ORR welcomes smart motorway technology improvements

The Office of Rail and Road has written to National Highways welcoming improvements in the performance of its smart motorway Stopped Vehicle Detection technology, following initial testing.

However, ORR says it recognises that caution is required when interpreting the data.

In December 2022, ORR reported that the SVD system on all lane running sections of smart motorway was not meeting performance expectations. In response to the ORR’s concerns, National Highways implemented a software fix which it then tested on three ALR smart motorway schemes.

The initial round of testing from these ALR sites showed that the detection rate for stopped vehicles ranged from 91% to 97%, above the 80% target.

The false detection rate, which has a target of less than 15% ranged from 1% to 10% while the average time to detect a stopped vehicle ranged from 5.8 to 9.7 seconds, below the 20 second target.

In the letter to National Highways, ORR said it had noted that data from the three test sites show the company is meeting the performance levels that it originally specified and also noted that the roll-out of the upgrade to other ALR sites was completed by 14 June 2023.

The letter added that caution is required when interpreting data from the results because the company has made improvements to the methodology used to calculate SVD performance that affect comparisons with the results ORR reported in December 2022, and the data covers only three sites.

ORR says, as a result, it will continue to monitor the performance of SVD and will take action to require further rapid improvements from National Highways if it is not satisfied that performance targets continue to be met.

John Larkinson, ORR chief executive, said: “We welcome the latest data that shows National Highways has responded well to our challenge to improve the performance of Stopped Vehicle Detection technology on All Lane Running sections of smart motorways.

“It is important that this technology meets the high standards expected of it by road users. We will continue monitor the data until we are satisfied that these levels of performance are being achieved across all sections of ALR smart motorways.”

Read the letter here.

(Picture – ORR)


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