Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Here is another map we have featured in our 'Mapping Manchester' exhibition in the Rylands Library. It is a nice example of transport mapping displayed in 'Car and the City' cabinet that focuses on surveys and plans of car travel and new road schemes.

Flowline map reproduced from
S.E.L.N.E.C. A Highway Plan, 1962

(Courtesy of Chetham's Library)
The daily flow of vehicle traffic on major routes into Manchester is dramatised here as black arterials that converge on the city centre, nearly obliterating places unlucky enough to be underneath. The map indicates in a powerful fashion that traffic volumes were overwhelming current capacity.
The car and the city

The rapid expansion of car ownership since the 1950s has had a profound effect on Manchester. New routes have cut across the city and many roads have been widened and reconfigured. The planners responsible for these new highways have relied on a multitude of maps and models.

The map displayed here is the triumphal product of the South-East Lancashire and North-East Cheshire Area Highway Engineering Committee. The flagship representation of their 1962 Highway Plan set forth the need for numerous road building schemes deemed essential once funds became available. It symbolises the hopes of the early 1960s that visionary planning could, through scientific analysis, improve the functioning of roads and thus the efficiency of the city region. Much of this grand vision was never realised, although some key aspects of the inner and outer ring roads have come to pass, albeit in a the piecemeal fashion. What has become the M60 orbital motorway took until 2000 to realise.


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