Managed Motorway Network Expanding In UK
What Is A Managed Motorway?
The Highways Agency is expanding the managed motorway network as it reduces congestion by enabling motorists to use the hard shoulder. But how does it work? A managed motorway relies on technology that until recent years would have been considered witchcraft. As such, the road surface incorporates loops that monitor traffic flow and this information is constantly evaluated by computer software. So, imagine a scenario: the system concludes that the volume of traffic could soon cause congestion/delays. It therefore creates more room for vehicles by temporarily opening the hard shoulder to non-emergency traffic. Furthermore, the system could impose a lower speed limit of (say) 50mph for the cars that are approaching the potential congestion. This should make time for the traffic to clear and keep the following cars moving. Drivers are kept informed via overhead signs so they know when to use the hard shoulder and how fast to travel. This set-up has other positive effects too. As such – following a pilot on the M42 – a three-year safety report concluded that “personal injury accidents” fell by 55.7%. Furthermore, there were no fatalities during this period and casualties per-billion miles travelled fell 61%. Finally, 68% of motorists said they “felt more informed” on the managed motorway network and over half welcome its expansion.