Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

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ajuk
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Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by ajuk » Fri May 22, 2020 23:02

I remember for a while after I first got my licence I would avoid using the motorway to go to work, (Avonmouth to Patchway on the M5) no real reason, it it just alien to me to get onto a motorway to go 4 miles, I would go the much longer route. My thinking at the time was, 'I'm not getting on the motorway, it's not that far away the motorway's for long journeys'. Then I started using it and never went back. I then my aunty went from Warwick to Banbury avoiding the M40 a few years ago for no apparent reason. So I'm wondering if this thinking is common, where people take the local roads, for local journeys.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Johnathan404 » Fri May 22, 2020 23:22

I wonder if it is connected to the fact that people don't like changing trains or buses, even if it gets them a quicker journey. People tend to be happier when they are following a single 'line'.

(Obviously this doesn't apply to long journeys like following the A38, so don't even try that one. It may be to do with how many instructions you have to memorise.)

Having grown up next to a motorway junction I quickly got into the habit of using the motorway to access shops / restaurants / etc which were positioned close to other junctions on the motorway, even if there were other branches within a shorter distance. The layout of the South Hampshire conurbation means many people I knew would be close to one of the junctions and would do this, and the road signs even encouraged it.

In fact there must be many small towns which encourage through traffic to use the motorway, even if the motorway is congested, because that congestion becomes somebody else's problem when it's on a trunk road.
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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by djw1981 » Sat May 23, 2020 05:26

In Glasgow, an awful lot of (esp off peak) journeys on M8 / M74 are local, especially east end to west end, or across kingston bridge

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by ais523 » Sat May 23, 2020 06:04

Johnathan404 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 23:22
I wonder if it is connected to the fact that people don't like changing trains or buses, even if it gets them a quicker journey. People tend to be happier when they are following a single 'line'.
As someone who (in more normal times) relied a lot on public transport, I often (not always) favoured longer journeys with fewer changes because a) I often wasn't in a hurry anyway, and b) every time you change there's a lot of potential variance based on when the first service arrives compared to when the second service departs. Most public transport services can be relied upon to arrive approximately once every so many minutes, i.e. have a known frequency, but at least for urban buses, the phase (i.e. the exact moment in the day at which any particular repeat occurs) is so variable that it is best treated at random.

There was one journey that I used to perform most days. The fastest I ever did it involved three buses, each of which departed almost exactly at the moment the previous one arrived. I never used that route again; it was a pure fluke that it was possible in the first place. (The first of the three buses went about four stops on a low-frequency bus; if it hadn't arrived almost immediately, it would have been faster to walk that section if using the same bus.)

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Chris Bertram » Sat May 23, 2020 08:14

djw1981 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 05:26
In Glasgow, an awful lot of (esp off peak) journeys on M8 / M74 are local, especially east end to west end, or across kingston bridge
A factor in this (not unique to Glasgow) is that when a bypass is built, of whatever standard, the end-to-end journey that it replaces is often reduced in standard, diverted, even severed in order to "encourage" traffic to use the bypass.
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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by KeithW » Sat May 23, 2020 08:41

I tend to avoid motorways for short journeys for the simple reason that I have on occasion ended up stuck for a very long time. The most memorable was heading to Milton Keynes coachway just off M1 J13. I drove along the A421 and joined the M1 at J12. As I got to the bottom of the slip the traffic was already slowing. As it came to a halt it was obvious something was seriously wrong as there was nothing at all in sight on the southbound carriageway. Then we saw several air ambulances passing overhead. There had been a major pileup southbound and they had closed the northbound side for the choppers to operate from. That 5 mile journey took almost 3 hours.

That said I would have still had to wait as the person I was going to collect was still aboard the coach crawling along the single southbound lane that had been reopened. We eventually made the return journey via Cranfield and Wooton Green.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by trickstat » Sat May 23, 2020 10:29

KeithW wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 08:41
I tend to avoid motorways for short journeys for the simple reason that I have on occasion ended up stuck for a very long time. The most memorable was heading to Milton Keynes coachway just off M1 J13. I drove along the A421 and joined the M1 at J12. As I got to the bottom of the slip the traffic was already slowing. As it came to a halt it was obvious something was seriously wrong as there was nothing at all in sight on the southbound carriageway. Then we saw several air ambulances passing overhead. There had been a major pileup southbound and they had closed the northbound side for the choppers to operate from. That 5 mile journey took almost 3 hours.

That said I would have still had to wait as the person I was going to collect was still aboard the coach crawling along the single southbound lane that had been reopened. We eventually made the return journey via Cranfield and Wooton Green.
The worry about getting stuck is very relevant for short motorway journeys. For a number of years my journey to work was from Letchworth to Stevenage and the obvious route was to take the A1(M) south for one junction. I suspect that most of the time that would be a minute or two quicker than taking the B197 (the 'old A1'/Great North Road). However, I would almost always take the latter option as occasionally the motorway would jam up badly and this would not be visible from the roundabout above the junction (there is a lane drop at Junction 8 - Stevenage North). I worked flexitime and to be in work a minute or two earlier wasn't that important. If there was heavy traffic on the B197 there was a detour via a village that could be used.

