The Transport Committee Chair has commented on the results of AA's member survey on smart motorways.
Lilian Greenwood MP said:
"Almost 20,000 people responded to this survey by the AA. It demonstrates that the public still has serious concerns about the safety of All Lane Running schemes. The permanent conversion of the hard shoulder into a running lane on our busiest motorways is a radical change for motorists and creates a real challenge. In June 2016, our predecessor Committee warned Government not to press ahead with 'all lane running schemes' while major safety concerns existed - they still exist.
One area of particular concern is the size and spacing of Emergency Refuge Areas. While we welcome the news that Highways England is undertaking a targeted programme to install additional emergency areas in locations with the highest levels of potential live lane stops, it doesn't go far enough.
Plans to reduce the spacing to one mile between the refuge areas in future schemes falls far short of the Committee's recommendation that the areas should be spaced at 500-800 metres apart, as in the M42 Active Traffic Management pilot which the Committee supported. This AA survey shows qualified support from the public for refuge areas spaced one kilometre apart (0.6 miles). I would urge Highways England to review this decision.
The tree E's of education, enforcement and engineering continue to be vital to the safety and success of this initiative. While there has been some success with reducing levels of non-compliance with red-x signals, this work needs to continue apace. We will continue to monitor this and look forward to further updates from Highways England."