With smart motorways improving the flow of traffic by removing hard shoulders, Matt Pates, who manages the East Midlands division of Highways England, claimed that both the reliability of modern vehicles and the improved safety of motorways means that emergency lanes are now effectively redundant.
Mr Pates added that most drivers now receive sufficient warning in the event of a vehicle fault, adding that motorways are “as safe, if not safer” without hard shoulders which are not “hospitable” places for stranded motorists.
Hard shoulders are currently used as regular driving lanes on 113 miles of motorway in England, with approximately 400 miles of motorway having been converted to a ‘smart motorway’.
Employing the use of technology to adapt speed limits based on current traffic conditions, sensors are installed under the road surface of smart motorways, which, along with a ‘side-fire’ radar and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, assess the volume and speed of vehicles and adjust the speed limits accordingly.
A Highways England spokesperson commented: “Smart motorways are good for drivers.
“They add extra lanes, giving extra space, so more people can travel.
“They use technology which makes journeys more reliable and evidence proves they are as safe as traditional motorways.”
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