The government plans to introduce hundreds of miles of new all-lane running (ALR) motorways in the next few years, according to a Yahoo News report.
The Yahoo News report does not include any statement or information from the government itself, but does quote Lilian Greenwood, shadow transport secretary, and Louise Ellman, chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee.
There are currently just over 80 miles of ALR motorways but Yahoo News says this figure is ‘set to surge’, with almost 250 miles of ALR to be added by 2020 – and almost 350 miles due to be started but not complete by 2020.
ALR was introduced in 2014 to enable the hard shoulder to be used to ease congestion on busy stretches of motorway.
It is one of three types of ‘smart motorway’ (formerly known as managed motorways) which use a range of technology to vary speed limits in response to driving conditions.
Sections of the M1, M6 and M25 now operate ALR, either as part of a ‘smart motorway’ or with the hard shoulder used as a full-time running lane.
Highways England says evaluation into the use of smart motorways on sections of the M25 shows they are are easing congestion and reducing journey times, with no adverse effect on safety.
However, the concept has received a mixed reception from road safety stakeholders, with some senior traffic police officers reported as saying that smart motorways are ‘causing serious problems for road users’.
In December 2015 the Transport Committee launched an inquiry into the impact of ALR to inform how future policy should evolve.
In the Yahoo News report Lilian Greenwood says there are “real concerns about the way all-lane running has been introduced… without adequate evidence or consideration of the safety concerns raised by motoring organisations and the emergency services".
And Louise Ellman says “the government has clearly decided to do this but there is a need to look much more closely at whether it will be effective and safe".
Photo: Highways England via Flickr used under Creative Commons