For about 4 years I would drive to Stevenage to catch a train for work and then I started to use the motorway as I needed to catch a specific train. As it was earlier (just after 7), the chance of major congestion was reduced and I think I only missed that train a couple of times a year. This meant I got a slower train and probably got to work about 45 minutes later. I was still on flexitime and very occasional delays like this aren't too much of a problem.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Peter350 » Sat May 23, 2020 10:56

Johnathan404 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 23:22
I wonder if it is connected to the fact that people don't like changing trains or buses, even if it gets them a quicker journey. People tend to be happier when they are following a single 'line'.

(Obviously this doesn't apply to long journeys like following the A38, so don't even try that one. It may be to do with how many instructions you have to memorise.)

Having grown up next to a motorway junction I quickly got into the habit of using the motorway to access shops / restaurants / etc which were positioned close to other junctions on the motorway, even if there were other branches within a shorter distance. The layout of the South Hampshire conurbation means many people I knew would be close to one of the junctions and would do this, and the road signs even encouraged it.

In fact there must be many small towns which encourage through traffic to use the motorway, even if the motorway is congested, because that congestion becomes somebody else's problem when it's on a trunk road.
I wonder if you have the journey between M27 junctions 10 and 11 in mind. All traffic on the A32 headed between Wickham and Gosport is sent that way, away from said road, yet it is much shorter to go via Wallington Way which is still part of the A32.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Jonathan B4027 » Sat May 23, 2020 11:26

ajuk wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 23:02
I remember for a while after I first got my licence I would avoid using the motorway to go to work, (Avonmouth to Patchway on the M5) no real reason, it it just alien to me to get onto a motorway to go 4 miles, I would go the much longer route.
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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by poshbakerloo » Sat May 23, 2020 12:37

The M60 through Stockport gets a lot of local traffic. I use it when going to the cinema, not far at all - but any other road is just a small suburban road.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by fras » Sat May 23, 2020 13:01

A lot of people are anxious about motorway driving due to the speeds involved. Obviously these people tend to be elderly, but not all of them. Even so, motorways near urban areas tend to get used by people to go to work. It wasn't very long before the Midland Links motorways and those around Bristol got clogged up at rush-hour times thus negating their long-distance traffic purpose. Eventually a bypass was built for the M6 through Birmingham, the M6 Toll, but the tolls have put off a lot of people, and this motorway has never fulfilled its original purpose.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by B1040 » Sat May 23, 2020 13:23

For me it's an irrelevant question as I don't live near enough main roads for it to be the shortest way to anywhere.
I suppose the one exception was the journey from Ramsey to Cambridge where the quickest route was sometimes to the A14 near St Ives, but the most reliable route was via Earith Bridge joining the A14 at Bar Hill.
For me it was a combination of perceived risk of hold ups and accidents versus slower but more factors under.my control. Last time I drove all the way into Cambridge was Christmas Day.

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Re: Journeys not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Owain » Sat May 23, 2020 13:33

I've tended to go to Huddersfield on the A-roads and then return on the M62.

I've never kept an eye on the clock, but the outbound journey doesn't seem noticeably longer than the return.
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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Glenn A » Sat May 23, 2020 13:37

Nearest motorway to me is 42 miles, but I have tried the A6 as an alternative from Penrith to jct 42 of the M6 and the difference is minimal. You can bowl along the A6 at 60 mph as the traffic is very light and I reckon the M6 only saves you 5 minutes. However, the A6 is prone to tractors in the summer and this can lengthen your journey.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by RichardA626 » Sat May 23, 2020 13:39

When I first started to see my now wife I used to drive to where she lived on urban A roads as it was shorter than taking the motorway, but eventually the number of traffic lights on the way became a drag & I started use the motorway instead.
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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by NICK 647063 » Sat May 23, 2020 13:57

Sometimes you make short journeys using only short sections of motorway...... I go from Leeds to Rothwell often using the A63 from Leeds then M1 from J45 to J44 only just join the M1 before leaving it again, I could do this journey avoiding the motorway but to be fair it’s the quickest way.

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Re: Journey's not long enough for the Motorway.

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sat May 23, 2020 14:41

I'm not sure this is limited to motorways... near me, the Powers That Be are bemoaning that the congestion on the A331 (Blackwater Valley Relief Route) is because people are (apparently) using it for local journeys, between two adjacent junctions.

Presumably, they want us to drive along the A325 through Farnborough or Aldershot or Farnham, and be held up by the myriad sets of un-synchronized traffic lights instead.
Last edited by Micro The Maniac on Sat May 23, 2020 14:50, edited 1 time in total.
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2019/20 Completions
Motorways: M1, M3, M11, M18, M23, M27, M32, M40, M42, M45, M48, M49, M50, M53, M54, M55, M56, M60, M62, M69, M180, M181, M271, M275... A3(M), A48(M), A168(M), A308(M), A329(M), A404(M)
The A 'F99': A27, A31, A32, A33, A37, A42, A49, A50, A51, A53, A54

From the SABRE Wiki: A331 :


The A331 is a recently purpose-built primary route that straddles the boundary between Surrey and Hampshire and forms part of an alternative route to beat the congested western section of the M25. It also bypasses the adjacent A325 and B3411 (which was the A321 until the A331 was built).

It starts almost at the exact point where Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire

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