RHA welcomes halt to smart motorways rollout
The Department for Transport has paused the roll-out of new all-lane smart motorways, it has been announced.
The move sees new schemes paused until there is a full 5 years of safety data on current projects. It was announced alongside an additional £900m in safety measures for existing all-lane running motorways (ALR).
An investment of £390 million in 150 additional emergency areas for drivers will also be put in place, creating a 50% increase in stopping places by 2025.
It follows the parliamentary Transport Committee’s report on the issue, which was welcomed by the Department for Transport, and recommended a pause until 5 years of safety data was available for schemes introduced prior to 2020. When the full data set has been collated the government will decide on next steps.
Commenting, RHA Executive Director, Policy and Public Affairs, Rod McKenzie, said: “The RHA supports smart motorways as they reduce congestion and pollution by keeping traffic moving.
“But the advantages of all-lane running must never outweigh safety. It’s vital that safety comes first so this pause is welcome as is additional funding for upgrading safety measures on existing all-lane running motorways. It is also crucial that these safety measures include better education about the use of smart motorways for all road users. Motorways are the UK’s safest roads, and we want them to stay that way.”
Announcing the news, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “One of my first actions as Transport Secretary was to order a stocktake of smart motorways and since then, I have worked consistently to raise the bar on their safety. I am grateful to the Transport Committee and to all those who provided evidence for its work.
“While our initial data shows that smart motorways are among the safest roads in the UK, it’s crucial that we go further to ensure people feel safer using them.”