National Archives 2003-04-24
Arrived at the PRO much as normal.
This contains incorporation articles etc for a company in Liverpool, Wallasey Motorways Ltd, which was basically a car dealership/garage rather than a company to build motorways. It is outside the scope of this thesis.
This contains incorporation articles etc for a company called Motorways (1930) Ltd., which was a motorcoach operation rather than a company to build motorways. It, too, is outside the scope of this thesis.
This contains a large number of miscellaneous files, mostly from the Lord Privy Seal’s office. (It is not clear why files pertaining to the LPS should have a BT designation. Need to investigate using the leaflets.) Most of the material is redundant (RS 1026 has nearly all of it), but the following letter from the Town Clerk of Newcastle-under-Lyme is of interest:
Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Town Clerk’s Office Newcastle-under-Lyme Staffordshire
10th January, 1930
A few years ago a Syndicate headed by the late Lord Montagu of Beaulieu prepared a scheme for constructing a Motorway from Birmingham to Manchester and Liverpool which would pass through this Borough. A survey of the route was made and plans were prepared for constructing the road to be used solely for motor traffic and crossing or going under the existing roads. This would obviate all dangerous crossings and also enable heavy motor traffic to travel at a much higher speed. It was hoped to get Government Assistance in the matter and the plans were fully considered by the Ministry of Transport. Owing to the fact that it was proposed to charge a toll for using the road and also that it was to be a privately constructed road, the Ministry of Transport would not support the cheme financially. This project is at the present time backed by the Cities of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, and also the Boroughs of Birkenhead and Newcastle-under-Lyme. It would connect up to the recently constructed Mersey Tunnel and in addition to finding work for the unemployed would hasten very materially the unemployment of the area through which it runs.
My object in writing is to call your attention to the fact that here is a scheme ready to hand actually in being with all the plans prepared which could be put into operation by the Ministry of Transport, as a Government work at once. This scheme would not only be relieving unemployment but also developing trade facilities in the country.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
J Griffiths Town Clerk
Rt Hon JH Thomas Lord Privy Seal The Treasury Whitehall, SW1
Interesting that the Clerk does not actually say whether the road in present form was to be tolled or privately run, yet the Ministry’s objection to it is the familiar one that Road Fund monies cannot be used to build a toll road.
This file is being gone into just to extract some very important documents—including Cook’s memorandum on post-war planning and motorways. Although this is a very long document, at 13 pages, retyping is probably best as the existing copies are all in poor shape and have low contrast and would not photograph well.
DG Copies to DDG (IT) [IT = Inland Transport, apparently] Mr Tolerton Mr P Wilson Mr Hart Mr Lyddon
POST WAR PLANNING AND MOTORWAYS.
The most important question of post-war road policy on which a decision is required is whether we are to proceed on the supposition that we shall provide a comprehensive system of motorways for long-distance traffic, i.e., public roads designed and reserved for the exclusive use of motor vehicles, with a minimum number of connections to the existing road system, with no traffic streams crossing on the level, with all vehicles from and to the connecting roads entering and leaving in the direction of the traffic flow on the motorway, and with no access from frontage lands.
Up to the present policy has been determined by the principles laid down by a former Minister (Mr Hore-Belisha) who in November 1936, in reply to a Parliamentary question whether he had considered the planning of a system of motorways, stated:
“I have often given consideration to this matter, but, in a thickly populated and thickly roaded country such as ours, I am not prepared to recommend embarking on the construction of an entirely new road system. I think our task is to improve the system we now have.”
Largely as a result of the construction of the German autobahnen a body of opinion has grown up in favor of the provision of motorways in this country. This found expression in reports made in 1937, following a visit to Germany by a Delegation which included the Parliamentary Road Group, and, in 1938, the then Minister (Mr Leslie Burgin), after a personal inspection of the autobahnen and receiving a deputation from the Delegation, prepared a note for the Cabinet in which he recommended that, as an experiment, approval should be given to a scheme put forward by the Lancashire County Council for the construction of a motorway 62 miles in length from north to south parallel to the existing trunk road between Carnforth and Warrington. Following correspondence with the Chancellor (Sir John Simon), Mr Burgin agreed, however, that in view of the national financial position he could not at that time pursue the proposal.
In 1939 the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Prevention of Road Accidents recommended, in the light of evidence given to them about the autobahnen but without committing themselves to approval of a system of motorways, that an experimental motorway should be built from London to Birmingham.
Last year, in response to an invitation from the Minister of Works and Buildings, reprsntations in favor of motorways were made by the County Surveyors’ Society. The County Councils’ Association had previously expressed to the Minister of Transport their desire to confer with him on the recommendations made by the County Surveyors’ Society, but no action was taken. One of the Panels appointed by the Institution of Civil Engineers to consider proposals for post-war planning supported the recommendations of the County Surveyors’ Society, and propaganda to the same effect continues in the public and technical press.
The matter cannot be deemed to have been settled once and for all by what Mr Hore-Belisha said six years ago. National requirements need to be assessed afresh and a decision arrived at in the light, not of conditions which obtained in 1936, but of the anticipated social, industrial and economic needs of the post-war world.
The decision now sought is one of general principle as to whether it is in the national interest that the construction of a system of motorways shall form part of the post-war programme. This is the primary issue. A secondary consideration is whether particular sections of roads, no matter of what length, eg certain bypasses, or roads serving terminal points, should be designed for the exclusive use of motor vehicles. This latter question should be determined in the light of the particular purpose which each such road is required to serve, and, though it involves restriction of traffic to an extent not hitherto practiced in this country, it does not raise the broad considerations inherent in a system of motorays intended to supplement and form part of the national road system.
It is impossible to state in general terms what proportion of the traffic at present carried on existing roads would be likely to be transferred to a system of motorways. The traffic using a motorway running from one terminal point to another will include that which serves intermediate points, and its volume will be determined, not only by the distance between the terminals but, in no small degree, by the alignment of the route in relation to intermediate centres of population and by the number and location of the points of connection to the existing road system. Precise statements on many aspects of motorways can only be made in respect of a motorway of which the alignment, terminal points and other features have been determined in relation to the functions it is designed to discharge.
MOTORWAYS IN OTHER COUNTRIES
It will be useful briefly to state the reasons which led to the adoption of motorways in other countries.
The Italian autostrade were the first motor roads to be built in Europe, at their inception they were toll roads constructed by private undertakers to whom the State granted a licence for 50 years and gave financial assistance by way of a partial guarantee of interest and repayment of capital. They were planned at a time when the national road system had, in consequence of the war of 1914-18, fallen into disrepair, and were intended to stimulate the motor industry and to attract tourists.
