70% of drivers want smart motorways changed to normal ones

Smart motorways have been increasingly taking over UK roads. First introduced in 2006, the traffic system has been slowly rolled out across the country, until this earlier month when the government confirms no more smart motorways would be created. They cited[1] "financial pressures and lack of confidence felt by drivers" as the reason why.

Smart motorways are a contentious issue. They were originally introduced with the idea of boosting capacity on the roads, and reducing congestion via allowing drivers onto the hard shoulder during peak hours. However, critics have said that the system is dangerous, particularly for the removal of the hard shoulder.

In recent years, criticism has grown, so much so that the government confirmed they were going to halt the roll out of any new smart motorways due to concerns. New research from the RAC[2] shows that drivers are on the same page, with nearly 70% of motorists lusting after the return of the hard shoulder. Currently, there is still over 200 miles of road that do not have a hard shoulder.

Simon Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: "While we're pleased the Government reached the same conclusion that many drivers already have by cancelling future smart motorway schemes which would have seen around dozens more miles of hard shoulder disappearing forever, as things stand, by the end of this year there will still be 250 miles of motorway in England without hard shoulders - that's around 13% of the complete network. "Installing additional refuge areas and radar technology to help spot stricken vehicles is welcome and necessary, but for most drivers this doesn't go far enough. "Many felt they were dangerous from the outset and now it's clear the Government has totally lost faith in these types of road as well."

He continued: "Today, it remains the case that anyone unlucky enough to break down who can't get to an emergency refuge area remains incredibly vulnerable where the hard shoulder has been taken out. "The Government claims that reinstating the hard shoulder would 'come at a significant cost' and be 'too disruptive' but our research shows drivers clearly don't buy this. "Certainly, it's regrettable that so much public money has already been spent on such deeply unpopular roads, but will the driving public accept anything less than the return of the hard shoulder?"

Related: Ferrari Roma review: an ode to the grand tourer[3]


  1. ^ cited (www.gov.uk)
  2. ^ RAC (www.rac.co.uk)
  3. ^ Ferrari Roma review: an ode to the grand tourer (www.thelondoneconomic.com)