Transport Secretary: ‘smart’ motorways not going anywhere

The transport secretary said it was ‘entirely wrong’ that smart motorways were introduced without the right technology to make them safe but he has ruled out scrapping them, reports Chris Tindall.

Grant Shapps said reversing the controversial traffic measure would mean acquiring land the equivalent of 700 Wembley stadium-sized football pitches and destroying large areas of green belt and that instead ‘we have to make what’s there safe’.

He was responding to concerns about smart motorways following an inquest into the deaths of two men on the M1, which found that the roads presented ‘an ongoing risk of future deaths’.

He told the transport select committee that he inherited the system when he was made secretary of state and he commissioned a report into their safety because he shared people’s concerns. He said that the results of his stock take showed that fatal casualty rates were lower than on conventional motorways.

Chris Tindall wrote about smart motorways in the February 2021 of Transport News. He spoke to  Claire Mercer about her Smart Motorways Kill campaign following the death of husband Jason and Alexandru Murgeanu, who were killed when HGV driver Prezemyslaw Szuba drove into them at 56mph.

  • Transport Scotland said it did not plan to introduce smart motorways but instead wants to build an actively managed hard shoulder on a four-mile section of the M8 and M9 motorways for use only by ‘high-occupancy’ vehicles, such as buses. The only road in Scotland that operates a variable mandatory speed limit is the M90.

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