Germany was the first country to embark upon a system (6,000 miles were projected) of toll-free motor highways. It has been stated in a memorandum of the Anglo-German Information Service that the reasons which led to the decision to construct the autobahnen were:
A The condition of the existing road system which was unsuitable for modern traffic and incapable of improvement and expansion to meet the traffic needs of the immediate future. The autobahnen were planned to provide for the traffic of a distant future and as part of a new European road system.
B Road building was part of the economic policy of the National Socialist Party directed, above all, to the extermination of unemployment. It was considered that the construction of the autobahnen would provide employment on a large scale on the works themselves, in the industries supplying road materials and in the motor industry.
C The new unified road system would contribute considerably to the strengthening of Germany’s newly gained political unity. Economically, it would stimulate internal trade; politically, it would bring the people nearer to each other and so increase their sense of unity.
It was further stated in the same memorandum, that when the construction of the autobahnen was put in hand the number of motor cars (10) to each 1,000 of the population was less than a third of the number in Great Britain and France, and that the agricultural districts of northern Germany were suffering from trade depression consequent, in part, on lack of adequate roads. No reference was made to military requirements or prospective military advantages.
Germany and Italy are the only countries in which a system of motorways strictly speaking has been constructed. Special roads (sometimes mistakenly referred to as motor roads) have been recently built or planned in France, Holland and Belgium, and though their purpose is mainly to serve mechanically propelled vehicles provision is made for their use by other forms of traffic.
Roads in the USA which most closely approximate to the autobahnen are the “parkways” or “freeways.” “Parkways” (generally on the outskirts of large cities) may be mere strips, or of considerable width, to which there is no direct access from abutting properties. ‘Hikers’ parths and bridle roads are fairly common features, but there is no serious attempt to make provision for pedestrians as an essential feature of the parkway route. The rule is to exclude commercial vehicles from parkways, and I gathered (when visiting America in 1937) that a similar ban would be placed on pedal cyclists. Save in the case of routes which were formerly public highways, parkways are administered by Parks Commissioners who control their own police force. There is a fairly general speed limit of 35 MPH. A “freeway” is defined by the State Legislature of Rhode Island as “a way specially designed for through traffic over which abutters have no easement or right of light, air or access by reason of the fact that their property abuts on such way.” Another type of road is called an “express highway.” This is a road which may be elevated above or placed below ground level, and connected to the normal street system by approach ramps at intervals. Its main purpose is to conduct traffic to and from the centre of a city where vehicle congestion is intense, without adding to obstructions in existing streets. There seems no likelihood of, or demand for, the adoption of such a system as the autobahnen in the USA or Canada, but their public highways are in effect motorways, since they are almost entirely confined to the use of motor vehicles, not by intention, but by reason of the very sparse cycle and (outside built-up areas) pedestrian traffic.
CASE FOR MOTORWAYS IN BRITAIN
In the report of the German Roads Delegation (1937) it is stated that the advantages of the autobahnen apply with equal force to traffic conditions in Britain as elsewhere; they are described as follows:
1 The system as a whole secures the maximum capacity in main road communication, involving a minimum mileage of new road construction and capital outlay. 2 The routes are located at distance from the large towns they serve and upon land generally involving the least cost of acquisition and compensation. 3 The maximum safety of movement and freedom of traffic flow is attained on these roads, with a resultant relief to traffic upon the old road system. 4 A reduction in the cost of traffic operation is attained, with other material advantages. 5 The construction of new roads upon this scale brings into operation means and methods which accelerate construction and ensure the most efficient employment of labor, thus giving the public the speediest return for the large financial outlay necessary. 6 Works on such a scale can with care be executed so as to cause no loss of amenities or desecration of the landscape.
These arguments were addressed to the Minister of Transport (Mr Leslie Burgin) when he received representatives of the Deputation, who also stated they were greed that motorways should be separate from and additional to the existing road system, that the provision of motorways should not prejudice the improvement of trunk roads to the high standard now contemplated, that access to motorways should be strictly limited, that both commercial and private motors should be allowed to use them and that motorways would be of greater value to commercial and business transport than to the private motorist.
The County Surveyors’ Society in their letter to the Minister of Works and Buildings generally supported these views. They advanced the further arguments that a certain number of entirely new road was necessary in this country and would provide muchneeded facilities for commercial traffic; would render unnecessary extensive reconstruction of trunk roads connecting the same large centres of population, and that the rsultant removal of a large volume of motor traffic from the existing road system would increase the latter’s utility for pedal cyclists and pedestrians without necessarily having to make further provision for them. These are the most comprehensive statements that have been made by the advocates of motorways in Britain, and they are examined in this memorandum.
EARLIER PROPOSALS FOR MOTORWAYS IN BRITAIN
It may be useful briefly to refer to certain schemes promoted for the construction of motor roads in this country.
In 1923 a private bill was presented to Parliament making provision for the construction by the Northern and Western Motorway Company of a toll motorway, 110 miles in length, between Coventry and Salford. The width between fences was to be 100 feet, and the carriageway initially constructed to a width of 40 feet. The Coventry-Salford road was regarded by its promoters as the first instalment of a motor road 226 miles in length between London and Liverpool, and they estimated the cost of works and land at £6,583,000 or £60,000 per mile. In 1924, the then Minister of Trnsport (Mr Harry Gosling) announced in Parliament that the Government were not prepared to give assistance to the scheme, and it was abandoned.
In the 1928/9 session, a bill known as the Southern Motor Road Bill was deposited. It provided for a toll motor road 37 miles in length, from London to Brighton, with a 40 ft carriageway. The cost was estimated by the promoters at £2,900,000 or £77,700 per mile. The proposal, which was opposed by various bodies and was unfavourably viewed by this Department and by the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, was subsequently withdrawn.
Apart from a proposal made in 1938 by a member of the Kent County Council, for the construction of a motorway from the Dartford Tunnel Approach and the Sidcup Bypass to the western side of Folkestone, the only concrete scheme is that submitted in 1936 by the Lancashire County Council for a road running north and south through Lancashire from Carnforth to Warrington, planned to be continued southward through Cheshire to the Midlands. This road is designed to have an effective width of 85 feet with dual 23 feet carriageways. The estimate for its construction, including land and including half the cost of a high-level bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal at the Cheshire boundary, is £4,925,000. This represents an average cost of £77,000 per mile, excluding the section on which the high-level bridge is situate. As stated above, it was the intention of the Minister (Mr Leslie Burgin) to seek the approval of the Government to its construction, and he made it clear that his compliance with the Chancellor’s request not to support the scheme did not imply any change of view on his part as to its desirability.
