Dan and Bex are getting a bit lost. They find out that some roads are more helpful than others. It seems a great road has to be useful – not useless!
A great road is a useful road! The main role of a road is to get people to their destination quickly.
But where a road is PLACED is just as important as where it GOES!
Take the A14 bypass near Huntingford in Cambridgeshire.
A bypass is a road that takes traffic away from built-up areas, like crowded town and village centres, to help traffic flow without interference from local traffic. They reduce congestion and improve road safety.
Whilst road planners will want to find the quickest route between two points so that journey times are the shortest possible, what if that means building a new road across a lovely park or through farmland? It might be better to have a slightly slower route.
In towns, it’s hard to get to shops and restaurants if there aren’t convenient places to stop. The type of parking matters too. If there is likely to be a lot of pedestrians, it’s not helpful if parking bays take up space that’s needed for people on foot.
And we shouldn’t forget cyclists too. Safe places are needed for them to park their bicycles, so they are secure and not in the way of other road users.
Safe crossing points are vital for a useful road!
It’s not just cars and lorries that might be stuck – think about pedestrians. On roads without regular places to cross safely, they might have to walk a long way to find somewhere to get to the other side. Or otherwise they might decide to just cross where it might be dangerous.
The size of the road is important too and designers need to think about how best to use the space to solve particular problems.
That might mean wider pavements and cycle lanes around schools and public areas. And in areas away from people, like where we are now, wider and faster routes for vehicles might help to keep things moving.