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Title: Constructing Britain's road network : the scientific governance of British roads and their users, 1900-1963
Author: Cook, Justine Denise
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 8822
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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This dissertation argues that the period 1900-1963 may be seen as one in which various models for the governance of roads and their users were developed. Demands for governance came from road campaigners and governmental bodies; these various groups called for, and attempted to implement, such governance in various ways. Of all these methods, scientific governance, via experiment and road network architecture, came decisively to supervene. The development of centralised and localised forms of governance, channelled through the civil and traffic engineering implemented by its County Surveyors, facilitated the state governance of Britain's road network and its users. The co-operation of road users was vital to the success of this state governance. Previously a law unto themselves, road users (most especially motorists) were self-governed by a gentlemanly code of tacit rules of the road. Overhauling the mindset and behaviour of road users first required the reform of the systematic structures of highway administration, along with legislative enforcement. This, however, was dependent upon the premise of central governance and thus government acceptance of roads as a national responsibility. This state of affairs brought with it two important factors. First, the financial means to fund road improvement measures was provided. Second, centres of scientific investigations were established, and credible methods developed, to explore advanced methods of construction and systems of traffic control. Understanding the interaction of roads, vehicles, and users was fundamental to the successful implementation of scientific governance. Roads were a socio-technical problem that required a scientific solution, both in terms of their physical construction and in terms of the ways in which they were used, and used safely. Science was in-built into in the driving experience through such innovations as the use of white lines, the implementation of speed limits, road layouts and road signs. Together, these and other developments constructed the British road network, and worked as means of governing user behaviour. The result of all these factors and developments was the State-based, scientific governance of British roads and their users.
Supervisor: Sleigh, Charlotte ; Higgitt, Rebekah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D History General and Old World