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Seven new ‘smart’ motorways

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Jamvic, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Earlier this year Grant Shapps announced measures to improve safety on smart motorways:

    • Abolishing the ‘dynamic hard shoulder’ motorway configuration.

    • More use of camera technology to identify broken-down vehicles.

    • Reducing the distance between emergency refuges if all lanes are running with traffic. Either to a maximum of one mile, ideally three-quarters of a mile.
    You can find more safety measures on the GOV.UK website.

    However, some believe that these measures aren’t enough to keep motorists safe.

    I’m one of those people. I think ‘Smart’ motorways are dangerous and one of the least smart things ever devised. The system remains unsafe even if a greater number of emergency stopping points are added as the government review has suggested.

    The new smart motorways are as follows:
    • M62 Junctions 20-25

    • M56 junctions 6-8

    • M6 junctions 21A – 26

    • A1 (M) junctions 6-8

    • M25 junctions 10-16

    • M40/42 interchange

    • M3 junctions 9-14

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  2. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

  3. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Last I read also was that they were having a rethink (but this government seem to be committed to "population reduction". Cynical? Moi?)
    Jamvic likes this.
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Spot on.

    As you said "‘Smart’ motorways are dangerous and one of the least smart things ever devised."
  5. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Brainless clots in control. I despair!
    TCSC47 and Jamvic like this.
  6. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Totally agree!
    Jamvic likes this.
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Did they account for increasing road traffic?

    Not saying the study is wrong... just curious if they accounted for it. Roads are busier than ever and road building/expanding hasn't kept pace.
  8. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

  9. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Jamvic likes this.
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Whilst the absence of hard shoulder is the big safety compromise, I've noticed an increase in zombie lane hogging on 'smart' motorways. Part of it is drivers avoiding the left hand lane with no hard shoulder, part of it is not noticing when the dynamic hard shoulder is available for traffic, and part of it is the brain dead thinking if the maximum speed is constant for all then they don't have to move out of an overtaking lane. I'd be interested to know what this has done to the collision rate compared to regular motorways.
    Jamvic and oldsomeman like this.
  11. DrLinus

    DrLinus Lead commenter

    I am not fond of motorways.
    Noisy, dirty things.
  12. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    That is because most drivers are too stupid to know which lane they should be in.
  13. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I always prefer the left hand lane so that if I did have a breakdown I can easily get into the hard shoulder.

    However, when the hard shoulder is in use as a driving lane, I occupy the next lane out. You don't know when somebody may have stopped in it unable to reach the next refuge. I attempt to drive far enough ahead of me allowing me to be able to take avoiding action, but what about the person behind me hitting me?

    As has been said -- stupid, stupid things, making me think they were thought up by some yr 10 on work experience.
    Jamvic and Ellakits like this.
  14. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    The lanes are as dangerous as the driver. Huge numbers of drivers ignore signs on motorways. Many are still texting as they go along, as I see them.
    Often if I have slowed down to obey a speed sign I will have the rest of the rat pack scuttling around me on the inside, as well as the outside. The problem with breakdowns is that no one will change the lane till the are either slowed by the volume of traffic or the actual breakdown or a police person.
    One cannot just blame the motorway design, try blaming the idiots who dive carelessly and don't obey lane signs.
    A few months ago on the M1, I watched at least 7 lorries and numerous cars ignoring a closed lane sign on a smart motorway. It only takes a moment's inattention for then to not have enough time to brake or veer off into another lane.
    So yes, they have their faults and I would sooner have an escape lane, but look at some of the impatient idiots driving as well as the design.
    Jamvic and border_walker like this.
  15. Bungie

    Bungie Occasional commenter

    Smart motorways are unbelievably dangerous. On a normal motorway once, my engine cut out without warning. I just managed to get on to the hard shoulder. A second later and I would have been killed.
    Jamvic and TCSC47 like this.
  16. Ellakits

    Ellakits Lead commenter

    I know that stretch of road very well, it is wholly unsuited to being a smart motorway. Rush hour congestion is a daily fact, there were traffic lights on the slip road to control access onto the A1(M) yet crawling along at walking pace past that section was a fact of life.

    The government website for smart motorways states that this is currently on hold, though planned for 2025-30 - unsure if that means it’s on hold now, or will be reconsidered then. Anyway, this paragraph is interesting...

    The A1(M) between junctions 5 and 9 is one of the top ten busiest sections of the entire London to Leeds (East) route. Congestion occurs frequently at peak times at a number of junctions. This is expected to get worse, with potential residential developments that could see up to 13,000 additional new homes built in the area by 2030.

    We'll be converting the A1(M) between junction 6 and junction 8 in Hertfordshire to a smart motorway to reduce congestion and delays and make journey times more reliable.

    This smart motorway will provide 50% additional traffic capacity between junctions 6 and 8, converting the existing two lane dual carriageway into creating a three-lane motorway between junction 3 (Hatfield) and junction 9 (Baldock / Letchworth).

    The A1(M) is a peculiar road, a non-motorway with motorway status. It goes through the heart of north of London commuter zone and connects a number of new towns and those who have expanded rapidly in the last 50 years. The Hatfield tunnel was built to take traffic away from the centre of Hatfield, an acknowledgment years ago that the road carried far more than it was originally intended to.

    The road currently switches between two and three lanes per carriageway, with a hard shoulder. In many places the grass beyond that slopes either up or down quite steeply, so would be useless if needed to take avoiding action.

    I’ve spent many hours sitting in stationary traffic there, sometimes punctuated by the passing of emergency vehicles if the delay has been caused by an accident. I’ve also seen more broken down vehicles using the hard shoulder there than I can recall on any other road, a testament to how many cars use it daily.

    We know the road is busy, we know it carries more cars than it can reasonably cope with, and yet development continues apace. 13,000 new homes in the next ten years, yet only one additional lane - provided no one has broken down in it already, of course.

    The will for more house building on mainly greenfield sites (cheaper as it doesn’t require remedial work first, as is often the case with brownfield sites) is pushing congestion and service demand problems onto areas which do not have the infrastructure to cope. At the same time developers can legally sit on sites for years, not doing anything until the price goes up in order to maximise profits. We’re heading into a recession following Covid-19 and many people have lost their jobs. Nationally we’re carrying on as normal assuming things will return to the way they once were, namely living further afield and commuting by car to large conurbations. But many businesses have changed tack, more people than ever are working from home, some may never return to their city offices. Local serviced rent-a-space offices may be the future for remote working, bringing ‘commuters’ back home to their local community and keeping small town businesses going.

    A smart motorway isn’t really what’s needed here is it?
    Jamvic and TCSC47 like this.
  17. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Maybe, but also because you often get stuck behind and, even worse, between large lorries on the inside lane, and getting out to overtake can be difficult or dangerous. Far safer to drive in the middle lane when the motorway is busy.
  18. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Except that is not what it says in the Highway Code. But how many of you have even looked at a Highway Code since you passed your driving test?
    border_walker likes this.
  19. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I know exactly what it says in the Highway Code, but I'd rather put my own safety (& that of my passengers) first. You can do as you want, of course.
  20. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Tell that to the police when they pull you over for centre lane hogging and give you a hundred quid fine. I'm sure you know best, that degree in traffic management must have been worth the effort. So good of you to share your wisdom. Are you related to Dominc Cummings so laws do not apply to you?

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