17 JANUARY 2022


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Article from BTNews 17 JANUARY 2022

Smart motorways – change of thinking *

Recommendations by the House of Commons Transport Committee has forced a change of thinking on all-lane running (smart) motorways.

Without a continuous hard shoulder they have been criticised by both private and professional drivers and allegedly have caused 63 deaths in five years.  A review is to take place and where work is already under way on smart motorways, additional emergency refuge areas and Stopped Vehicle Detection will be installed.

The Government will now move to collect five years of safety and economic data for every all-lane running scheme introduced before 2020.  The Committee’s report had concluded that the March 2020 decision to make all new motorways all-lane running was premature as the evidence base was insufficient.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said: “This is the Committee’s second inquiry into smart motorways. Back in 2016, our concerns about safety were not addressed. Assurances were given and not delivered. This time, Ministers have accepted all our key recommendations and we welcome today’s response.

“It is important that this extra time is not just spent on evaluation – it must be focused on making smart motorways safer. The existing network of smart motorways must be improved to deliver more emergency refuge areas and better technology to close live lanes and reduce the risk for stranded motorists.”


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David Starkie, United Kingdom

Bear in mind that constructing 150 extra refuge areas on existing smart motorways is going to cause a lot of delay.