Smart Motorways To See Changes Following Review

Tue 17th Mar 2020

A raft of changes to the UK’s motorway network will be implemented following a governmental review into the controversial smart motorway implementation.

The much criticised road system had been under fire since a string of fatalities caused by confusion on the dynamic hard shoulder, which sees the part-time hard shoulder sometimes made live. Following the review by Transport secretary Grant Shapps, dynamic hard shoulders will be abolished, one of 18 changes made to boost safety.

“Overall, what the evidence shows is that in most ways, smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, the conventional ones. But not in every way” Shapps said in a statement following the review. “To ensure we are doing all we can do to improve safety, I am publishing a package of 18 measures. This will allow us to retain the benefits of smart motorways while addressing the concerns that have been identified.

“Smart motorways have helped us cope with a 23 percent rise in traffic since 2000. They save motorists thousands of hours sitting in jams. They reduce the disruption and environmental destruction which would otherwise be needed to widen our busiest roads.”

The DfT report revealed that an average of 11 people had died each year due to the smart motorways between 2015 and 2018. And as well as the changes much more focus will be made on areas of the motorway network where there have been clusters of incidents.

The AA, who has campaigned against Smart Motorways for a number of years welcomed the review, with the organisation’s president Edmund King saying: “The fact that 38% of breakdowns happen in live lanes on smart motorways means drivers have been at risk. Tragically, people have lost their lives, and in some cases, coroners have indicated this could have been avoided.

“We applaud the current transport secretary, Grant Shapps MP, for instigating the review and taking this issue very seriously. We believe the intention to place emergency refuse areas at every three-quarters of a mile is a great outcome and what we have called for over the last decade.”