Roads in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a network of roads, of varied quality and capacity, totalling about 262,300 miles (422,100 km). Road distances are shown in miles or yards and UK speed limits are indicated in miles per hour (mph) or by the use of the national speed limit (NSL) symbol. Some vehicle categories have various lower maximum limits enforced by speed limiters. Enforcement of UK road speed limits increasingly uses speed guns, automated in-vehicle systems and automated roadside traffic cameras. A unified numbering system is in place for Great Britain, whilst in Northern Ireland, there is no available explanation for the allocation of road numbers.[1]

The earliest specifically engineered roads were built during the British Iron Age. The road network was expanded during the Roman occupation. Some of these survive and others were lost. New roads were added in the Middle Ages and from the 17th century onwards. Whilst control has been transferred from local to central bodies and back again, current management and development of the road network is shared between local authorities, the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and Highways England. Certain aspects of the legal framework remain under the competence of the United Kingdom parliament.

Although some roads have much older origins, the network was subject to major development from the 1950s to the mid-1990s. From then, construction of roads has become increasingly controversial with direct action campaigns by environmentalists in opposition.

In the UK, Road safety policy is part of transport policy. A "Transport 2010; The 10 Year Plan" states that the basic principle is that "people travel safely and feel secure whether they are on foot or bicycle, in a car, on a train, or bus, at sea or on a plane".[2]

A2 at Leyton Cross - geograph.org.uk - 203101
The A2 at Leyton Cross, Dartford

Road network

The UK has a road network totalling about 262,300 miles (422,100 km) of paved roads—246,500 miles (396,700 km) in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and 15,800 miles (25,500 km) in Northern Ireland.[3][4]

Administration

Responsibility for the road network differs between trunk and non trunk routes. Trunk roads, which are the most important roads, are administered by Highways England in England, Transport Scotland in Scotland, the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent, and South Wales Trunk Road Agent in Wales.[5] England's 6,500 miles (10,461 km) of trunk roads account for 33% of all road travel and 50% of lorry travel.[6] Scotland has 2,174 miles (3,499 km)[7] (about 7% of the total roads in Scotland), accounting for 35% of all road journeys and over 50% of lorry movements.[8] Wales has 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of trunk roads.[9] In London, Transport for London is responsible for all trunk roads and other major roads, which are part of the Transport for London Road Network.[5] All other roads are the responsibility of the relevant County Council or unitary authority.[5] In Northern Ireland, the Roads Service Northern Ireland is responsible for all 5,592 miles (8,999 km) roads.[5][10] The pan-British total is 15,260 miles (24,560 km).

Whilst generally they are trunk roads, several motorways are the responsibility of local authorities, for example the M275.[11]

Since 2008, location marker posts have appeared on motorways and major A roads in England, situated generally at intervals of 500 metres (though the units are not given). These repeat the information given on the co-sited surveyors' marker post which, since the 1960s, have reported distances on such roads in kilometres from a datum—usually the start of the road, or the planned start-point of the road.

Classification

UK road A40
The colour scheme used to denote a primary route

Numbered roads in the UK are signed as M (Motorway), A,[12] or B[12] roads (legal "classification" varies between countries), as well as various categories of more minor roads: for internal purposes, local authorities may also use C,[13] D and U[13] (the letter standing for "Unclassified"); use of C and U numbers on signs is unusual but examples can be found in all four countries in the UK [14]. Each road is given a number which is combined with the prefix, for example M40, A40 and B1110, although their informal or traditional names may still be used or heard occasionally: for instance, the Great North Road (now part of the A1) and the Great Cambridge Road (modern A10). These numbers follow a zonal system.[15] There is no available explanation for the allocation of road numbers in Northern Ireland.[1] The majority of the major inter-urban routes are motorways, and are designed to carry long distance traffic. The next category is the A roads, which form the primary route network. A primary route is defined as:[16]

...a route, not being a route comprising any part of a motorway, in respect of which the Secretary of State —

(a) in the case of a trunk road is of the opinion, and

(b) in any other case after consultation with the traffic authority for the road comprised in the route is of the opinion,

that it provides the most satisfactory route for through traffic between places of traffic importance

A new standard was set in April 2015 to formally designate certain high-quality routes as Expressways,[17] but whether this will result in any existing road classifications changing is unclear.

