Harris admits SVD might take months more to fully work on smart motorways

National Highways CEO Nick Harris has admitted that smart motorways’ safety technology will not work properly for another five months.

The Telegraph quotes Mr Harris’s appearance in front of the Transport Select Committee in which he said, “Many of the schemes are not meeting the very challenging performance specifications we set. It is working and it is adding significantly to the tools that we have available to further improve road safety.

“I have a very, very closely-managed programme going on at the moment to ensure that the systems that we’ve already implemented – and we’re ongoing with commissioning new ones – will achieve the performance specification later this year. I think we’ve set July as the target for that.

The Telegraph mentions an ORR report last year found radar systems meant to detect stranded cars on smart motorways were missing up to 40% of stopped vehicles and “falling short” of minimum targets.

National Highways’s minimum requirements for Stopped Vehicle Detection is that it detects 80% of stopped vehicles and sends a maximum 15 per cent of false alarms.

But alerts that should happen within 20 seconds took more than a minute in one region, and that more than four in five alerts were false alarms in another, according to The Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Mr Harris explained this is the biggest roll-out of SVD in the world, but the Telegraph quotes Greg Smith, Conservative MP for Buckingham, who sits on the committee, as telling the paper: “Every minute the technology isn’t working, up to scratch or reliable is time lives are being put at risk.It is unacceptable and smart motorways need to be turned off and run as normal motorways until the technology is categorically proven to work.”

(Picture – National Highways)


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