are smart motorways?
They are stretches of motorway where technology is used
to monitor the road, regulate traffic flow and ease congestion.
They also use the hard shoulder as an extra lane of traffic
to help traffic flow, but critics claim they have led to road
deaths. Existing smart motorways (10% of the motorway network
in England) will remain and undergo a previously announced
safety refit to create 150 more emergency refuge or stopping
places and also use improved technology.
Three main types of smart motorway
> Controlled - which have a permanent hard shoulder,
but use technology such as variable speed limits to adjust
> Dynamic - where the hard shoulder can be opened
up at peak times and used as an extra lane. When this happens,
the speed limit is reduced to 60mph.
> All-lane running - where the hard shoulder has
been permanently removed to provide an extra lane; emergency
refuge areas are provided at regular intervals for cars that
get into trouble. In those cases drivers are meant to aim
for the emergency refuge areas (essentially laybys) placed
at intervals along the road. The concern is that with no hard
shoulder at all, if a car is in trouble and not able to reach
an "emergency refuge area or layby" the car will
be stranded in the nearside lane with a flow of traffic pounding
up behind with the possibility of vehicles crashing into the
stranded car with the driver and any passenger(s) inside!
motorway sections will no longer be or become new all-lane-running
M62 junction 20-25
M25 junction 10-16
following stretches were due to be converted to all-lane-running,
but will remain dynamic smart motorways:
(M4 junction 19-20 and M5 junction 15-17)
M6 junction 4-5
M6 junction 5-8
M6 junction 8-10a
M42 junction 3a-7
M62 junction 25-30
in the pipleine which have been cancelled:
M1 junctions 35A-39 Sheffield to Wakefield
M6 junctions 19- 21A Knutsford to Croft
Smart motorways under construction
The construction of two stretches of smart motorway from junctions
6 to 8 on the M56, and from 21a to 26 on the M6,
will continue as they are already more than three quarters
the concerns many drivers have with smart motorways are with
the "all-lane running" type.
Systems used to alert drivers of dangers on smart
> Alerting drivers of a stranded car in any lane
The speed with which emergency signs are posted on the gantries
above the motorway as a warning of a stranded car in the nearside
lane is crucial to avoiding a serious accident to a stranded
car and its occupants, and indeed to other motorists.
Emergency signs on overhead gantries
All three types of "smart motorways" above use overhead
gantries to alert and direct drivers. Variable speed limits
are introduced to control traffic flow when there is congestion,
or if there is a hazard ahead then a red X
is shown closing the lane and requiring drivers to move from
the nearside lane into the second or other lanes. These speed
limits are monitored for driver compliance by speed cameras.