The technology aims to improve motorway safety by allowing for quick detection of stopped or broken-down vehicles, and will be installed on every new All Lane Running (ALR) motorway as well as being fitted to existing motorways six months earlier than originally planned.
Further safety measures include the installation of special cameras 10 months earlier than planned, and 1,000 additional approach signs six months earlier than planned.
The safety pledge follows the publication by Highways England of Smart motorways stocktake first year progress report 2021. Work will be carried out alongside updates to the Highway Code, providing further guidance about driving on ALR motorways.
Highways England said that the report’s five-year data shows ALR motorways, which don’t have hard shoulders, to be one of the safest types of road in the country. Drivers on a conventional motorway were shown to be 33 per cent more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers on an ALR motorway.
“Despite the data showing that fatalities are less likely on All Lane Running motorways than on conventional ones, this doesn’t mean all drivers necessarily feel safe on them,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps.
“That is why I tasked Highways England last year with delivering an action plan to raise the bar on safety measures even higher. This progress report shows the extensive work already carried out, but we want to do more.
“So-called smart motorways started to be built in 2001 and I am determined to ensure that technology and exacting standards are in place.”
Highways England’s acting chief executive Nick Harris said that the organisation has made good progress but is not complacent with the improvements set out in the 2020 stocktake, and will examine ways to improve safety further.