The Government’s announced new ways to make smart motorways safer, particularly dealing with the issue of broken down vehicles in live lanes.
The Department for Transport’s decided to speed up the installation of radar technology to all stretches of smart motorway. These lead to the identification of broken down vehicles within 20 seconds. They’ll be installed across the network within three years.
Dynamic hard shoulders are being banned. These are the original type of smart motorway such as the M42 near Birmingham which had been deemed as successful because they only open when traffic is already heavy and therefore running at reduced speed.
As for refuge areas, they’re adding ten on the M25 and looking at putting more in across the country whenever they’re more than a mile apart.
The DfT adds that, overall, evidence shows that in “most ways” smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, conventional ones, with data showing behaviour around tailgating, rapid changes of vehicle speeds, vehicles drifting off the carriageway and speeding are less frequent on smart motorways.