Safer ‘Smart’ Motorways

CSRRR are calling for the Government to halt the roll-out of all-lane running motorways and to implement so-called ‘smart’ motorways in a way that takes account of the rights of those who work on the hard shoulder – particularly recovery operators.

The Department for Transport intends to meet the increasing traffic demands over the coming years in part by rolling out ‘All Lane Running’(ALR) motorway schemes covering 300 miles of motorway by 2025 at a net saving of around £6 billion to the taxpayer

All Lane Running are specific type of smart motorway in which the hard shoulder is converted into a standard operating lane.

The Department  presents ALR as a natural, logical extension of smart motorway systems that have been in place for many years. But in reality the erasure of the hard shoulder represents a radical departure from previous government policy and the Government ought to be forthright in advertising it as such.

These schemes offer clear reliability and efficiency and improvements, but CSRRR argue these improvements have come at the cost of reduced safety of those who work on the hard shoulder, particularly recovery operators who don’t have access to the use of red warning beacons.

The data from the initial ALR schemes on the M25 showed a staggering non-compliance rate of 8% for red X signals. Despite the Committtee report’s recommendation that the Government continue publish data to demonstrate its improvements on this the most critical metric, it has failed to do so. Indeed, Highways England have as recently as March 2018 touted an improved non-compliance rate 8% – which isn’t an improvement at all.