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I have mixed feelings about motorways. On the one hand, over-investment in motorways at the expense of other transportation modes has destroyed the heart and character of countless neighbourhoods and cities over the past few decades. Take a look at an aerial photograph of Kansas City for example: The impact of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, widely blamed for sending the Bronx into urban decay, is also well worth keeping in mind.

At the same time though, motorways clearly have their advantages. They enable long-distance trips efficiently around a city, especially for the movement of freight or for other types of trips where public transport isn’t particularly viable. Furthermore, they also take pressure off local roads, freeing them up for shorter trips, passenger transport and also ensuring they’re nicer places to live, work, shop etc.

Our city contains what I think is a reasonable, but not excessive, number of motorways. It’s interesting to look at how they fit together into a system. The main cross-city motorway is shown in red in the map below, known as “Regional Motorway”:

Thinking about how this city fits into the entire country, regional motorway plays a key inter-city role – joining together many of the cities, although I’m not sure whether its volumes will always justify motorway standard.

Working west-to-east, the “Western Expressway” is shown in orange in the map below. It supports the city’s major development area throughout the 1950s and 1960s, linking into other motorways at both ends:

At its eastern end, the Western Expressway links in with the “Baba City – Emerald City Motorway”. Clearly, given its name, this motorway links our city with one that’s fairly nearby (say around 150km to the northwest, although inland a bit). At its southern end, this motorway delves close to the heart of the city before turning into another motorway.

While drawing the city, I had probably expected this motorway to be perhaps the busiest – at it serves a pretty major section of the city, quite a lot of industrial/commercial area (the corridor to the south of its interchange with Regional Motorway) as well as obviously linking through to a major motorway heading out east. This motorway, called “Pacific Coast Motorway” (perhaps giving us a clue about where the city would be located?) does a fairly similar job, but in the eastern part of the city:

Our next motorway heads north from a point along the “Baba City to Emerald City Motorway”, it’s called the “Northwest Motorway”:

The next major “north-south” motorway is (somewhat unsurprisingly) called the “Northern Motorway”. It follows one of the major development corridors heading north out of the city:

The last major motorway (Baba City Motorway) is perhaps the shortest of the lot (except for a small link connecting to the airport) and cuts across one of the other main development zones of the city in the post-war era: The final little bit of motorway, as I said, links to the airport – meaning that the complete network is shown in the map below:

A few thoughts stand out when looking at the complete network:

  • The network is perhaps a little bit too conveniently complete. This fits with a few thoughts I’ve had about the city in general, that may it’s a little bit too ideal, too complete, too much money has gone into infrastructure to be realistic.
  • There’s a pretty large chunk of the southern part of the city without any motorway access. This fits fairly well with that being one of the oldest areas.
  • Maybe the purple motorway (Baba City motorway) in the map above isn’t actually necessary…?

I do think that in general I perhaps need to take a more realistic approach to the completeness of the city’s infrastructure, or perhaps need to think about ways of highlighting the city as being bigger than I had perhaps previously thought – population wise – to support such a high level of infrastructure provision.

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