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UK: Smart Motorways

UK: Smart Motorways

UK: Smart Motorways

So having spent a couple of years installing this idiotic system, turns out it has been done badly. The idea is that instead of a hard shoulder, or breakdown lane, the extra lane becomes a normal one, and some combination of clever active signage and monitoring allows a dead vehicle to stop in the lane it is in and traffic flows smoothly around it.

Except of course what it really means if your car dies in lane 3 of 5, you are now seconds away from becoming a squishburger on some truck's front bumper.


Greg Locock

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RE: UK: Smart Motorways

Well, THAT was doomed to fail. If they didn't want a continuous breakdown lane, they might have tried like a 5m turnoff every 250m or so. Additional advantage is that the drunks take those turnoffs and then harmlessly go to sleep.

“What I told you was true ... from a certain point of view.” - Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Return of the Jedi"

RE: UK: Smart Motorways

The first attempt (on the M42) had nice refuges, pretty much as suggested by ax1e, massively improved the traffic flow (although arguably what improved the flow most was the variable - and rigorously enforced - speed limits) and turned out to be pretty safe.

Then they built more - but reduced the number of refuges to the point that they might as well not be there (on my regular trip between junctions 19 and 20 of the M4 - roughly two miles apart, there's exactly one refuge in each direction). Why? Partly to save money and partly to reduce the disruption to traffic required for cutting extra holes in the hillside during build.

The ex-Government-Minister who signed off on the expansion of the programme is on record as saying he didn't know the the new projects weren't going to be the same as the M42 - and wouldn't have agreed if he'd been told.


RE: UK: Smart Motorways

New actions now listed. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/strategic-r...

Of course these should have been in from the start,especially the radar detection and refuges less than 1 km apart.

It has been noticeable recently that thet are a lot more messages on the overhead gantries that the Red X in the lane being closed will be enforced using the speed camera system. Previously people speed along the empty lane with no fear of detection or being fined.

Getting a sudden breakdown in lane 3 of 4 or 5 had always been a big problem. It's breaking down in lame 1 that is the problem now.

Some sections only allowed traffic on the hard shoulder in peak periods which is very confusing. Now all will be running lanes at all times.

I loaded the Highways Agency tel no into my phone recently so I can access the control room asap. Once I've hurtled out the car that is.

I changed a flat tyre once on a motorway hard shoulder and it was the most frightening 15 minutes of my life as it was an outside wheel. Dangerous places even if you have an empty lane.

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RE: UK: Smart Motorways

I don't know about England, but in SoCal, if it ain't a lane of any kind, it's not available; currently, a number of freeways are already re-built out into their original right-of-ways so the breakdown lane is just on the other side of someone's back yard.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: UK: Smart Motorways

LittleInch, cops and other first responders, construction workers, roadway maintenance people, tow truck drivers, and ordinary citizens are hit by other drivers while stopped on the shoulder all the time where I live. Just being stationary on the shoulder scares the crap outa me. Avoided whenever possible.

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: UK: Smart Motorways

The way people tailgate these days makes use of the emergency lane for its intended purpose untenable. Case in point: a tailgatee slows due to a hazard, perhaps the hazard is someone changing a tire on the side of the road. The tailgater, not having enough following distance, pull into the emergency lane to avoid rearending and is presented with the disabled vehicle and even less time to stop.

But as IRstuff noted, where right-of-way width is fixed, any dedicated emergency lane is reducing capacity by taking away a free flow lane.

Edit: I get a little knot in my stomach whenever I see someone stopped on the side of the road and they have placed cones just a few feet behind their vehicle. To have a hope of being effective you would need to place cones a minimum of 100 yards behind your vehicle, and even then no-one will know what the cone means until it is too late.

RE: UK: Smart Motorways

The only plus is that these emergency refuges as they're known are probably safer as they are a lay by off the inside lane.


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