Primary destinations

Primary destinations are usually cities and large towns, to which, as a result of their size, a high volume of traffic is expected to go. However, in rural areas, smaller towns or villages may be given primary status if located at junctions of significant roads: for example, Llangurig in Wales and Crianlarich in Scotland. As a further example, Scotch Corner in northern England is not even a village—merely a hotel and a few other buildings—yet has the status of a primary destination due to its location at the interchange of the A1 and A66 roads. For similar reasons, certain airports, sea ports, bridges and tunnels have been designated as primary destinations.

The status of both primary destinations and roads is maintained by the Department for Transport in combination with the Highways Agency in England and Wales and the Scottish Government in Scotland. The concept of primary roads was introduced in the 1960s as part of a national reclassification of roads.[12]

Regional destinations

M5 northbound Junction 16 geograph-1993658-by-Andrew-Hackney
Regional destinations, on the M5 motorway with South Wales, the Midlands and London in capitals, although London is a not a regional destination, therefore should not be in capitals

Regional destinations are commonly used on long distance routes throughout the country alongside primary destinations. They are displayed on signs in capitals to distinguish them from towns and cities.[18] The boundaries of these regional destinations are not specifically defined and apply to generalised areas. The regions are: Mid Wales, North Wales, Scotland, South Wales, The East, The Lakes ,The Dales, The Midlands, The North, The North East, The North West, The South, The South West and The West.

Signage

A702 - M74 and A74(M) Road sign - geograph.org.uk - 74688
A typical roundabout sign on a primary road

Signage on the UK network conforms broadly to European norms, though a number of signs are unique to Britain and direction signs omit European route numbers. All length distances are shown in miles or yards,[19] speed is in miles per hour[20] whilst height and width restrictions are required to be shown in feet and inches (though the metric measurements may optionally also appear). In September 2007 the European Commission ruled that the United Kingdom would never be required by them to convert signs to metric.[21]

The signage system currently in use was developed in the late 1950s and the early 1960s by the Anderson Committee, which established the motorway signing system, and by the Worboys Committee, which reformed signing for existing all-purpose (non-motorway) roads. It was introduced in 1965 and is governed by the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. Signs may be of an informative, warning or instructional nature. Instructional signs are generally circular, warnings are triangular and informative signs are rectangular or square. Motorway informative signs use white text on a blue background, primary routes are indicated by green directional and distance signs with yellow text, whilst secondary roads use black text on a white background.[22]

Driving

In the UK, vehicles are driven on the left and on multi-lane carriageways drivers are generally expected to keep to the left lane except when overtaking or turning right.[23] In Great Britain, the Highway Code applies to drivers.[24] In Northern Ireland, the Highway Code for Northern Ireland applies.[25]

UK speed limits are shown in mph.[20] With a few exceptions, they are in multiples of 10, ranging from 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) to 70 miles per hour (113 km/h). Unless a lower speed limit is posted on a road, the national speed limit applies, which varies between class of vehicles and the type of road. In a built-up area (usually indicated by street lights),[26] unless signs indicate otherwise, a limit of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) applies. Other limits are shown in the table.[27][28][29]

National speed limits on roads in the UK
Type of vehicle Speed limit
Single carriageway Dual carriageway Motorway
mph km/h mph km/h mph km/h
Car/motorcycle, car derived vans up to 2 tonnes 60 97 70 113 70 113
Car with caravan or trailer 50 80 60 97 60 97
Bus, Minibus or coach up to 13 metres long 50 80 60 97 70 113
Goods vehicle below 7.5 tonnes 50 80 60 97 70 113
Goods vehicle over 7.5 tonnes (England and Wales) 50 80 60 97 60 97
Goods vehicle over 7.5 tonnes (Scotland except A9 between Perth and Inverness) 40 64 50 80 60 97
Goods vehicle over 7.5 tonnes (A9 between Perth and Inverness) 50 80 50 80 N/A

For a road to be classed as a dual carriageway, the two directions of traffic flow must be physically separated by a central reservation.[16]

Taxes and charges

Motoring taxation

After the end of the Turnpike trusts, roads have been funded from taxation. Two new vehicle duties were introduced—the locomotive duty and the trade cart duty in the 1888 budget. Since 1910, the proceeds of road vehicle excise duties were dedicated to fund the building and maintenance of the road system.[30] From 1920 to 1937, most roads in the United Kingdom were funded from the Road Fund using taxes raised from fuel duty and Vehicle Excise Duty.[31] Since 1937, roads have been funded from general taxation with all motoring duties, including VAT, being paid directly to the Treasury.[32]

Tolls and congestion charges

Tolls or congestion charges are used for some major bridges and tunnels, for example the Dartford Crossing has a congestion charge.[33] The M6 Toll, originally the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, is designed to relieve the M6 through Birmingham, which is one of the most heavily used roads in the country.[34] There were two public toll roads (Roydon Road in Stanstead Abbots and College Road in Dulwich) and about five private toll roads.

