MPs call to abandon driving on hard shoulder
13th July, 2016

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has criticised the Government's plans to roll out all-lane running systems across the UK's motorway network.

The Department for Transport intends to convert more than 300 miles of hard shoulder into running lanes on a permanent basis over the next nine years, to tackle predicted surges in road congestion, but the Transport Committee has released a report stating that the proposition was “a radical change and an unacceptable price to pay for such improvements”.

The report said: “The all-lane running design has been chosen on the basis of cost savings, and it is not acceptable for the [DfT] to proceed with a less safe design, putting people’s lives at risk, in order to cut costs.”

Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman MP, commented: “The Government has a model which has worked. The scheme on the M42 has a track record of safety and performance but subsequent versions have gradually lowered the standard specification. The most recent incarnations of All Lane Running have less provision for safety measures than original pilot schemes.” Ms. Ellman added that the body was concerned by “unacceptably low” levels of public awareness around all-lane running schemes and compliance with ‘red X’ signals.

She said the committee would need to see more emergency refuge areas and greater driver education and enforcement before it endorsed “the extension of a scheme which risks putting motorists in harm's way”.

In response, a spokesperson for the DfT said: “Our motorways are among the safest in the world, and cutting the number of accidents is our top priority. All-lane running roads are designed to be as safe as ordinary motorways. In the two all-lane running sections on the M25, accidents were down 17% and casualty rates fell by 21% in the first year. As the committee recognise, the busiest journey times have almost halved, and overall journey times are more reliable and predictable than before. We will be considering all the Transport Committee’s findings carefully and responding shortly.”

Article courtesy of Fleet News