Skip to content
A current stretch of smart motorway on the M25
A current stretch of smart motorway on the M25

News -

All lane running inquiry: RAC reacts to Transport Committee report

Following the publication this morning of the Transport Committee's report into all lane running on smart motorways - where the hard shoulder is converted into a permanent live lane for traffic - RAC chief engineer David Bizley said:

“Whilst supporting smart motorways as a cost effective and relatively rapid way of increasing motorway capacity, the RAC has repeatedly expressed concerns about the latest design which turns the hard shoulder on motorways into a permanent running lane. These concerns are widely shared by other industry groups, as well as by our members and others who regularly use motorways.

“We therefore welcome the Select Committee report and are pleased that this influential group of MPs has concluded that the decision to adopt ‘all lane running’ on all future smart motorways may be premature. The safety of motorists must come first and therefore new designs need to be trialled for sufficiently long to demonstrate their safety before they are introduced more widely. This was precisely the approach adopted by the Highways Agency (now Highways England) when a smart motorway with a dynamic hard shoulder was first introduced on the M42.

“The message to Government and to Highways England is clear – we should apply the principles that have proven to be safe on smart motorways such as the M42 until such time as the evidence exists to show all lane running is as safe as conventional motorways with a hard shoulder, and as smart motorways with a dynamic hard shoulder which only open to traffic as a running lane when the extra capacity is needed.

“It is encouraging that the Government and Highways England have been listening and are reviewing the design and frequency of emergency refuge areas, and we acknowledge their commitment to improving education and communication to users about how to use smart motorways safely.

“Motorways are our safest roads but, because of the speeds at which vehicles travel on them, the consequences of an accident can be severe in terms of loss of life and serious injury. We need the extra capacity that smart motorways will deliver but we must not put the safety of our motorways at risk by allowing insufficient time to prove the safety of new designs.”

Note: the RAC gave evidence to the Transport Committee as part of its inquiry into all lane running

Related links

Subjects

Tags


Notes to Editors

The press office email address is press.enquiries@rac.co.uk. Please note: the press office is unable to help with individual customer enquiries - please visit the RAC contacts page to find the right contact.

ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.


About the RAC

The RAC provides complete peace of mind to 12m UK private and business drivers, whatever their motoring needs. Its services include:

The RAC also works to support the interests of its members and UK drivers on the most important motoring issues which it identifies via the annual RAC Report on Motoring and the RAC Opinion Panel. The Report on Motoring is the longest running analysis of driver opinion in the UK having been published every year since 1989.

For more information about the RAC, visit the RAC website.

Related content

Related stories