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How do we make Smart Motorways safer?

Former Community Member
Former Community Member

Smart Motorways bring significant benefits, as they have been designed and implemented to address recurrent congestion on heavily used sections of motorways. We submitted a response to the Transport Select Committee on the roll-out and safety of smart motorways.


Our view is that firstly, safety can be improved by reducing the number of times vehicles stop on motorways and then improving how they are detected, and other drivers then warned and instructed, as illustrated in this diagram. 

72ba677680cffc513876a145d8a88a22-huge-ssd4011-smart-motorways-infographic-v4.jpg
Smart Motorways Infographic.pdf


In order to achieve this we believe that the Government should:



  • Think users: through more training and increasing vehicle roadworthiness.

  • Make use of what is there already: using sat nav for in-vehicle messaging and services such as Waze, to alert drivers.

  • Safeguard the future: through learning lessons from other transport modes.


We have also written a blog on this topic with more information: How do we make Smart Motorways safer?


We are interested in your thoughts on making Smart Motorways more safe, our proposed solutions, or if there is anything that we've missed. Please log in to your IET Community account to share your comments.


Parents
  • Simon Barker:

    It would be a good thing if the Highways Agency implemented what they promised to do when "smart motorways" were introduced:
    • Frequent emergency laybys to pull off into.

    • Automatic detection of broken down cars by radar.

    • Automatic signage to warn drivers of broken down vehicles ahead.


    Instead they missed out the laybys if they were too much effort (e.g. if the motorway was on an embankment), and left the broken down vehicle detection and warning signs as something to do later, long after they have turned the hard shoulder into a running lane.


    I don't think adding more technology is going to help what is a fundamentally dangerous system.  There's no point in broadcasting messages to satnav systems if there is no guarantee that the following vehicles even have satnavs that are capable of receiving those messages.


    What it needs is for the system to be done right in the first place.  Warnings and lane closures indicated to drivers by overhead signs.  Automatic red light cameras to catch all the people who still run through the red lights, and plenty of publicity when people are convicted for doing so.


    Simon is spot on, Highways Agency should be doing what there were supposed to in the first place, and not getting distracted by fancy high tech solutions to a problem they have created.


    I would add that signs need to be updated quicker as out of date signs brings the whole system into disrepute.


Reply
  • Simon Barker:

    It would be a good thing if the Highways Agency implemented what they promised to do when "smart motorways" were introduced:
    • Frequent emergency laybys to pull off into.

    • Automatic detection of broken down cars by radar.

    • Automatic signage to warn drivers of broken down vehicles ahead.


    Instead they missed out the laybys if they were too much effort (e.g. if the motorway was on an embankment), and left the broken down vehicle detection and warning signs as something to do later, long after they have turned the hard shoulder into a running lane.


    I don't think adding more technology is going to help what is a fundamentally dangerous system.  There's no point in broadcasting messages to satnav systems if there is no guarantee that the following vehicles even have satnavs that are capable of receiving those messages.


    What it needs is for the system to be done right in the first place.  Warnings and lane closures indicated to drivers by overhead signs.  Automatic red light cameras to catch all the people who still run through the red lights, and plenty of publicity when people are convicted for doing so.


    Simon is spot on, Highways Agency should be doing what there were supposed to in the first place, and not getting distracted by fancy high tech solutions to a problem they have created.


    I would add that signs need to be updated quicker as out of date signs brings the whole system into disrepute.


Children
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