The County Surveyors’ Society have prepared a map of a system of motorways, having a total length stated to be 1,000 miles, but in fact measuring 1,165 miles. They have estimated the cost of constructing these motorways at £60,000 per mile.
The motorways proposed, which are shewn on Map No. 1 attached, were:
1 North Orbital Road from Dartford to north of Hatfield. 2 London-Scotch Corner-Glasgow with a spur to Newcastle. 3 London-Birmingham-Carlisle. 4 Doncaster-Birmingham-Bristol. 5 London-Reading-Bristol-Swansea. 6 London-Southampton with a spur to Portsmouth. 7 Manchester-Hull.
STANDARDS OF DESIGN
The two types of road system of which comparison is made are:
A A system of motorways as defined in the first paragraph of this memorandum.
B The existing system of principal trunk routes, improved as all-purpose roads by widening and realignment, and by diversions and bypasses, but with pre-war standards amended as indicated later in this memorandum.
It is not practicable in any system which incorporates sections of existing roads substantially to reduce the number of road junctions, or fully to segregate all classes of traffic at intersections. Nevertheless, the standards aimed at in pre-war trunk road construction must not be taken s presenting the last word in the design of the all-purpose road. The Committee engaged in the revision of Memorandum 483 has produced designs for a two-level roundabout, which, while not providing for the unobstructed flow of traffic on the principal routes free from contact with crossing traffic, permits of the segregation of the pedal cyclists and pedestrians from vehicular traffic and from each other. Complete segregation is, however, impracticable, by reason of the complexity of effective road intersections such as those of the clover-leaf type and the excessive cost of their provision. The revised memorandum also includes improved designs for roundabouts of the normal type and for other forms of intersection layout which will be adopted, as the conditions of particular sites demand, when our post-war programme is proceeded with.
When proposals for the improved alignment and width of trunk routes were considered in 1937, undue weight was attached to adherence to the line of the existing roads, the bypasses provided for being more or less of a local nature and of the shortest practicable length, resulting, in some instances, in a series of bulges. It will be necessary to review the pre-war proposed alignments, and to take a wider and bolder view of a route as a whole.
Experience has shown that other departures from established practice would be well worth while, despite the fact that in some instances they may call for legislative action. The powers under the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act for the adoption of a standard width to safeguard the land required for a new road, or for the widening of an existing road, valuable as they are, have, in one respet, had results both unanticipated and undesirable. A standard width aims at rendering possible the provision of uniform facilities throughout a route, or that part of a route, to which it applies. Continuity in this respect is desirable where conditions are identical, but it is not essential from the traffic standpoint—and indeed it may be detrimental—that the facilities provided for road traffic shall be uniformly spaced within approximately parallel boundaries; the objective is direction, not spacing, and experience has shown that traffic, economy, and amenity would sometimes be better served if one of the dual carriageways were sited some distance from the other, or if the tracks for pedal cyclists and pedestrians were not necessarily aligned close to and parallel with the carriageway. The term “standard width” has a significance which, if strictly interpreted, may prove inimical to road design and traffic requirements. It has tended to become a procrustean bed, to which layouts have been forcibly made to conform. More might be done in the way of both planning and amenity if greater freedom were permitted in this respect.
On many important through trffic routes there are numerous closely spaced junctions of subsidiary roads and, not infrequently, two or more of such roads afford alternative and redundant connections from adjacent towns or villages. The points of interconnection between these local roads and the through traffic route should be reduced in number by linking up the local roads before they join the principal road, thus lessening its hazards.
The powers of control at present available over the formation of new means of access for agricultural purposes are inadequate to prevent their formation at undesirably frequent intervals. These powers need to be strengthened in relation to both new and existing roads.
There is, however, the far more important departure from present practice referred to on page 2 to which serious consideration should be given. The road was we know it today is (subject to certain restrictions largely local in character) the King’s Highway, upon which all who desire to do can motor, cycle, or walk, ride or drive their horses, and drive or lead their sheep or cattle. Our policy is to provide for all these classes of traffic, not only in the improvement of existing routes but in diversions which may be necessitated primarily by the demands of motor traffic and which cyclists and pedestrians are likely to avoid. This is an adherence to tradition which seems to be unnecessary. Each case, whether of a new road or a diversion, should be dealt with on its merits, and its layout designed solely with regard to the needs of trffic. I have particularly in mind such cases as the new road between Warrington and Carnforth (referred to on page 1), wide-flung bypasses to towns which involve considerable detours, like Doncaster and Maidstone, and direct roads to terminal points such as ports and horbors, or even to pleasure resorts—eg the Preston-Blackpool road, where, at certain seasons, the congestion of motor traffic on the existing roads becomes intolerable.
COMPRATIVE COST OF CONSTRUCTING A SYSTEM OF MOTORWAYS AND OF IMPROVING THE CORRESPONDING TRUNK ROADS
No figures are available of the actual cost of motorway construction in this country; but, s mentioned on pages 4 and 5, certain estimates have previously been made for specific motorways. The cost of the Northern and Western Motorway from Coventry to Salford was, in 1923, estimated by its promoters at £60,000 per mile, though this figure was considered by an interdepartmental committee to be inadequate. The London-Brighton motorway was, in 1928, estimated by its promoters to cost £77,700 per mile. Both these motorways were designed with a single 40 ft carriageway. The North and South motorway in Lancashire was in 1936 estimated by the County Council to cost on the average £80,000 per mile. In 1937 an estimate prepared in the Department of the cost of a motorway from London to Birmingham, worked out at £72,000 per mile. In answer to a parliamentary question, Mr Leslie Burgin stated in 1938 that “the cost per mile of a typical motorway in open country (irrespective of elaborate flyover junctions) may vary from £50,000 to £60,000 per mile according to the number of rail, road and other crossings which may be encountered.”
Widely differing figures have been quoted of the cost of the autobahnen. The Parliamentary Road Group stated that the Autobahnen were costing 700,000 marks per kilometre. (1) [Footnote: “(1) Preliminary report by the Parliamentary Road Group, R.S. 4069.”] At the ‘pegged’ rate of exchange in 1937, this represents £96,000 per mile, or, at the registered mark rate, £56,000 or less per mile. (2) [Footnote: “(2) Journal of Institution of Municipal and County Engineers LXIV No. 20 29/3/38.”] The report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Road Accidents states (page 42)
“The autobahnen were said to have cost, taking the trding rate of the mark as 12, £34,000 a mile. In considering that figure it must, however, be borne in mind tht the rate of pay to workers in Germany is less than in this country. Moreover, the roads in Germany are constructed more quickly and more cheaply than in England.”
