for about 30 years by now. Driving conditions are unacceptable there and this is due to the lack of a motorway or at least a decent 2+2 road without roundabouts or level junctions. It's enough to drive or even look at the map to realise what I'm talking about. Residential density in this area is comparable to that of Rhine-Ruhr region.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:38 AM   #1189
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British motorways are indeed great. I love the wide lanes, the fact that you have acres of time to merge, the wonderful drivers and the clear signage. However, there should be MORE OF THEM (motorways). Plug the friggin' gaps, FFS! Some of Britain's trunk roads could easily be converted to full motorway standard. I made a map when I was drunk and posted it here (see earlier in the thread), but it covers ALL of the roads that are near-motorways and that should be upgraded to full motorway standard, complete with hard shoulders. The truth is that Britain's motorways are some of the finest on earth, in terms of ease of use and pure driving pleasure. So just to recap:

- Make the A34 the A34(M)
- Upgrade the entire A1 from London to Edinburgh to motorway standard
- Built a "South Coast Motorway", i.e. the M27 from Folkestone to Plymouth.
- Build a trans-Pennine Manchester to Sheffield motorway
- Make the M42 in the West Midlands a ring road by finally building the western orbital blue route, linking the M5 at Bromsgrove to the M6/M6 toll near Cannock.
- Convert the near-motorway stretches of the A12, A13 to motorway standard
- Make the A14 the A14(M) all the way from the M6 to Felixtowe.
- Make the A3 motorway standard all the way from London to Portsmouth
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 08:33 AM   #1190
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Quote:
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I wonder why they didn't do that in the 50's though. They surely had some good visions and plans.
The mentality was completely different in the 50s: post-war optimism; eager to modernise and construct a road network for the future. No anti-roads lobby meant that ambitious motorway plans were drawn up.

It's not all doom and gloom... at least the UK railways have improved (a bit) over the last decade with some realistic investment! I can't see many new projects emerging over the next decade however, even if the will is there. The massive budget deficit will see to that...
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 01:18 PM   #1191
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... The truth is that Britain's motorways are some of the finest on earth, in terms of ease of use and pure driving pleasure ...
By definition, motorways are easy to use and provide driving pleasure.
I've yet to come across a motorway that does not fulfil these objectives, although I daresay the M25 in rush hour must detract quite a bit from this rule (but then, try using local roads instead to get home and you'll understand what I mean).

In my opinion, British motorways are average to good. On the positive side is the 3-lane standard, good information density, no tolls (mostly), and above average driving manners, generally speaking.

On the negative side is the road noise, quirky and often inconsistent signage with no long-distance control cities, poor network density in relation to the wealth of the country and the low max speed, which I am sure most drivers ignore. Service stations are famously very poor value for money and the food is of low nutritional value.

Taking a more global view I would say that many countries would go to war to have the kind of motorway network that Britain has enjoyed for decades. However, claiming that British motorways are some of the finest on Earth is stretching it a bit.


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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:02 PM   #1192
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On the negative side is the road noise, quirky and often inconsistent signage with no long-distance control cities, poor network density in relation to the wealth of the country and the low max speed, which I am sure most drivers ignore. Service stations are famously very poor value for money and the food is of low nutritional value..
Well, that is a problem common to many countries. Service stations are stupidly expensive for what they do.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 06:01 PM   #1193
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Well, that is a problem common to many countries. Service stations are stupidly expensive for what they do.
From what I remember, service stations are sonehat better on the continent. British service stations are like US service stations, in terms of the restaurants, etc. With that being said, you can take your own lunch and just use service stations to just park and rest for a while.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 07:01 PM   #1194
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British service stations have huge toilets. In southern France even the blokes have to queue!!
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 07:35 PM   #1195
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Originally Posted by Comfortably Numb View Post

- Make the A34 the A34(M)
- Upgrade the entire A1 from London to Edinburgh to motorway standard
- Built a "South Coast Motorway", i.e. the M27 from Folkestone to Plymouth.
- Build a trans-Pennine Manchester to Sheffield motorway
- Make the M42 in the West Midlands a ring road by finally building the western orbital blue route, linking the M5 at Bromsgrove to the M6/M6 toll near Cannock.
- Convert the near-motorway stretches of the A12, A13 to motorway standard
- Make the A14 the A14(M) all the way from the M6 to Felixtowe.
- Make the A3 motorway standard all the way from London to Portsmouth
The Chancellor announced that most government departments (including transport) will suffer budget cuts of at least 25%. As good as all those plans would be, none of them are going to get built any time soon. Pity really...
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Old June 24th, 2010, 01:41 AM   #1196
Comfortably Numb
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British service stations have huge toilets. In southern France even the blokes have to queue!!
That's because we drink more and therefore need to piss more frequently than the French.

Last edited by Comfortably Numb; June 24th, 2010 at 04:11 AM.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #1197
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A good highway designer plans with increasing volume in the future in mind. Similarly, a good service station designer should know that in the future, a lot of guys are gonna have to take a leak. That's why in America, highway service stations almost never have more than one person at a time waiting for a toilet, and even then that's mostly just because it's a small store with only one men's toilet. We actually EXPECT that everyone has to pee multiple times a day.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 05:40 PM   #1198
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Originally Posted by nerdly_dood View Post
A good highway designer plans with increasing volume in the future in mind. Similarly, a good service station designer should know that in the future, a lot of guys are gonna have to take a leak. That's why in America, highway service stations almost never have more than one person at a time waiting for a toilet, and even then that's mostly just because it's a small store with only one men's toilet. We actually EXPECT that everyone has to pee multiple times a day.
I think they're talking about service areas of the sort we only have on toll roads, or former toll roads, in the U.S. Rest areas with food places and gift shops included....
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Old June 24th, 2010, 05:55 PM   #1199
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Indeed, I've been caught up in queues at the toilets on a service station somewhere in France. Not pleasant.

That said, the food is far, far superior. You get baguettes and other things. The best you hope for in the UK is that a reputable chain such as KFC or McDonalds is present, but then, still expect to pay extortionate prices.

I rarely buy anything at service stations. I just buy a drink and a packet of crips before I set out.

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Old June 24th, 2010, 07:14 PM   #1200
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Indeed, I've been caught up in queues at the toilets on a service station somewhere in France. Not pleasant.

That said, the food is far, far superior. You get baguettes and other things. The best you hope for in the UK is that a reputable chain such as KFC or McDonalnds is present, but then, still expect to pay extortionate prices.

I rarely buy anything at service stations. I just buy a drink and a packet of crips before I set out.
Exatcly, the rest areas in France are far superior compared to UK. In france you can have some nice restaurants or there are hundreads of different sandwiches, baguettes, Tartes! ( Tarte au citron is my fav) where in uk you get Burger King or costa or starbucks...
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