Smart motorway rollout paused
Following the Transport Committee’s inquiry into smart motorways, the government will immediately pause the rollout of all-lane running motorway schemes until five years of safety data is available. After this point, the government will assess the data and make an informed decision on next steps.
The government has committed to improving safety measures on existing stretches of smart motorway. The safety improvements set out in the government’s 2020 action plan are to be independently evaluated by the Office for Rail and Road (ORR).
Ministers have committed to an annual report to consider progress and will consider the Transport Committee’s recommendation that the ORR reports on wider work by National Highways to improve safety on the Strategic Road Network.
The ORR will be assigned with independently evaluating stopped vehicle detection technology, along with other safety measures. This will include a commitment to reduce incidences of live-lane breakdowns and reducing the risk for those who break down.
Today’s response sets out a commitment to make these roads less confusing for drivers and give clear direction on what drivers should do if they break down in a live lane.
Where work is already under way on smart motorways, additional emergency refuge areas and stopped vehicle detection will be installed where possible.
The Department for Transport invests £900 million to improve safety on existing all-lane running motorways to ensure that drivers feel safe and confident, including extra £390 million to install additional emergency areas.