The Anglo-German Information Service stated tht the building of each mile of motorway provided on an average 50,000-60,000 days employment on the works themselves; taking the lower figure and assuming an average daily wage on road construction in this country of 10s 0d, the wages paid on the job would be £25,000 per mile. It has been estimated that the cost of labor on the job in road improvements in Britain represents 35% of the total cost of the work; assuming that this percentage obtains in Germany, the autobahnen would have cost £72,000 per mile had the workmen been paid at British rates.
In any comparison between the cost of the autobahnen and of motorways in this country, account should be taken, on the one hand, of the higher cost of land in Britain and the greater number ofbridges required by reason of the multiplicity of existing roads, and, on the other hand, of the fact that the carriageways of the autobahnen are 25 feet in width as compared with the 22 feet width on which most of the British estimates have been based.
The estimate put forward by the County Surveyors’ Society is at the rate of £60,000 per mile, though their proposals include such features as a tunnel under the Severn. (See Map No. 1 attached.) In my opinion, the estimated cost of a system of motorways in this country, designed completely to eliminate crossings of traffi con the level, with layouts of the cloverleaf type at all points of necessary connection with the existing road system, and with total prohibition of access, is not likely to be less, on pre-war methods and prices, than £75,000 per mile.
The estimate for a road system based on the adaptation of existing trunk routes will be made up of the cost of widening the existing roads, and making bypasses and diversions, all to the standards described on page 5. Examination of representative pre-war schemes gives an estimat eof £70,000 per mile for new construction and of £52,000 for widening and improvement. Allowing for a somewhat higher standard of layout at intersections and elsewhere, the rates for new construction and for widening should, on prewar prices, be put at £75,000 and £56,000 per mile respectively.
In comparing these rates with that previously given for motorways (£75,000 per mile) rgard must be had to the superior standard of speed and safety embodied in the motorway by thebridging of most of the intersecting roads and the provision of layouts of the cloverleaf type at the remainder, as well as to the complete elimination of access from frontage lands. The cost of providing these additional facilities offsets the saving effected by the omission of cycle tracks and footpaths, with the consequent reduction of constructional width.
In order to arrive at the comprative cost of the two types of road the cost per mile must be related to a specific system and it will be convenient, for this purpose, to make use of the scheme of motorways proposed by the County Surveyors’ Society. It will be seen from Map No. 1 that certain of these motorways would not replace, as principal national roads, any existing trunk route. The comparative estimates are therefore related (a) to those parts of the motorway system which parallel existing routes, and (b) to the trunk routes which the former are intended to replace; these trunk routes are subsequently referred to as “the corresponding trunk routes.” The relative estimates are as follows:
A Provision of part of the system of motorways shown on Map No. 1
1,015 miles at £75,000 per mile--£76,125,000
NOTE See the two following paragraphs.
B Improvement of corresponding trunk roads as an alternative to motorways
528 miles of new all-purpose road at £75,000 per mile--£39,600,000
597 miles or existing roads widened at £56,000 per mile--£33,432,000
These figures do not give a full comparison. In any estimate of the cost of a system of motorways account must be taken of the improvements which would be required on the corresponding trunk roads, even if motorways were constructed. Without surveys to ascertain the exact alignment of the motorways shown on map No. 1, the determination of the points of interconnection with the existing road system, and an elaborate study of traffic conditions (none of which can be effectively undertaken under present circumstances) precise estimates cannot be framed of the cost of the work which would be required on the corresponding trunk routes. On certain sections this may well be the cost of carrying out all the works embodied in the pre-war trunk road programme, while on sections which the motorway closely parallels it will be the cost of improvement to reduced standards sufficient to serve local needs, and will include the construction of bypasses and the duplication of carriageways where the volume of intertown and local trffic is likely tobe such as to require these facilities.
In the absence of adequate data there is a tendency to exaggeration, but at a modest computation I should put the cost of the additional works to existing roads at 25% of the figure given at B, and it might easily be more. It must be remembered, however, that if motorways were provided the improvement of the corresponding trunk routes need not be carried out concurrently with their construction, and might be spread over a long period of years.
It must be borne in mind that we ar enot comparing like with like. For the vehicles using it the system of motorways would provide a standard of speed and safety substantially higher than that attainable on all-purpose roads, and it must be considered if, and to what extent, these additional facilities are worth paying for.
It may be considered that for a complete comparison of the cost of the systems account should, in the motorway estimate, also be taken of the additional cost of providing roads to serve as feeders, collectors and distributors to the system. The need for adequate feeder, collecting and distributing roads is, however, common, in varying degree, to any system of principal national routes; such facilities will, in part, be provided by existing roads the improvement of which would be necessary whether motorways were constructed or not; internal distributing roads should form an essential part of any comprehensive improvement of traffic conditions in large towns. The cost of providing or improving the feeder and distributing roads has, therefore, been excluded from the comparative estimates given above. For corresponding reasons account has not been taken in estimate “B” of the cost of improving, to the limited standard required by their reduced traffic value, the sections of existing roads which would be bypassed.
It will be useful to compare the estimates for particular motorways and trunk routes with those given above for the systems as a whole. The London-Birmingham road and the North and South Road in Lancashire are taken for the purpose of this comparison:
Map No. 2, attached, shows (a) in blue, the trunk route from London to Birmingham, with the principal bypasses proposed; (b) in black, other trunk routes (c) in red, the London-Birmingham section of the London-Glasgow motorway shown on Map No. 1; (d) in green, the Class I roads and (e) the towns in the vicinity of the trunk route and the motorway. The London to Birmingham motorway as planned by the Northern and Western Motorway Company and the line of the motorway investigated by the Department in 1937, lie to the south-west of the line on map No. 2, and pass close to, and on the north-east side of, Aylesbury and Banbury.
The approximate comparative estimates for the London-Birmingham route are, as follows:
I Motorway, 83 miles at £75,000 per mile--£6,225,000 II Improvement of trunk route as an alternative to the construction of a motorway, 84 ½ miles at approximate average cost of £60,250 per mile--£5,091,000
The trunk road between St Albans and Coventry carries not only through traffic between London, Coventry and Birmingham, but also traffic between London and towns and districts served by a series of important Class I roads joining it on its north-east side; it is improbable that all of this traffic would cross the trunk road to use the motorway. The volume of traffic which the trunk road is likely to continue to carry, in addition to the motorway, is, therefore, such as would demand its improvement to a standard approaching that of the prewar programme. An addition of 25 per cent to estimate II is probably an underestimate of the cost of improvements necessary to the existing trunk route, even if the motorway were constructed.
