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New Motorways Not So Smart

A new survey has revealed that many of the UK's motorists don't believe in the new 'Smart' motorways scheme which is expected to roll out nationally following its introduction on a section of the M25.

A number of measures have been introduced on a section of the M25 on the Kent/Surrey border to ease congestion and reduce the number of road traffic accidents. A combination of hard shoulders, running lanes and refuge areas controlled by advanced traffic monitoring systems and electronic signs combine to produce what has been termed a ‘Smart’ motorway.

But despite the Government's intention to solve some of the key issues facing motorists on the UK’s highways with this test, it appears that the response to smart motorways has been lukewarm at best.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has said its research shows that over two thirds of UK drivers don't even know what smart motorways are and haven't seen any publicity about how they will work.

Almost half (48%) of those who responded to the latest survey doubt that new monitoring systems on such motorways would be able to protect them in the event of stopping in a running lane.

Reacting to the new survey, RAC Technical Director, David Bizley, said: “The RAC has raised concerns with the Highways Agency about the added risk arising from increased distance between emergency refuge areas, and we are disappointed so far at the absence of action to address them.

"We believe the greater distance between emergency refuge areas creates an unnecessary risk to the safety of any motorist breaking down in lane one on an all-lane running section.”

Simon Best, Chief Executive of the IAM, added: “Smart motorways are being rolled out across England but our survey shows that drivers want more reassurance and information on how safe they will be and how to use them.

The 12 mile section of the M25 on the Kent/Surrey border, which served as a test case for the smart motorway initiative, aims to deliver additional road capacity more quickly and at less cost than traditional road widening schemes, while still remaining as safe.
“Motorways are the backbone of Britain. With around four million vehicles using them each day, they are vital to building the UK economy,” explained Roads Minister, Robert Goodwill.
“This additional capacity on the M25 is part of the Government’s record investment of £15.1 billion to provide over 400 lane miles of additional capacity by 2021.”



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