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This part of CBRD explores various aspects of the road network in serious detail — from investigations into the past of the road network and detailed tours of specific roads to biographies of the people who had a major impact on the way we travel.
Wherever these articles take you, they try to help you understand not just what is there, but also why things are the way they are.
The most recently updated articles are at the top. You can filter the list by type, using the menu on the right, or by topic, by clicking one of the tags under each item.
A century ago, one short memorandum issued by the Ministry of Transport laid the groundwork for a system of standardised, uniform road signs and a great deal more.
History | Updated 4 March 2017 | Created 4 March 2017
In August 2016, CBRD turned 15 years old. Join us for a tour of the last 15 years, looking at what's changed on the UK road network and what we've learned.
Guide | Updated 3 September 2016 | Created 3 September 2016
In August 2016, a footbridge over the M20 was struck and collapsed. Why did it come down so easily - and how did the other half stay hanging in mid-air?
Speed limits are more emotive and divisive than almost anything else about the road network. How do you sort the fact from the opinion? And how did we end up with the speed limits we have?
The A465 Heads of the Valleys Road is one of the most spectacular trunk roads in the UK, and building it required some of the most remarkable civil engineering. This is the story of how the road was built in the 1960s, and how it's being rebuilt today.
If there's trouble crossing the Channel, you'll see the lorries queuing on the M20. What is Operation Stack? Why does it cause so much trouble? And why, more than twenty years after it started, are we still using it?
The 1920s and 30s saw a huge roadbuilding boom in London's suburbs. Some of those roads are incredibly well known, but here are five Arterial Roads that have been almost completely forgotten.
During the 1960s the UK developed some of the most sophisticated - and strange - electronic variable message signs anywhere in the world. How? And, just as importantly... why?
Motorways used to be really simple. Now they have electronic signals, variable speed limits, emergency lay-bys, part-time hard shoulders... Just what is so smart about Smart Motorways?
A first step towards emissions-based road pricing, a pointless measure to enforce something that's happening anyway, or another leap forward in traffic planning from the people who created the Congestion Charge? It's hard to say.
One of the world's biggest and most controversial schemes to manage traffic by charging for roadspace. You can drive in to London if you like, guv, but it'll cost you.
We'd be lost without them. Find your way around road numbering - how it works, how it was done and how it doesn't always work all that well.
The best ring road in the world? Possibly. The most frightening? Yes.
The engineering marvel of its day, much altered and maligned ever since: this is the original Mersey Tunnel in all its glory.
Those funny black and yellow symbols are everywhere - and they might just get you back on track one day.
Three roads were built in the space of 200 years, all trying to tame Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe. This is the impressive tale of one of Scotland's most memorable routes.
If you're on the motorway (in England at least) you might have noticed some funny blue signs down the side of the road. What are they for? Find out here.
The first motorway opened in 1958. The first road restricted to motor traffic, on the other hand, opened in 1923...
History | Updated 2 October 2010 | Created 2 October 2010
From Zebra to Pelican and beyond: the comprehensive history of the development of the humble pedestrian crossing. Twice as interesting as you expected or your money back!
In days gone by, new roads were often celebrated with a grand opening ceremony and the issue of a commemorative booklet heralding the exciting new highway. You'll find some of them here, complete with a glimpse of all that empty tarmac and a healthy dose of modernist optimism.
The UK has been driving in circles for a hundred years now, and this humble road junction has become part of British culture. Just what is so special about roundabouts?
The humble West Yorkshire town of Halifax may well be the creator of the most adventurous urban road scheme in the country. Find out what it is, and why what was built isn't even the half of it.
This is the story of one man at Oxfordshire County Council who pre-empted the development of modern road signs - much to the annoyance of the men from the Ministry.
Destructive, expensive, over-optimistic and by far the biggest single plan for roads that Britain has ever seen. Now the biggest research project into unbuilt roads ever.
Common sense suggests that you shouldn't be able to spend so much money on heavy engineering and end up with such a terrible road system.
Officially the seventh most frightening thing on the road network - but actually it might just be the most efficient junction ever designed.
The very first motorway was eight miles of relief for the Lancashire town of Preston. It goes without saying that there's an interesting story to be told about it.
County Surveyor and Bridgemaster for Lancashire in the 1950s and 60s, Drake was instrumental in the motorway revolution.
A whistle-stop tour of the motor age, from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. No pedestrians, horse drawn vehicles, invalid carriages or motorcycles under 50cc please.
Even in the 1960s heyday of roadbuilding, some people said you could never build your way out of congestion. Glasgow had plans to prove them wrong.
One of those hair-raising urban motorways that were all the rage in the late 1960s - but with fewer loose ends than most. A tour of the route with lots of history thrown in.
New Towns are fascinating places socially and architecturally - and, of course, in terms of roads. This article explores one example from start to finish.
Proposed at the same time as the Ringways, but ten times as ambitious - and to think the government considered building them both!
The tale of how British traffic signing developed between the Second World War and the mid-1960s, bringing us from a system designed at the turn of the century to the signs we still use today.
Today you can catch a train to France. You can even put your car on it, and be there in less than an hour. But in the 1980s, Euro Tunnel had competition - including plans to build a motorway across the English Channel.
Britain's most famous anti-road protestor, who shot to fame in the mid-1990s and came to represent the whole environmental movement.
A civil engineer, working principally in the North West of England, responsible for many of the area's motorways.
What sound at first like a pair of forgotten country lanes turn out to have had a major part to play in the history of Scotland's roads.
Those last few miles of the M1 east of Leeds were completed in 1999. It looks for the most part like a fairly average piece of road, but one of the project's engineers describes some of the challenges that were faced.
What happens when there's a big accident on a trunk route? Who picks up the pieces, and why does it take so long?
The routing, design and details of Liverpool's 1960's plans for an inner ring road have been a mystery to road enthusiasts for years. The full details on the route, plus that of the M62, are here.
M4Man's account of the building of the M4 through Wales from growing up in Swansea - a tour of the motorway from its construction to the present day.
Forefathers to the modern signs - see how the Preston Bypass and other early motorways were signed, and indulge in nostalgia if you long for the days when these still inhabited parts of the M1 and M6.