North and South Road in Lancashire
Map No. 3, attached, shews 9a) in blue, the existing trunk route between the Cheshire boundary near Warrington, and the Westmorland boundary near Carnforth, (b) in black, other trunk routes, (c) in red, the line of the motorway proposed by the County Council; (d) in green, the Class I roads; and (e) the towns in the vicinity of the trunk route and the motorway.
It will be noted that, because of the built-up character of substantial lengths of the trunk road, it will be necessary for a large proportion of the mileage to depart from the existing alignment, whether the improved facilities for through traffic be provided by a motorway or by an all-purpose road. Of the total length of 62 ½ miles of trunk route, only 13 ½ miles can be incorporated in a reconstructed all-purpose road and the conditions on the sections to be incorporated are such that it will not be practicable to provide dual carriageways on the whole of the 13 ½ miles; the reconstructed all-purpose route would not have, therefore, all the necessary facilities for the whole of its length.
The approximate comparative estimates are:
I Motorway, 61 ½ miles at an average cost of £80,000 per mile--£4,920,000
II Improvement of trunk route as an alternative to the construction of the motorway, 62 ½ miles at average cost of £62,961 per mile--£3,935,041
The County Council have prepared an estimate of the cost, amounting to £872,000 of the works required on the trunk route if the motorway were constructed,but it relates only to 38 ½ miles out of the total length of 62 ½ miles; it excludes the sections in the County boroughs of Preston, Wigan and Warrington, and in certain of the urban districts, and provides for only modified standards on the included sections.
It will be seen that the cost of both the London-Birmingham motorway and the Lancashire motorway is greater than that of adapting the corresponding trunk routes, although the lengths of the motorways and trunk routes are, in both cases, approximately equal. The cost of a system of motorways of itself is also greater than that of adapting the trunk roads as an alternative, although the length of the motorway system is less than that of the corresponding trunk routes. The explanation is that about 50% of the trunk roads can be widened on their present alignment.
There is a wide divergence between the estimat eof £60,000 per mile put forward by the County Surveyors’ Society (coupled with an expression of opinion that the provision of motorways would render unnecessary extensive reconstruction of corresponding trunk routes and the figures given in this memorandum. Much depends upon the scale of work considered to be necessary upon the existing roads.
It must be borne in mind that (except on certain routes and at certain times) muchof the traffic is short-distance—that of public service vehicles, private cars, tradesmen’s vans, local hauliers and so on and that in launching out on a new system we cannot afford to neglect present requirements or to provide for improvements which are likely to become necessary within a reasonable measure of time by reason of the natural increase in traffic of the character described above. I have said elsewhere that with the advent of motorways a great deal of the expenditure on improving the corresponding trunk routes need only be undertaken as the need arises; but arise it will, and it cannot properly be ignored.
MOTORWAYS AND ROAD SAFETY
It is contended that motorways would reduce appreciably the toll of road accidents because:
(a) the use of the motorway would be confined to one type of vehicle, pedestrians and pedal cyclists would be excluded, and danger at intersections is reduced to a minimum. (b) Motorways would attract motor traffic from the existing roads, with the result that traffic on the latter would be diminished and the numbers of accidents on them consequently reduced.
It has been stated that, up to 1938, no accident on the German autobahnen was due to road conditions or defects of design. (3) [Footnote: “(3) Professor Clements Technical Report German Roads Delegation 1937.”] Further, that as much as 65% of the traffic on certain existing roads had been diverted to the corresponding autobahnen, and that the number of accidents per million motor vehicle kilometres on the autobahnen was only 17% of those on the old State roads. (4) [Footnote: “(4) House of Lords Select Committee Report on Prevention of Road Accidents (p. 42).”] It is not known how these figures have been computed so that it is impossible to judge their reliability, and they cannot be taken as any indication of the possible effect of motorways on road accidents in this country.
The extent to which motorways would reduce the toll of the roads is problematical. That a motorway is the safest type of road for the vehicle using it is obvious, for motor vehicles can travel upon it with the highest possible degree of safety owing to the absence of the hazards inseparable from all-purpose roads. On the other hand, statistics show that approximately 60% of the people killed on the roads of this country meet their deaths in areas subject to the 30 MPH limit, ie inbuilt-up areas. The relief to traffic in the built-up areas would be on the sme scale if new roads were all-purpose roads, and any reduction in the number of accidents on existing roads would depend on the extent to which traffic was diverted from them to a motorway system. Even if 1,000 miles of motorways were constructed, the relief to our 45,000 miles of trunk and classified roads, not to mention the remaining 135,000 miles of public highways, would be relatively slight.
Motorways would have substantial advantages from the standpoint of the safety of those using them; but it seems unlikely that their provision would have an appreciable effect on the number of accidents on the road system, considered as a whole.
VEHICLE OPERATION ON MOTORWAYS
Tests have been made in Germany and America of comparative fuel consumption, speed, etc of vehicles running on roads of the motorway type and on existing roads.
The German tests (5) [Footnote: “(5) Die Strasse, 1937. 4 (16) pp. 460-3.”] of commercial vehicles were carried out with a diesel lorry and trailer, the loaded weights being 12.5 tons and 3.9 tons respectively, on the route between Bruchsal and Nauheim, where the motorway, 92 miles long, and the existing State road, 100.6 miles long, run nearly parallel.
The tests showed that, when the same speed was maintained on the autobahn as on the existing State road, fuel consumption was reduced from 5.90 MPG to 8.48 MPG, a saving of 30%; further, that the maximum speed attainable on the autobahn was 48% greater than on the existing road, and that the saving in running time offset the increased rate of fuel consumption due to the higher speed. The use of the steering wheel, clutch, gears and brakes was very much less on the autobahn than on the all-purpose road.
In America tests (6) [Footnote: “(6) Proc. Highway Research Board U.S.A. 1939(19) pp. 99-125.”] made of th eperformance of a private care on the Merritt and Hutchinson Parkways and the Old Boston Post Road showed that there was an increase of 50% in speed and a 10% decrease in fuel consumption by using the parkway instead of the old road. On the old Post Road the number of stops on a 48 mile run averaged 41, each of approximately 23 seconds duration, while on the Parkway there was only one momentary pause in the 36 miles. It has to be noted that speed on the parkway was restricted to 40 MPH.
