Britain was divided into a number of localities or parishes. People living in each parish were responsible for maintaining the roads. Six days every year parishioners helped repair roads. Most roads experienced heavy usage. Six days of repair a year was not enough to fix the roads adequately. There was no signposting and roads were difficult to navigate.
As textile production and iron-making were improved, the demand for more goods put pressure on the transport system.
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In the 1750s, the Turnpike trusts emerged. The Turnpike trusts were groups of people who maintained the roads full time. The Turnpike trusts had power to borrow money to repair and improve roads. There were 1700 Turnpike trusts during the 1750s.
Roads were straightened, made flatter and harder. Bridges were built.
To help pay for the money borrowed to repair the roads, Turnpike trusts set up gates at either end of their roads where tolls could be collected. When someone wanted to use the road, he or should would have to pay a small toll.
By 1800, almost all roads in Britain were controlled by Turnpike trusts. Transportation was easier. Fragile goods could be moved without damage. People could travel to other towns without spending days in difficult conditions. Public transport using stage coaches became frequent.
Turnpike trusts became less frequent as road maintenance was taken over by the government. Although travel by road continued to take place, the cheaper and faster railways became a more popular mode of transportation.