Government announces action plan to improve smart motorways

The importance of walk-round checks
April 2020

The government has announced it is launching an action plan to increase smart motorway safety and raise confidence in their use.

Measures to improve smart motorways will include:

  • Abolishing ‘dynamic hard shoulder’ smart motorways, where the hard shoulder only operates part-time
  • Speeding up the deployment of technology to detect stopped vehicles and close lanes more quickly
  • Increasing traffic officer patrols on some motorways to reduce attendance time for stopped vehicles
  • More emergency areas on the M25 smart motorways
  • Making emergency areas more visible, and more signs to direct motorists to them £5m to improve public information and awareness about smart motorways, doubling the previously planned spend

While collisions between moving vehicles on motorways without a hard shoulder were reduced as predicted, evidence shows the risk of a collision between a moving vehicle and a stationary vehicle is much higher.

As a result, all dynamic hard shoulders will be removed and those routes converted into all lane running (ALR) smart motorways by the end of March 2025.

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