Poll results: UK to pause smart motorway rollout

1 min read

We asked for your reactions to the UK government's decision to pause the roll out and introduction of new smart motorway schemes

The Poll ran from January 12 - February 21 and received 669 votes

Context

The rollout of new all lane running smart motorway schemes has been paused until a full five years’ worth of safety data is available.

smart motorway
Smart motorway in England, UK with light trails signifying busy traffic at rush hour. Image: Callum via stock.adobe.com

The decision followed a transport select committee report published in November, 2021 which concluded that the Department for Transport and Highways England had failed to deliver on promises to implement safety improvements for all-lane running Smart Motorways.

Although both bodies have claimed that smart motorways are comparatively the safest roads in the country in terms of fatality rates, the absence of a hard shoulder on all lane running motorways has contributed to a number of deaths in recent years, and road safety campaigners have been calling for a rethink on the government’s plans.

During the five year hiatus the Department for Transport (DfT) is to invest £900m to improve safety on existing smart motorways rather than reinstating hard shoulders. This includes £390m for more than 150 additional emergency areas across the network, as well as funding for measures including stopped vehicle detection and concrete central reservation barriers.

While further data is being collected, National Highways will continue work to complete schemes that are currently in construction, and design work will continue on those schemes already being planned.

National Highways will also pause the conversion of dynamic hard shoulder (DHS) motorways – where the hard shoulder is open at busy times – into all lane running motorways while it investigates alternative ways of operating them to make things simpler for drivers.

What do you think? Let us know in Comments below.