25/10/2007

Government Plans To Beat Motorway Jams

Motorists will soon be allowed to drive on the hard shoulder of motorways during busy times, under new plans to tackle traffic congestion announced by the government.

Following a trial on the M42, new ways of managing motorway traffic - including hard shoulder running - will be implemented as part of a £150 million scheme on the motorway box around Birmingham.

A feasibility study will then be undertaken to consider if similar schemes could help to beat congestion on other parts of the motorway network.

The scheme could then be rolled out on other motorways including the M25, M4, M20, M1 and M6.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said: "The M42 trials shows that using innovative thinking to help drivers beat motorway jams really works.

"New traffic management techniques, like hard shoulder running and varying speed limits, offer practical and cost-effective solutions to cutting congestion and I now want to explore whether other motorways could benefit from similarly creative measures.

"Other important benefits are less disruption from road works, reduced environmental impacts, better information for drivers and a faster, more effective response to accidents."

A report on the first six months of the full M42 trial saw significant benefits for motorists, the environment and the economy. Use of the hard shoulder in peak periods saw average journey times fall by more than a quarter on the northbound carriageway and drivers' ability to predict their weekday journey times improved by 27%. Alongside this, overall fuel consumption reduced by 4% and vehicle emissions fell by up to 10%.

The report also found that 84% of drivers said that they felt confident about using the hard shoulder. Alongside this, since the introduction of hard shoulder running, the report found that the personal injury accident rate had fallen from 5.2 per month to 1.5 per month on this section of the M42.

(KMcA)




Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

12 September 2006
Motorists allowed to drive on M42 hard shoulder
Motorists are now being allowed to drive on the hard shoulder of a stretch of the M42 motorway in a bid to ease peak-hour congestion. Drivers will be directed to used the hard shoulder on an 11-mile stretch of the M42 from southeast of Birmingham at certain times.
18 March 2014
M4 Expansion Plans Announced
The government has announced plans to increase capacity on the M4 motorway. The Highways Agency has said that the planned expansion, which aims to reduce congestion, improve journey times and cut air pollution, will cost between £614 million and £862 million.
31 August 2006
Hard shoulder to be opened to motorists
Motorists in the West Midlands will become the first in Britain to use the hard shoulder as a running lane, from September 12, in a bid to cut congestion during busy periods.
10 October 2008
MoD Hard Drive Missing
A computer hard drive with 1.6 million pieces of private information about the armed forces is missing, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said. The names and personal details of around 100,000 serving personnel across the Army, Royal Navy and RAF are believed to be on the drive.
17 February 2005
Study reveals security risks of careless hard drive disposal
Many organisations are failing to erase confidential information from their computer hard drives before disposing of them, causing serious security risks, a university study has warned.