Saturday, September 12, 2009

Traffic Surveys of the 1930's & 40's

Rural Traffic Survey Hut.

Today's traffic surveys are in the main made with the use of electromechanical devices. In the 1930's and early 40's none of this equipment was available, so the job was conducted by manual labour. The picture of the shed above is typical of the type of building that would house the enumerator's, I say enumerator's, as the task required two people to conduct a survey.

One person would survey and record on a ledger sheet, specially laid out on all traffic travelling from left to right. The second person would record all traffic travelling from right to left. This would include identifying the type of vehicle or person that passed, from heavy goods vehicles and buses to light vans and passenger cars, people on bicycles, and even people walking. On the odd occasion, they would have to record a herd of cattle or sheep being driven past them, which was the normal thing on rural roads in those days.

The shed or building was transported from site to site on a council lorry in an unassembled form, and could be erected or taken down in a matter of a few minutes. The traffic surveyors were usually retired parishioners, who at some time or other had worked for the council. The survey would be conducted usually, Monday to Friday from 8 AM in the morning until 4 PM in the afternoon.

The survey was conducted approximately once every two years, one of the sites being the small layby at Widbrook Common just by the gate leading to my home. As a rule this survey was carried out alternate years to the resurfacing being performed, and quite often during the summer school holiday period.

No comments: