This is basically the section of Motorways used in UK to avoid traffic block and collisions and enables the people to enjoy smoother flow of traffic. It is a successful programme to control traffic rush and has been vigilantly implemented in UK since when Highways Agency discovered this term of “Smart Motorways” in 2013 and also when BBC One published its primary study on its benefits.
Join van hire and leasing specialist Northgate as they discuss the past, present and future of smart motorways:
Smart Motorways?? What are they??
A use of technology in such a way that facilitates people to reach their destinations on time, avoid accidents and blockage and rush of traffic controlled by the Regional Traffic Centres near to every route. They also have an advantage of modifying the signs and speed limits on Motorways to retain the flow of traffic even.
What is the future of Smart Motorways??
There is already in excess of 230 miles of smart motorway stretching across the UK. However, Highways England is currently designing many more miles of these routes through the following plans:
Current Smart Motorway work
- The route between junctions 19 and 16 of the M1 in the East Midlands is being turned into a smart motorway, with work set to be complete in spring 2017.
- The route between junctions 32 and 35a of the M1 in the North of England is being turned into a smart motorway, with work set to be complete in spring 2017.
- The route between junctions 2 and 4a of the M3 in the South East of England is being turned into a smart motorway, with work set to be complete in summer 2017.
- The route between junctions 4a and 6 of the M5 in the West Midlands is being turned into an ‘all lane running’ smart motorway, with work set to be complete in spring 2017.
- The route between junctions 16 and 19 of the M6 in the North West of England is being turned into a smart motorway, with work set to be complete in spring 2018.
- The route between junction 8 of the M60 and junction 20 of the M62 in the North West of England is being turned into a smart motorway, with work set to be complete in autumn 2017.
Planned Smart Motorway work
- There is a proposal to develop the route between junctions 23a and 25 of the M1 in the East Midlands into a smart motorway. If granted, the work will begin in early 2017 and is planned to be completed by late 2018.
- There is a proposal to develop the route between junctions 3 and 12 of the M4 in the South East of England into a smart motorway. If granted, the work will begin in spring 2017 and is planned to be completed by spring 2022.
- There is a proposal to develop the route between junctions 13 and 15 of the M6 in the West Midlands into a smart motorway that will begin in spring 2018 and projected to be completed in 2020.
How operative and secure are Smart Motorways?
The effectiveness and safety of smart motorways were measured by the aforementioned BBC One Show study, which analysed eleven sections of smart motorway found on stretches of the M1, M4, M6, M25 and M42.
According to the research, there were 52,516 fixed penalty fines issued on these routes in 2015 as a result of drivers exceeding the speed limit. On the same stretches of the motorway between 2010 and 2011, only 2,023 fixed penalty fines were issued for the offence — illustrating a 2,500 per cent increase over the past five years.
The BBC One Show also calculated from the data that it had collected that the revenue that went to central government has risen from £150,600 five years ago to over £1.1 million last year.
Essential tips for driving on a Smart Motorway
Tips to keep in mind while driving on a Motorway:
- First and foremost, never drive in a lane that has a sign with a red ‘X’ over it — this means that the lane is closed. You risk a fine if you remain driving along this lane.
- If you see a solid white line between two lanes, this indicates the hard shoulder — you shouldn’t drive in the hard shoulder unless directed to do so.
- If you see a broken white line between two lanes, this indicates a normal running lane — you can always drive in these lanes unless you see the red ‘X’ sign overhead.
- The current speed limits of the lanes are shown on the gantries above — you should always match that limit.
- You should exit a smart motorway as soon as it is safe to do so if your vehicle experiences difficulties, such as a warning light appearing on your dashboard.
- When the hard shoulder is being used for normal traffic, you should only use the emergency refuge area (ERA) for an emergency.
- If you break down before being able to exit a smart motorway or reach a refuge area, you must switch your hazard lights on and wait for assistance to arrive.
To have more knowledge and details of Smart Motorways plans, browse the official website of Highways England.