Britians first Toll motorway opened recently, as a northern by-pass around Birmingham (which many a comedian have noted as a good thing)
If you are using it to avoid the congested M6/M5 Spaegetti junction complex then it is probably worth the three pounds 50p for 27 miles of uncongested road.
Most of the time it will not be worth it, especially out of peak hours - the old free Motorway will do just as well.
Notice that the old motorway is signed 'M6' and the new one 'M6 Toll' - so if you take the latter there is no avoiding payment.
If you are brave enough to attempt driving to Birmingham, you will find that it is right at the heart of the Motorway Network in the UK. The M5, M6 and M40 all go to Birmingham.
Driving from the South West of England (i.e. Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucester, etc), you use the M5.
Driving from the South East of England (i.e. London, etc), you use the M40.
Driving from the North West of England (i.e. Manchester, Liverpool, Cumbria, Staffordshire) you use the M6.
The M6, M42 and M5 all join up to make a ring of Motorways around Birmingham - a bit like the M25 in London. The Northern section of this (M6) can get very congested and is in fact one of the busiest streches of road in Europe! They are shortly to open the Birmingham Northern Relief Road (M6 Toll) which is the UK's first Toll Road. What effect this will have on the congestion remains to be seen!
Public transport is crap. Travel West Midlands has most of the routes sewn up and is slowly dropping many of the late services. Central Trains are unreliable and are owned by the same company that owns Travel West Midlands - National Express Group.
Advice is simple - Hire yourself a car, get an A to Z and save yourself the hassle.
Birmingham has a large International Airport and several large rail interchnges, with Birmingham New Street being the largest
The buses are a pretty good and cheap way of getting around, though not the most attractive way. We also have a Metro system which runs from Snowhill train Station to Wolverhampton. But by far the best way to get around the city center is on foot.
We went there by car. Very comformtable and fast. From holland on the boat to Dover. Then the motorway to London and Birmingham.
Parking is awkward, but after 19.00 its free.
Traffic can be busy, but most of the times you can drive normally. Be aware of the speedcontrol!