Since 2006, congestion charging has been in operation in London and in Durham.[35]

Before December 14th 2018, the M4's Second Severn Crossing (officially 'The Prince of Wales Bridge') included tolls. However, after being closed for toll removal for three days, the bridge opened up again on December 17th, starting with a formal ceremony. Toll payment was scrapped and it marked history as it is believed to be the first time in 400 years that the crossing will be free. Further work is still being carried out to return the route to its original three lanes and 70mph speed limit.[36]

Road traffic safety

Percentage of roads deaths per speed limit
Source for the year 2013: Pact, and European Commission 2016[37]
Fatalities per population
Source for the year 2013: Pact, and European Commission 2016[38]


In 2008 the United Kingdom was among the best countries in the world for road safety and was still improving, but the improvement had not kept pace with those in Sweden and the Netherlands.[39]

In June 2008, the Road Safety Foundation reported that 30 per cent of the primary route network in Great Britain failed to rate as safe, and a quarter of all motorways were outside the safest risk band.[40]

In 2006 the 8-mile (13 km) Cat and Fiddle Road between Macclesfield and Buxton was named as Britain's most dangerous road. The single-carriageway road has been the scene of 43 fatal or serious collisions since 2001, nearly three-quarters of them involving motorcyclists. When collisions involving motorcyclists are removed from the analysis, the A61 between Barnsley and Wakefield was found to be the most dangerous road in Britain.[41]

Between 2003 and 2006, the most improved safety record was for the A453 from the A38 to Tamworth in Staffordshire. This rural single carriageway saw an 88 per cent drop in the number of fatal or serious collisions in the last six years, taking it from a medium risk road to one of the safest. According to the Foundation, this has been achieved by introducing traffic lights, speed limit reductions and village pedestrian facilities.[42]

Research undertaken in July 2008 has shown that investment in a safe road infrastructure programme could yield a one-third reduction in road deaths, saving as much as £6 billion per year.[43] A consortium of 13 major road safety stakeholders have formed the Campaign for Safe Road Design, which is calling on the UK Government to make safe road design a national transport priority.[44]

History

Iron Age

The earliest evidence of engineered roads dates back to the 1st century BC. A metalled and cambered road, 1.5 metres high and six metres wide, was unearthed at Bayston Hill quarry, near Shrewsbury.[45] A timber road was preserved in peat in Geldeston, Norfolk, with tree rings suggesting a date of 75 BC, probably built by the Iceni tribe.[46]

Roman Britain

Roads built in the first phase of Roman occupation (43–68 AD) connected London with the ports used in the invasion (Chichester and Richborough), and with the earlier legionary bases at Colchester (Camulodunum), Lincoln (Lindum), Wroxeter (Viroconium), Gloucester and Exeter.[47] As Roman influence expanded, so did the network, until around 180 AD when the known network was complete.

Few Roman roads extended into Scotland due to their inability to subjugate the local population. Part of the Scottish Lowlands came under Roman control in 142, and the Antonine Wall was constructed on the northern boundary. However, the Roman legions withdrew in 164 to their former northern boundary, Hadrian's Wall.

The primary function of Roman roads was to allow the rapid movement of troops and military supplies, but it also provided vital infrastructure for trade and the transport of goods. The roads were paved, a first for the island, and could carry heavy goods in all weathers.[48] Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain, road maintenance became a very ad hoc activity.

Medieval roads

A network of roadways was developed in Britain in the Middle Ages to supplement the use of rivers as a system of transportation. Many of these roadways were developed as a result of trading of goods and services, such as wool, sheep, cattle and salt. They linked together market towns, towns with bridges, harbours and ports. Other roadways developed to meet the needs of pilgrims visiting shrines, such as Walsingham, and for transporting corpses from isolated communities to local graveyards.

