As Easy As Riding A Bike)
The village of Warnham in West Sussex has long been plagued by ‘rat running’ – drivers taking inappropriate routes through the village as a shortcut, to avoid a lengthier (but probably, in reality, quicker) journey on more appropriate A-roads.
I’m not actually a fan of denigrating drivers in this way, as ‘rat runners’ – they are making rational decisions about the best routes for them. And even if we are willing to label them, it doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. In reality ‘rat running’ is a strategic problem that can only be solved by planning and engineering decisions, ones that simply remove the ‘rat runs’ as potential routes, or that make the appropriate roads much more attractive, and the inappropriate roads much less attractive, in combination.
The village of Warnham is an interesting case study in this regard. Looking at a map of the area, we can see why there is a problem.
We can immediately see that the village (at the top centre of the map) lies in the middle of a path running east-west across the map – a path formed on the left by the A281, heading towards Guildford, and to the east, the A264, heading towards Crawley and Gatwick Airport.
Zooming in closer, I’ve drawn on the route that drivers are expected to take, following the main roads, if they were heading from Crawley towards Guildford.
I suspect the majority of drivers do follow this route – and in the opposite direction too. But it’s clearly a long way round, and there are a couple of tempting ‘direct’ routes, which cut off the long southward diversion, both of which run through or near Warnham, marked in red, below.
This problem has got, or will get, even worse, with the expansion of the village of Broadbridge Heath (now essentially a connected suburb of Horsham), to the south.
The old bypass of Broadbridge Heath is the yellow road; the new bypass has been built even further south, making the east-west route even longer.