Motorways would provide tracks on which a mechanically propelled vehicle could travel economically at an average speed closely approximating to the maximum of which it is capable, and with a high degree of fsafety. A system based on the adaptation of the corresponding trunk roads could, like the motorways, be constructed with uni-direction tracks and with a high standard of curve and gradient design and of surface uniformity, but must inevitably contain features inimical to speed and safety, such as crossings on the level, the presence of local traffic, and points of access (however restricted) to frontage land, apart from the need to be on guard against the unpredictable movements of pedestrians and, to a les degree, of pedal cyclists.
While, therefore, in the absence of essential information including the extent of the traffic using the roads on which the German and American tests were made, no precise deducations can be drawn from them which are capable of application to a system of motorways in Britain, and while in any comparison between motorways and all-purpose roads regard must be had to the fact that part only of a journey will be made on the motorway system, it may be said that a commercial vehicle can be operated with substantially greater economy and at higher average speed on a motorway than on a corresponding length of an all-purpose road, even if the latter had been improved to the standards referred to on page [6?].
MOTORWAYS AND THE NEED FOR NEW ROADS
The attached diagram (No. 4) shows the growth, from 1922 to 1939, of the number of motor vehicles licensed in Great Britain.
In 1936, the last year for which comparative figures are available, the number of motor vehicles per 1,000 of population and per mile of road and the road mileage per square mile in the undermentioned countries was as follows:
Cars per 1,000 population Cars per mile of road Mileage of roads per square mile Great Britain 60.5 15.3 2.04 France 66.5 6.8 1.92 Germany 43 12.6 1.01 U.S.A. 219 8.8 0.86
It will be seen from the diagram that the number of motor vehicles increased during the five years 1924-1929 at the rate of 174,000 per annum, and during the five years 1934-39 at the rate of 163,000 per annum, that the rate of increase per annum was extraordinarily uniform before and after the economic depression which occurred in 1931. There are many unknown factors to be taken into account in estimating the number of motor vehicles likely tobe in use in this country after the retarding effects of the war have been overcome. On the whole it seems wise to assume that the annual increase to be allowed for should be at least equal to that which obtained before the war.
The statistics set out above indicate that though Britain is thickly roaded, compared with other countries, it is, if anything, under-vehicled in relation to population and over-vehicled in relation to road mileage. Road capacity cannot be measured in terms only of length; width must also be taken into account, and though the mileage of new roads constructed in this countryin recent years has been small, there has been an appreciable increase in road accommodation by way of widenings. Nevertheless, ours is not a planned road system, and if it is inadequate to serve the needs of the post-war industrial era, it will have to be augmented not onlyby widening existing highways but also by the provision of such mileage of new roads as may be found requisite. It should not be overlooked that whereas the full benefit of a motorway cannot be reaped until it has been constructed as a whole, the improvement of existing roads can be conveniently carried out in the order required to meet the immediate requirements of different sections. Alternative routes to built-up areas should be the first objective.
MOTORWAYS AND INDUSTRY
The vital importance to industry of an adequate road system is evidenced by the increasing use of the roads for the trnsport of goods, and this despite measures of control which have been applied. Road haulage is specially adapted to serve light industries, and its growth is associated with what the Royal Commission on the Distribution of the Industrial Population describes (7) [Footnote: “(7) Report page 46 paragraph 97.”] as “the change from the old to the new industrial era” consequent on the decline of the prewar basic industries and the rapid expansion of miscellaneous industries, most of which are of a relatively light character.
The door-to-door collection and delivery of goods is one of the chief advantages of road transport. This is not peculiar to a system of motorways, but for long-distance traffic in particular it will reach its maximum in association with the additional facilities of speedy and economical vehicle operation which they provide.
Reference must be made to the importance of the motor industry itself, and to the manifold activities bound up with it. It hs been estimated (8) [Footnote: “(8) The Motor Industry of Great Britain 1939.”] that approximately 1,400,000 persons found their employment before the war in motor manufacture, as drivers, etc, of motor vehicles, in the oil and garage industries and in road construction and maintenance. This figure does not include the large number of persons concerned in the sale of motor vehicles and their equipment, in the manufacture and sale of the multifarious accessories provided for road users, in roadside cafes and refreshment houses, nor the larger number engaged in the production and transport, other than by road, of the raw materials of the roads and vehicles. It is true that this large volume of employment was afforded by rods in their present form. Motoring (for industry and pleasure) will grow, whether we will it or not, but the motor industry, with all its ancillaries, will undoubtedly respond to such a development of the road system as would directly tend to encourage its use, and a system of motorways would have a specially stimulative effect in this connection.
MOTORWAYS AND AGRICULTURE
In discussing the effects on agricultural interests we must take into account the fact that the location and the extent of a motorway system will be determined primarily by industrial, not agricultural, requirements, and that the need for high speed, door-to-door road transport is, in the agricultural sphere, confined to those classes of agriculture concerned in the production of vegetables, fruit, eggs, poultry, butter and meat—ie to market gardening and dairy farming.
As indicated on the attached map (Map No. 5) the chief centres of industry and population in England lie in a wedge-shaped area having its extremities approximately at London, Leeds and Liverpool. The principal market gardening districts lie outside, but closely adjacent to, this wedge, while a substantial proportion of the beef and dairy farms lie widthin, or not far distant from, it. A system of motorways, designed to serve the requirements of the industrial wedge, would, as it happens, be so located that access to the motorways from market gardening districts could readily be effected, and they would thus incidentally provide substantially improved means for the rapid transport by road of produce to the consumers in the numerous large centres of population linked up with the motorway system.
The construction of new roads will obviously reduce the area of land available for food production, and while, in determining new road alignment, full regard should be given to the fertility of the land forming the site of alternative routes, no improved national road system can be provided without encroaching, to some extent, on first-class agricultural land. The extent of such encroachment, whether for motorways or for widened and improved trunk roads, directly affects agricultural interests. The area of land required for a mile of motorway is 14 acres, and for a mile of a road system based on the provision of bypasses from, and the widening of, the corresponding trunk routes is 16 ½ acres. When, however, account be taken of improvements necessary on the corresponding trunk routes, even if motorways be constructed, it is clear that the provision of motorways would make greater demands on agricultural land.
A feature of design peculiar to motorways which is likely to affect agriculture is the absence of direct access from adjacent lands. This will lead to the division of agricultural holdings to a greater extent than would result from the widening of existing trunk roads coupled with the construction of bypasses. In assessing the prejudicial effects on the economical and convenient working of holdings due to absence of access to motorways, it must be borne in mind that the means of communication provided by the existing road system will remain unimpaired, and that the effects of severance can be mitigated by the provision of bridges or cattle creeps, though the cost of these will be substantial. If a system of motorays is to be provided, powers should be made available for the compulsory redistribution of holdings.
Considered only from the aspect of severance, a system of motorways is likely to be more detrimental to the working of a farm holding than the alternative of improved trunk routes, and it is a matter for determination by the Ministry of Agriculture whether the inconvenience on this account is outweighed by any corresponding benefit to farming interests.
MOTORWAYS AND OTHER SYSTEMS OF INLAND TRANSPORT
The general strike of 1926 demonstrated the value of a means of inland transport alternative to railways. The present war has emphasized the indispensability of a system of transport the operation of which is not dependent on imported fuel; and, though use should increasingly be made of home-produced fuels for motor vehicles, there can be no question of the need of preserving and stimulating an efficient railway service. All systems of inland transport should be complementary to one another, whether rail, road, water, or air. Full use should be made of the facilities offered by each, and our task is to devise ways and mens by which the nation may enjoy the advantages of all of them, without artificial restriction, in the interest of industrial development at home and the quipment of the country to hold its own in the field of international competition.
MOTORWAYS AND NATIONAL DEFENSE
A system of motorways, which would serve strategical and tactical requirements would have advantages over a system based on the improvement of the corresponding trunk routes, by reason of its provision for more speedy and less hampered movement; but up to the present there have been very few demands (and those have been insignificant) for additional road facilities and in their absence it can be concluded our existing road system satisfies military requirements.
MOTORWAYS AND AMENITIES
Our winding roads, with their tree-lined hedges and grass margins, have acquired a traditional beauty which is universally regarded as constituting one of the principal charms of our countryside; but desire to preserve these features should not imply that anything new is necessarily devoid of amenity.
The German Roads Delegation have put on record (9) [Footnote: “(9) Technical Report, German Rods Delegation, 1937.”] the impression made on them by the functional beauty of the autobahnen;
‘By general account’ they said’ no feature of these roads aroused greater interest than the sheer clear beauty of the work accomplished. The vigorous, sweeping curves of the alignment had been accompanied by the utmost care in blending the work with its environment.’
New roads open up fresh vistas and, after the scars of construction have had time to heal, can be beautiful of themselves. Motorways would, however, for various good reasons, be taken through land remote from large centres of population, and would so bring to the peaceful countryside a sense of the hurry and scurry inseparable from motor traffic. Much can be done to harmonize structure and environment; but the numerous bridges, embankments and cuttings, whilst presenting opportunities for the skill of the designer, may improse on the countryside an intrusive element which, to some extent, will be destructive of its charm.
Roads designed for all classes of traffic, with dual tracks for vehicles, pedal cyclists, and pedestrians, produce the displeasing parallelism of a dozen straight lines, seldom separated by grass strips of width sufficient to break up the monotony of the paved surfaces. In the widening of roads it is difficult to void the destruction of some at least of the features which we should desire to maintain; there is often an unavoidable compromise between the wish to preserve and the requirements of modern traffic, with results which are not happy from either standpoint.
The fact that if a system of motorways were constructed it will still be necessary to widen the corresponding trunk routes cannot be disregarded. On the whole, there seems little to choose, on the ground of amenity, between motorways and the alternative based on the adaptation of the existing trunk routes.
MOTORWAYS AND NATIONAL PLANNING
The Royal Commission on the Distribution of the Industrial Population envisaged that the objectives of national action would be such as would involve not only the transfer of workers from one area to another but also the development, in areas mainly dependent on declining basic industries, of the expanding light industries. The importance of road transport to the light industries has already been mentioned. The influence of road transport on redistribution is thus referred to in the Commission’s Report (10) [Footnote: “(10) Report page 45, para. 96.”]:
“The growth of road transport has played a part in such decentralization of population as has already taken place. Residential areas beyond easy reach of trains have grown up around most of the big cities as a result of the creation of new transport facilities. Similarly industrial establishments have been removed from the congested parts of large towns to outlying areas partly because a supply of labor can be assured, if necessary, by road transport and partly because road transport reduces the disadvantage of distance from the heart of the market. For these two reasons the growth of road tansport and other forms of local transport maybe said to be among the most important of the factors leading to outward movement.”
If national policy is to be on the lines recommended by the Royal Commission, the provision of motorays may well be a serviceable means of implementing that policy, since in addition to the advantages already referred to they would influence the location of population and industry by means of the full control (peculiar to motorways) over points of intercommunication with other roads, coupled with the complete prohibition of frontage access.
Much that can be said for and against motorways applies to roads constructed or improved to modern standards. It will cost more to construct a system of motorways than to adapt the corresponding trunk routes, and it will still be necessary to improve the latter to an extent governed by the volume of traffic which the motorways would attract from them (pages 8-9). The motorway is the safer road of itself, but will have little bearing on the accident problem, taking the road system as a whole (p. 10). There is nothing between them when considered as unemployment schemes. Motorways would provide improved means of road transport for agriculture, but have the disadvantage of imposing additional severance on agricultural holdings (p. 13). On the point of amenity thee is little to choose (p. 14). I should say motorways would be of military value, but no representations have been made to us on this score.
From the standpoint of road transport (of long-distance traffic in particular) there is no doubt in mymind of the advantage of motorways over any other type of highway. This, however, is not the sole criterion. In my opinion the desirability, or otherwise, of a comprehensive system of motorways on the German model, such as shown on Map No. 1, should not be determined without regard to the facilities afforded by all means of inland transport and in relation to the bearing of each on Governmental plans for post-war development. This seems to me a question of major policy, and it is one upon which, from the road aspect, a decision is urgently required. In any event I recommend that our present practice should be modified in the following directions:
(a) New roads (including bypasses) should be designed for and restricted to the use of motor vehicles, where traffic justification can be shown and other forms of traffic provided for on existing roads. (b) In new or widened roads intended to carry all forms of traffic the alignment of the carriageway, cycle tracks and footpaths in relation to one another should be determined by the requirements of traffic, economy and amenity, and not necessarily contained within one standard width. (c) Additional powers should be made available for stopping up and diverting minor roads before they enter important routes. (d) Agricultural access should be prohibited to new roads, or bypasses to be used exclusively by motor vehicles, and restricted, in common with other types of access, on important all-purpose roads.