Pre 20th century

The first legislated control in England was introduced under the Highways Act 1555.[49] Road rates were introduced in England and Wales in the 17th century. The first turnpike road, whereby travellers paid tolls to be used for road upkeep, was authorised by the Highways Act 1663 for a section of the Great North Road in Hertfordshire.[49][50] The first turnpike trust was established by the Parliament of England through a Turnpike Act in 1706. Scotland continued to maintain its own Parliament until the Acts of Union 1707, when the two parliaments merged to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

In the second half of the 18th century, turnpike trusts became numerous, with trusts also set up in Wales and lowland Scotland.[51] This expansion was facilitated by the ability to use mortgages to fund the work.[51] By 1821 there were 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of turnpike roads in England, with 1,000 trusts by 1845[52]

The Rebecca Riots took place in Wales between 1839 and 1843 as a protest against high tolls.[53] The riots ceased after some ringleaders, John Jones (Shoni Sguborfawr) and David Davies (Dai'r Cantwr), were convicted and transported to Australia.[54] Following several attempts at reform, detrunking began in the 1860s with the last trust ending in 1885.[49] The protests prompted several reforms, including a Royal Commission into the question of toll roads. The Local Government Act 1888 created borough and county councils with responsibility for maintaining the major roads.[52]

After complaints about the first tram companies damaging the road surface, Parliament introduced the Tramways Act 1870, making tram companies responsible for the maintenance of the shared surface of the tramway and several feet either side, as a condition of being granted a licence.[55] This was a popular move as maintenance was removed from the public purse. The local authority could also purchase the whole line at a later date at a discount, or force the tram company to reinstate the road.

1900–1950

The Roads Act 1920 brought in the Road Fund, with the Government receiving revenue from excise duty on road vehicles and from the sale of licences for horse-drawn carriages and driving licences.[56] As road traffic began to grow, the condition of the road network became an issue, with most of it in a poor state of repair.[57] The new Ministry of Transport created a classification system for the important routes connecting large population centres or for through traffic, with the definitive list being published in 1922/3 and revised in 1926/7.[12][58]

High unemployment after the end of World War I led the Minister of Transport to provide grant funding to the County Councils to improve roads, particularly where labour was recruited from areas of high unemployment and adjoining areas, and men with dependants. Two unemployment relief programmes were run, the first from 1920 to 1925 and the second from 1929 to 1930.[56] Government grants were limited to trunk roads and bridges, with the money coming from the Road Fund.[56] Some 500 miles (800 km) of bypasses were built by 1935, about half of what was originally planned at the start of the programmes.[56] In 1930, responsibility for all roads was vested in the County councils.[49] The first inter-urban new road built in the UK was the East Lancs Road, which was built between 1929 and 1934 at a cost of £8 million.[51][59]

For the first time since the Roman occupation, the Ministry of Transport took direct control of the core road network through the Trunk Roads Act 1936.[60] During the 1930s, both the Institution of Highway Engineers and The County Surveyors' Society had published plans for a network of high-speed roads,[61] whilst the Minister of Transport, Leslie Burgin, also visited the autobahn under construction in Germany. Lancashire County Council proposed a new scheme for a motorway and it was agreed to go ahead. This was, however, postponed due to the start of World War II.[62]

During World War II, government plans were drawn up to create a new network of high-speed routes across the country.[57] The passing of the Special Roads Act 1949 gave the government legal powers to build roads that were not automatically rights of way for certain types of user.

1950–1979

In 1958, the first motorway was opened as the Preston Bypass, now part of the M6 motorway.[63] The first major motorway to open was the M1 between Crick and Berrygrove.[63]

In 1963, a report on urban transport planning policy, Traffic in Towns, was produced for the UK Department of Transport by a team headed by the architect, civil engineer and planner Colin Buchanan.[64] While it advocated the construction and reorganisation of towns to accommodate the motor car and lorry, it stressed that this would have to be balanced with restrictions, in accordance with local needs. It highlighted the urgency of the problem of dealing with the expected massive growth in road traffic,[65] the damage it could cause to our towns and cities if unplanned,[66] the eventual need for demand management[67] but with implications of restricting the mass of the population from doing something they didn't see as wrong,[68] and of the inevitable need for a change in policy as the social costs increased.[69]

