How Things Work
'How Things Work' is our creative, catch-all title for our collection of articles which don't form part of the main database. They attempt to provide some background information about different aspects of motorway services, and a little bit about how they work.
Visitors to this section should also look at History, which pays particular attention to closed, unbuilt and the oldest services.
Our first section examines the topics which we get asked about a lot. It's by far the best place to start!
Facts and Figures
Cobham seems to be the obvious candidate for this one.
This is a little more complicated: we've found some really tiny ones that people normally forget about.
Finding fuel, toilets and some-sort of food on the motorway is easy - for everything else it varies.
There are 96 motorway services in the UK - but that's with a few exceptions and explanations. We've got a list of all the service areas here.
What's the longest motorway journey without any services? Why are motorway services always in awkward places? Which services are closest together? This page has you covered.
What's in a name? Quite a lot of debate and a few controversies.
Find the oldest services, the newest, and everything else in between.
A lot of people tell us they consider a bridge to be the mark of a traditional service station. This is our guide to why they were built, and how they fell out of favour.
Drive thrus are all over the motorway network - what took them so long?
Information for electric vehicle drivers.
From fine dining to burgers and a few new ideas here and there.
There's no such thing as a motel - according to the people who market them, anyway.
The biggest argument found in a service station is over something so basic. This is our attempt to lay down the rules of parking.
The little newsagents that became a big supermarket.
Even we'll admit this isn't the most exciting page on the website, but lots of people ask about service station showers.
It's the only facility everybody is looking for - so why are the toilets always at the back?
Putting traffic alerts on a TV screen doesn't sound revolutionary, but wait until you hear about the first effort.
Information and Guidance
An explanation of how services are regulated and how the policy on them has changed over the years.
A look at how service station design has evolved, and what the key factors in new service station design are.
Information on the different discount and information apps offered to help and persuade motorway users.
In our time online, we frequently see the same motorway myths being repeated time and time again, and we will struggle to bite our tongues any longer.
A look at the other side of the coin as to why services are so expensive, and a few tips to get the better of them.
Information written specifically for coaches and HGV drivers, listing some of the offers available to them.
A non-technical guide to the different road signs used and who is responsible for them.
A collection of pages which explain the meaning of various technical and unofficial terms relating to motorway services.
Lists and Analysis
Across the site we ask you to rate different service stations, and here you can see how they all stack up alongside each other.
A lot of motorway users spot strange little features like this. Here's a list of half-built motorway service stations!
A list of the working titles given to the original service stations. Spot the gaps in the pattern!
Many modern A-road services have adopted a building which pre-dates the road network as we would recognise it. This page lists them.
Motorway services originally sold promotional postcards - find the best of them here.
A list of all the services with a 'secret exit', as well as information on what these things are and who can use them.
Smart motorways have been associated with considerable anxiety from motorists, so this website now highlights where service areas are available on them. That list is available here.
A list of service areas which have played a significant role in a TV show.
A list of service areas which have been reported to have caught fire.