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Government pauses smart motorway rollout

12 January 2022

FOLLOWING THE recent Transport Committee report, government will pause the rollout of smart motorway schemes until 5 years' worth of safety data is available.

In a written statement to parliament, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, "The Stocktake and Action Plan, which I published in March 2020, focused efforts on further upgrading the safety of smart motorways. I am pleased that these efforts have been recognised by the committee, which agreed that the government was right to focus on upgrading the safety of all lane running (ALR) smart motorways, rather than reinstating the hard shoulder – which the committee recognised could cause more deaths or serious injuries on our roads.

"Having carefully considered the committee’s report, I will be taking forward all of its recommendations. This includes the recommendation to pause the rollout of future ALR smart motorway schemes until a full 5 years’ worth of safety data is available.

"During the pause, we will continue to make sure all existing ALR smart motorways are equipped with best-in-class technology and resources and are as safe as they can possibly be."

The recommendations in the report are as follows:

  • pause the conversion of dynamic hard shoulder smart motorways to ALRuntil the next Road Investment Strategy
  • retrofit more emergency areas across existing ALR schemes
  • conduct an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of stopped vehicle detection technology
  • explore the introduction of the emergency corridor manoeuvre to the Highway Code
  • investigate the benefits of health and safety assessments being undertaken by the Office of Rail and Road.