In 1966, a revision of design standards was proposed which would, it was stated, save "acres of land" and £22,000 per mile in construction costs. The revision involved reducing from 10 ft (3 m) to 5 ft (1.5 m) the width of roadside grass verges on newly constructed "rural" motorways, and removing 1 foot (0.3 m) of the width of the "marginal strips" that separated each carriageway from the central reservation.[70]

The 1968-9 Ministry of Transport report Roads in England planned to complement the new interurban routes with £1bn of new urban trunk roads outside London in order to "alleviate traffic congestion", complemented by parking controls, traffic management and public transport.[71]

The first 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of motorway had been built by 1972[72] and more motorways opened into the 1980s.[73]

Roads outside urban areas continued to be built throughout the 1970s, but the urban routes soon ran into opposition. Plans by the Greater London Council for a series of ringways were cancelled following extensive protests headed by Homes before Roads and a rise in costs.[74] Plans to widen the Archway Road in London[75] were also hit by determined opposition over a 20-year period from the 1970s.[76]

Work on planning motorways in Northern Ireland had begun before the Second World War, but the legal authority for motorways was not provided for until the Special Roads Act (Northern Ireland) 1963, similar to that in the 1949 Act.[77] The first motorway to open was the M1 motorway in 1962, though did so under temporary powers until the Special Roads Act had been passed.[78] Work on the motorways continued until the 1970s, when the oil crisis and The Troubles both intervened, causing the abandonment of many schemes.[79]

1979–1997

The Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher from 1979 adopted a pro-roads policy. During this period, numerous road upgrades were built and the M25 motorway was completed. In 1989, it announced a large-scale roads programme (stated to be the largest since the Romans) in the Roads for Prosperity White Paper. It proposed 500 road schemes at a cost of £23 billion and predicted an increase of road traffic of 142% by 2025.[80] It would have involved the doubling of the trunk road capacity with around 150 bypasses being built, caricatured in later years as predict and provide, whereby the government predicted the required capacity in forthcoming years and built roads to match.[81] From 1985 to 1995, the road network expanded by 24,000 miles (38,624 km).[82]

Twyford down cutting 03
The M3 motorway cutting at Twyford Down

This road building programme continued into the start of the premiership of John Major. In the early-1990s, the government decided to complete the M3 motorway by building a six-lane road in a cutting through Twyford Down. This attracted the first direct action protests against a major road in the country. Building work was delayed considerably, and anti-roads protesters gained large amounts of publicity.[83] The Newbury bypass saw some of the largest protests against a road in the UK. Proposed originally in the 1980s, the bypass was subject to strong support and opposition.[84] Also in this time frame, the M11 link road protest saw protracted disturbance during the upgrading of a section of the A12 through East London. Costs increased rapidly, the Newbury bypass being 50% over budget and many other schemes showed increases of 100%.[85]

The Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment had also concluded in 1994 that building new roads simply generated more traffic, and was therefore largely self-defeating.[86] By 1994, following the recession of the early 1990s, a significant number of remaining schemes were cancelled, although the government still intended to continue with others using private financing.[87] The Secretary for state for transport, Dr Brian Mawhinney launched a "Great Debate" about the future direction for transport in the UK and the required level of road building[88] stating that the road network was "broadly complete".[89]

A major Royal Commission report, "Transport and the Environment", was published in October 1994 to highlight the serious environmental consequences of UK's transport system in response to which the New Scientist commented "Rarely, if ever, can a ministry have emerged so badly from an official report as John MacGregor's old department" in an article titled "Head-on collision over transport: The British government has received its sternest warning yet that its unflagging support for the car is seriously at odds with its own green principles".[90]

The last new motorway in the United Kingdom (The M3 motorway in Northern Ireland) opened in 1994.[91] In 1996 the total length of motorways reached 2,000 miles (3,200 km).[92]

1997–present day

After the election of the Labour government in 1997, most remaining road schemes were cancelled[93][94] and problem areas of the road network subject to multi-modal studies to investigate non-road alternatives, following the introduction of the A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England White Paper.[95]

In 1998, it was proposed to transfer parts of the English trunk road network to local councils, retaining central control for the network connecting major population centres, ports, airports, key cross-border links and the Trans-European Road Network.[96] Around 40% of the network was transferred to local authorities.[60]

In 2002, the government proposed a new major road building program with 360 miles (580 km) of the strategic road network to be widened, 80 major new trunk road schemes to improve safety and 100 new bypasses on trunk and local roads.[97] The protesters reformed.[98]

In 2004, the Government announced in the Queen's speech a major new funding source from transport schemes, the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).