F.C. Cook 14 August, 1942
• Blizard article in Transport Management, 18(5), 15/5/1944, pp. 183-85 (in file because sent to PJ Noel-Baker) (article immediately following, BTW, is a very interesting piece on the Alcan Highway), quoted in full:
Motorways for Britain and Europe
By Alderman GP Blizard, LCC Formerly FCII and AssocInstT whose propaganda work 20 years ago should be remembered today.
Civilization is the history of transport writ large. It was said of the Romans, the earliest and greatest of road makers, that while they made roads the British “made tracks.” Well, the Romans are credited with building the longest highway, or rather transport route, in the world, connecting Scotland with Jerusalem. What mental pictures one conjures up at the mention in one breath, of the Scotch and the Jews! It is our cousins the Yankees, however, who with an eye to through transport, can boast of the most imposing modernhighway, for in 5th Avenue, New York, there is a signpost which reads “The Lincoln Highway—3,384 miles to San Francisco.” This sweeps through twelve states in a pretty straight line, has a width of 60 feet, and to a great extent, though not over the whole of the Highway, achieves what all rod users are demanding today, the segregation of slow moving transport from the fast.
The first steps towards the promotion of motorways in this country date back to 1924. Lord Montagu, backed by a powerful syndicate including Armstrong-Whitworth, Eagle Star Insurance Co. and many leading industrialists in the Midlands, the Potteries and Lancashire, took a deputation to the Minister of Transport in support of a Bill introduced in Parliament to facilitate the construction of a motorway between London and Salford. This was planned to leave London and to run south-west of Birmingham, west of the Potteries and near Crewe where a branch to Liverpool docks would be added. Goods loaded overnight along the route could be delivered over ships side at Manchester or Liverpool docks the next day, but it was to be a toll road. That last fact, a toll, killed the bill and probably rightly so. I speak feelingly as I acted as Secretary to the Syndicate and gave lectures, illustrated by a large-scale model, in many of the areas which would have benefited by it. The model was demonstrated in a Committee of the House of Commons and over 90 members, including Captain A Eden, Major Lloyd George and Arthur Henderson, Jr, signed a petition to the prime Minister for facilities to be grated for the passage of the Motorways Bill. Greatly darying, I deputized for Lord Montagu, and addressed a meeting of the Manchester Branch of the Institute of Transport on the advantage to be obtained by developing motorways. I even suggested that it might pay railways to take up the rails on many small branch lines and use the tracks s motorway feeders to the main lines. The members did a good deal of heckling but subsequently my address was printed in the Journal of the Institute of Transport (May, 1924).
What of the Continent?
What wee other countries doing at or about that time? A German syndicate “Hafraba” (Hamburg-Frankfurt-Basel) was active and consulted our British syndicate. I have before me a map of their proposed route to link the North Sea with the Mediterranean. This would have connected Hamburg and Lübeck via Hanover, Frankfurt, Strasbourg and Milan with Genoa. A port to port concrete link! Happily it did not materialize owing to the French, German and Italian Switzerlands quarrelling as to which area should have it. Germany no doubt was looking ahead, and where should we have been now had their project succeeded. Italy was already on the move as regards motorways and the International Road Congress in Milan was the first of the International Road Congresses to devote a special session to Motorways. Signor Piero Puricelli was entrusted by Mussolini with the construction of Italian Motorways, toll roads, and he kindly drove me over some of them and explained how satisfactory they were in operation. An excellent description of these roads accompanied by a plan was published by “Modern Transport (May 30th, 1931) showing the route from Turin, via Milan, Verona and Venice to Trieste, together with branches to the Northern Italian lakes.
Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Sweden also had projects in view at that time but these did not materialize before the war.
What then of the future? We are fortunate in having so keen and far-sighted a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport as Mr PJ Noel-Baker, MP. In the House of Commons he recently outlined the Government policy for developing and improving our highway system. A large increase of the trunk roads now vested in the Ministry would be an essential feature of the plan. Consultation with the Ministry of Town and Country Planning was taking place, and a survey of all major roads would be necessary with a view to the duplication of carriageways on raods carrying more than 400 cars per hour. This is only a first step in the right direction and does not deal with the all important points of segregation of fast moving traffic and the elimination of cross traffic. To effect this means we must have motorways. One such motorway has been under consideration for some time—the Great Welsh Highway, leaving London by the Western Avenue, it would pass north of Wantage and Swindon, south of Wooton-under-edge to the Severn, crossing the river at or near the point called English Stones and then via Chepstow and Newport to Cardiff. Road mileage from London to Cardiff would be reduced by 30 miles, and between Bristol and Cardiff by 60 miles. Such a route would afford valuable facilities to the agricultural areas through which it passes. The particular features of a motorway were described by me in the Manchester Guardian Commercial so long ago as October 16th, 1924, and they may be summarized briefly as follows: maximum gradient 1 in 40. Curve radius half a mile. Four lines of traffic, two outer for slow moving traffic and two inner for fast traffic. There would be additional bays each side of the motorway at points of junction with the ordinary roads. Thre would be no cross traffic to hinder or delay traffic on either up or down fast or slow tracks. Road would be reserved entirely for pneumatic tired vehicles. Minimum width of motorway 40 feet, but preferably 60 feet, to allow for dividing stripways.
Though there will be no frontages on the fenced road traffic will be able to get access at junctions which should not be more than 10 miles apart. At or near these junctions no doubt satellite towns would spring up based on a real civic centre, and not as on the Great West Road mile after mile of townships in strips on either side of the road. On the outer tracks it may be found feasible to permit trailers under suitable regulations. On each side of the road at intervals there will be replenishing stations, telephone boxes, travelling motor workshops, first aid stations, and canteens. Then there would be considerable saving to motor users in the life of the machines, consumption of petrol, wear and tear of tyres. Vehicles would have heavier loads, and cover a largely increased mileage. There should also be considerable savings on insurance premiums, and cover for third party risks.
The main argument for motorways is that they will increase the velocity of the circulation of commodities, and promote all round commercial prosperity. In this prosperity railways and other forms of transport will share, for it hs been abundantly proved by experience that new avenues and methods of locomotion always create new traffic.
And the cost! The Alness Report (House of Lords Committee) deplores the fat that the Road Fund monies are not, as originally promised, devoted entirely to expenditure on improving roads. Just before war broke out the amount raised by motor and motor fuel taxation exceeded 75 million pounds out of which not much more than one-fourth was spent on road purposes. Would it be sking too much for one-half to be devoted to the purposes for which it was originally intended.