16 October, etc.venues Monument
30 October, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
1st November 2023, etc.venues County Hall
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has published plans to extend the pilot motorway scheme of ”hard shoulder running” ” using the safety space as an extra lane ” although final usage has yet to be finalised.
The government has identified 800km (500mi) of sections along the M1, M6 and M62 following what it says was a successful trial on the M42 near Birmingham. The M27 around Southampton, M4/5 near Bristol and stretches of the M23, M20, M3 and M4 which feed into the M25 ” the London orbital - may also benefit in future.
”Experience shows that new road capacity has to be properly managed if it is not to simply fill up,” said Kelly. ”There is a compelling argument for car-share or charged lanes, which have been used for some time in the US.
”In order to get maximum benefit, access to car-share lanes is limited to vehicles carrying passengers, or single drivers will have to pay a toll. I intend to explore the possibility for taking a similar approach here.”
A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman told ABTN that in America, single drivers on HOT (High Occupancy or Toll) lanes such as the I15 in San Diego, California, will pay between 50c and $8 (”4) ” ”but it”s far too early to say what particular prices would be set here,” he said.
Regarding the safety of using hard shoulders as lanes, the DfT points out that in the first six months of the M42 trial, 84% of drivers said they felt confident in their use and 60% would welcome more widespread take-up. The personal injury accident rate fell from 5.2 per month to 1.5 per month ” while average journey times fell by more than a quarter, drivers” ability to predict weekday journey times improved 27%, and overall fuel consumption reduced by 4%.
”There are a wide range of safety measures ” emergency refuge areas by the hard shoulder every 500 yards (457m) which are long enough to fit two HGVs and a recovery truck,” said the spokesman. ”And the stretches are also heavily covered with cameras, so breakdowns are seen immediately by the Highways Agency, and they can then close whichever lane they need to and leave the others running.”
He said the DfT will now firm up areas for the scheme ” for which it ”may go through public consultation” ” and added that the first of them would be ready to use in around three years.
The speed limit on the M42 pilot has been 50mph, but they are to trial 60mph at the end of this month.
There will also be more funding to help towns and cities implement congestion-busting schemes ” including charges similar to London ” as the ”200m a year Transport Innovation Fund is extended a further four years until 2018/19.
”Local authorities are already considering whether local road pricing, coupled with investment in public transport, could help them cut congestion,” said Kelly. ”I hope that more of them will bring forward proposals for consideration.”