In 2007, a new Planning Bill was introduced to parliament which would speed up the process of approving new roads and other transport infrastructure but which has raised concerns that it may erode democracy[99] and be a "developer's charter".[100]

Traffic has increased by 80% between 1980 and 2005 whilst road capacity has increased by 10%.[101]

See also

References

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External links

A4174 road

The A4174 is a major ring road in England which runs around the northern and eastern edge of Bristol, mainly in South Gloucestershire, and through the southern suburbs of the city. When it was first conceived it was planned to circle the whole of Bristol, and is commonly referred to as the "Avon Ring Road", or less accurately the "Bristol Ring Road", on road signs. The road does not circle the whole city, instead covering roughly half of the route. It is broken in part where it is concurrent with the A4.

A45 road

The A45 is a major road in England. It runs east from Birmingham past the National Exhibition Centre and the M42, then bypasses Coventry and Rugby, where it briefly merges with the M45 until it continues to Daventry. It then heads to Northampton and Wellingborough before running north of Rushden and Higham Ferrers and terminating at its junction with the A14 road in Thrapston.

Prior to the construction of the M6 motorway it was the main route from the Midlands to Ipswich and to the Haven ports. When the A1-M1 link road section of the current A14 opened in 1994 most of the A45 to the east of Cambridge was re-designated as the A14 and some sections to the west were downgraded to B-roads (including the B645 between Higham Ferrers and St Neots).

A5058 road

The A5058 road, known as Queens Drive for much of its length, is a major ring road in Liverpool. The eastern section of the A5058 connects Breeze Hill in Bootle at the intersection with the A59, with Aigburth Vale in Aigburth at the other end.

The road has been described as being the first ring road to be built in the country and was designed around the idea that future growth would require a substantial road, despite no development reaching the area around the road until many years later. The road played a crucial role in offering development opportunities during the early 20th century, at a time when slum housing was being cleared in Liverpool City Centre and land was sought for new housing.

A6177 road

The A6177 is a ring road around Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. It is mostly formed from existing roads and save for its southern section is single-carriageway.

A road

An A road may be

motorways or freeways, usually where the local word for motorway begins with A (for example, Autobahn in German; Autostrada in Italian).

main roads or highways, in a system where roads are graded A, B and sometimes lower categories

roads in a particular area or zone designated A

B roads in Zone 7 of the Great Britain numbering scheme

B roads are numbered routes in Great Britain of lesser importance than A roads. See the article Great Britain road numbering scheme for the rationale behind the numbers allocated.

B roads in Zone 8 of the Great Britain numbering scheme

B roads are numbered routes in Great Britain of lesser importance than A roads. See the article Great Britain road numbering scheme for the rationale behind the numbers allocated.

European route E5

The European route E5 is part of the United Nations international E-road network. It is the westernmost north-south "reference road", running from Greenock, Scotland south through England and France to Algeciras, Spain. The route is 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long.

The E5 follows the route Greenock – Glasgow – Gretna – Carlisle – Penrith – Preston – Warrington – Birmingham – Oxford – Newbury – Southampton … Le Havre – Paris – Orléans – Tours – Poitiers – Bordeaux – San Sebastián – Burgos – Madrid – Córdoba – Seville – Cádiz – Algeciras.

Leeds Inner Ring Road

The Leeds Inner Ring Road is part-motorway and part-A roads in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, which forms a ring road around the city centre. It has six different road numbers that are all sections of longer roads. Clockwise, the roads are the A58(M), a motorway section of the A58 road; the A64(M), part of the A64 road; the A61 between York Road and the M621; the M621 between junctions 4 and 2; and the A643 between the M621 and A58. The motorway section is in total is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long and is subject to a 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) speed limit throughout.

Link road

A link road is a transport infrastructure road that links two conurbations or other major road transport facilities, often added because of increasing road traffic. They can be controversial, especially if they threaten to destroy natural habitat and greenfield land.

The term is used in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States state of Nebraska.

An example of a link road is Marston Ferry Road in Oxford, England. It was built in the late 20th century link North Oxford with Marston, Oxford to the east.

