ICE submission to the Transport Committee on smart motorways safety

This response sets out ICE’s views on smart motorways, including their benefits, safety issues and public confidence.

Key points from the response:
  • The whole premise of smart motorways was to improve the reliability of journey time overall, which – on the basis of evidence – they have succeeded in doing. The side effects of smart motorway implementation have seen reduced congestion, smoother flows and early and improved driver information.
  • All Lane Running is the most suitable type of smart motorway as it gives a consistent approach to the road user on the road layout and environment. Dynamic Hard Shoulder can be more confusing, particularly with the overall rollout/evolution of changes in standards that a road user may encounter on a long journey.
  • One of the biggest failings of the smart motorway programme rollout is the limited public communication of what smart motorways are, how to drive on them and the expectations of what to do in an emergency.
  • However, one of the biggest misconceptions of motorway use is that the hard shoulder was ever a safe place to stop – a review of statistical accident data has proven this not to be the case.

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