UK suspends rollout of smart motorway amid safety concerns
The UK government on Wednesday has announced that it has suspended the rollout of its smart motorway scheme that was introduced before 2020. The UK government said that this project will remain paused until the Department for Transport collects five years of safety data.
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The decision by the UK government follows a recommendation by the Parliament's Transport Select Committee. The recommendation said that there was not enough safety and economic data to justify continuing with the project that will turn the hard shoulder or emergency stopping lane by the verge of a highway into a permanent live traffic lane, reports ANI.
The report also says that concerns around the project were raised following fatal incidents involving broken-down vehicles being hit from behind on the roads that already use technology to maintain the flow of traffic and give information on overhead displays.
Speaking about the suspension of the project, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement that after carefully considering the committee's report, the government will be taking forward all of its recommendations. "This includes the recommendation to pause the rollout of future ALR [All Lane Running] smart motorway schemes until a full 5 years' worth of safety data is available," Shapps further added.
The UK government announced this project more than two years ago. It said that there would be 643 km of roads across the UK by 2025, which will be called smart motorways.
The smart motorway is basically a section of motorway in the UK that use various forms of technology and active traffic management (ATM) systems to increase vehicular capacity. These smart motorways are considered as quicker and more cost-effective alternatives to widening carriages.