List of motorways in the United Kingdom

The list of motorways in the United Kingdom is a complete list of motorways in the United Kingdom. Note that the numbering scheme used for Great Britain does not include roads in Northern Ireland, which are allocated numbers on an ad hoc basis.

M4 relief road

The M4 relief road is a proposed motorway south of the city of Newport, South Wales. Originally proposed in 1991, the scheme was dropped by the Welsh Government in 2009 when costs had risen to £1 billion. They were revived in 2011 with indications of support from the Treasury given in April 2013. There was controversial media speculation that it would become the United Kingdom's second full toll-paying motorway. In July 2014 the Welsh Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, stated that the scheme, following the so-called 'black route', would go ahead and could be completed by 2022. On 4 June 2019, however, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, announced that the scheme would not proceed.

M60 motorway

The M60 motorway, Manchester Ring Motorway, or Manchester Outer Ring Road, is an orbital motorway in North West England. Built over a 40-year period, it passes through all Greater Manchester's metropolitan boroughs except for Wigan and Bolton. Most of Manchester is encompassed within the motorway, except for the southernmost part of the city (Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport) which is served by the M56.

The M60 is 36.1 miles (58.1 km) long and was renamed the M60 in 2000, with parts of the M62 and M66 and all of the M63 being amalgamated into the new route. The road forms part of the unsigned Euroroutes E20 and E22.

In 2008, the M60 was proposed as a cordon for congestion charging in Greater Manchester, although this was rejected in a referendum relating to the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund. The M60 is the only true orbital motorway in the United Kingdom; the M25 motorway in London is not, due to the Dartford Crossing being designated the A282.

Roman roads in Britannia

Roman roads in Britannia were initially designed for military use, created by the Roman Army during the nearly four centuries (43 – 410 AD) that Britannia was a province of the Roman Empire. It is estimated that about 2,000 mi (3,200 km) of paved trunk roads (i.e. surfaced roads running between two towns or cities) were constructed and maintained throughout the province. Most of the known network was completed by AD 180. The primary function of the network was to allow rapid movement of troops and military supplies, but it subsequently provided vital infrastructure for commerce, trade and the transportation of goods.

A considerable number of Roman roads remained in daily use as core trunk roads for centuries after the end of Roman rule in Britain in AD 410. Some routes are now part of the UK's national road network. Others have been lost or are of archeological and historical interest only.

After the Romans departed, systematic construction of paved highways in the United Kingdom did not resume until the early 18th century. The Roman road network remained the only nationally-managed highway system within Britain until the establishment of the Ministry of Transport in the early 20th century.

Single carriageway

A single carriageway (British English) or undivided highway (American English) is a road with one, two or more lanes arranged within a single carriageway with no central reservation to separate opposing flows of traffic.

A two-lane road or two-lane highway is a single carriageway with one lane for each direction. A single-track road has a single lane with passing places for traffic in both directions. Road traffic safety is generally worse for high-speed single carriageways than for dual carriageways due to the lack of separation between traffic moving in opposing directions.

Toll roads in Great Britain

Toll roads in Great Britain, used to raise fees for the management of roads in the United Kingdom, were common in the era of the turnpike trusts. Currently there is a single major road, the M6 Toll and a small number of bridges and tunnels where tolls are collected. In addition, there are also two UK road pricing schemes, the London congestion charge and the Durham congestion charge.

Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (commonly abbreviated to TSRGD) is the law that sets out the design and conditions of use of official traffic signs that can be lawfully placed on or near roads in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the Isle of Man. The regulations were the result of the review of British road signage carried out by the Worboys Committee.

Turnpike trusts

Turnpike trusts were bodies set up by individual acts of Parliament, with powers to collect road tolls for maintaining the principal roads in Britain from the 17th but especially during the 18th and 19th centuries. At the peak, in the 1830s, over 1,000 trusts administered around 30,000 miles (48,000 km) of turnpike road in England and Wales, taking tolls at almost 8,000 toll-gates and side-bars.During the early 19th century the concept of the turnpike trust was adopted and adapted to manage roads within the British Empire (Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa) and in the United States.Turnpikes declined with the coming of the railways and then the Local Government Act 1888 gave responsibility for maintaining main roads to county councils and county borough councils.

Roads in the United Kingdom
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