New smart highway projects are set to be put on hold in Britain until more safety data becomes available – the Transport Department confirmed.
Deployment should be halted. Comprehensive five-year safety data is available – with £ 900million to be invested in improving safety on all existing ‘All Lane Running’ sections of motorway.
A 13.4 mile section of the M3 motorway in Surrey was converted to a smart motorway several years ago in an effort to improve traffic flow.
Read more: Pedestrian dies after being hit by car on A3 near Guildford
The carriageway was fully opened at 70 mph between junction 2 (the M25 interchange) and junction 4a (Farnborough) in August 2017.
A section of the M23 near Gatwick Airport has also been converted to a smart motorway.
In a statement confirming the move, the government said smart highways “are the safest roads in the country in terms of death rates” – but that it would work to ensure that smart highways have “the best technology and best resources to make it as safe as possible ”.
This will include more than 150 new emergency zones on the network for struggling drivers, an increase of around 50% by 2025.
Work will continue on existing smart highway projects, with the government ready to “assess the data and make an informed decision on next steps” once enough data becomes available before further expanding the program.
National Highways CEO Nick Harris said: “We have listened to the public’s concerns about smart highways and are fully committed to pushing forward the additional measures recommended by the Transport Committee.
“As we suspend all of these track traffic programs to begin construction, we will end programs currently under construction, make existing sections as safe as possible, and step up our advice to drivers so they have all the information. that they need. need.
“We do this because safety is our top priority and we want drivers to not only be safer, but also to feel safe on our busiest roads.”
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said: “One of my first actions as Transportation Secretary was to order an inventory of smart highways and since then I have consistently worked to raise the bar on their safety. . I am grateful to the Committee on Transport and to all who testified about their work.
‘While our initial data shows that smart highways are among the safest roads in the UK, it is crucial that we go further to ensure that people to feel safer to use them.
“Suspending programs for the start of construction and improving existing multi-million pound programs will give drivers confidence and provide the data we need to inform our next steps. I want to thank security activists, including those who have lost loved ones, for rightly striving to improve standards on our roads. I share their concerns.
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