The Committee's first report explained the Autobahn concept:
"The new motorways are available to all motor vehicles without payment of tolls, but unlike existing arterial roads in Great Britain no other traffic is allowed upon them. The exclusion of pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and animals, is a distinctive feature of the system...
"In the course of our tour we travelled over numerous bridges and viaducts exceeding 1,000 feet in length and 130 feet in height, and we saw many embankments 25 feet high. In this respect the motorways resemble in their plan the highest class of main line railway engineering, differing only in having a steeper gradient well within the capacity of the modern motor vehicle."
There was no doubt that the Autobahn was a bold and impressive way of solving traffic and unemployment problems. In Britain, the committee noted, the traffic situation was even more acute: here there were 15.5 vehicles for every mile of public road, while in Germany there were only 9.3 vehicles per mile. The financial case was equally clear. On the other hand, they warned that "Great Britain is already much better provided with ordinary roads than Germany, and this in itself makes our problem vastly different... and in many respects much more difficult".
All the same, their minds were set. The various members of the group went away and began making the advantages of the motorway known. It's no coincidence, for example, that in the following year the County Surveyors' Society published a proposal for a thousand-mile motorway network across Britain. The Ministry of Transport started thinking seriously, for the first time, about the benefits of a network of faster roads between towns and cities. And James Drake went back to Blackpool Borough Council and made plans for a new ring road that he hoped would be the very first British motorway.
The German visit was enough to finally convince the Ministry of Transport to take some action, and in 1938 Leslie Hore-Belisha, Minister of Transport, attempted to answer the pro-road lobby's protests by approving the construction of a north-south motorway through Lancashire, from Warrington in the south to Carnforth in the north.
With that, the pace was gathering - and even the Second World War could only delay it temporarily.