Without the development of UK motorways the country’s transportation and road usage would look extremely different. Since the 1930s and 1920s successive UK governments have recognised the need for an extensive high speed road system throughout the country. There was considerable opposition to this. The railways were still the most dominant form of mass transport at the time. The other argument against the use of cars at the time was that ownership of vehicles was extremely low. It wasn’t until the development of trucks and haulage units that the need for a more comprehensive road system was identified.
These included trucks and vans, and they were to benefit from the introduction of the special roads act in 1949. This would see a large-scale building of motorways beginning with the Preston bypass in 1958 which was to form the beginnings of the M6. However it was the creation of the M1 connecting Birmingham to the capital that really started the growth of the motorway. This was completed a year after the Preston bypass in 1958.
As the beaching act began to remove local and regional railways in favour of roads the 1960s saw the creation of the M4 the M6 and the M62. this with the M1 would become the central spine of the motorway system throughout the country and most major motorways lead off this. Safety was a feature as it is today with Chapter 8 Chevrons used to illuminate Vans for identification at night.