Using a freeway while driving can be a way to get from one place to another.
The long stretches of road are multi-lane to aid the flow of traffic and to help drivers determine the speed they can or should be driving.
Since 2002, however, there have been three new types of motorway in England, all of which are grouped under the umbrella term “Smart Highway”.
Read more: ‘Smart Motorways’ Concerns as Transport Minister Says Extra Safety Measures Are Needed
Road authorities and the government have installed smart highways to make the highways safer and to reduce injuries and deaths on them.
However, smart highways have proven controversial and further roads have been halted pending a report by the Special Committee on Transport on road issues.
So what is a smart motorway and where are they used? Here’s what we know about the streets.
What is a smart motorway and where are they used?
A smart highway uses technology to better manage the lanes on the road.
On a smart highway, hard shoulders can be opened to reduce congestion and speed limits can be changed to better control vehicle flow.
They started on roads in England almost two decades ago, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the hard shoulder became a permanent drivable road for motorists on some sections of the motorway.
There are three different types of smart highways in total.
– The first is a full-lane highway. This means that the hard shoulder will be included in road traffic and vehicles can now use this lane to drive on. The hard shoulder is only deactivated in the event of an incident such as an accident or breakdown. In this case, the drivers are made aware of the problem by traffic information signs, which signal that the hard shoulder is no longer used for normal vehicle traffic.
– The second is a controlled motorway that has a hard shoulder for emergencies and several lanes with different speed limits. Drivers can use the information displayed to determine what speed to drive.
– The third is a dynamic hard shoulder scheme where the hard shoulder is used for driving in traffic jams. Based on the information displayed, drivers can see whether or not this lane is open and at what speed they are allowed to drive. If you see a red “X” on a sign, it means you shouldn’t be using that lane.
A hard shoulder can be recognized by a continuous white line marking, whereas a broken white line marking indicates a normal career path.
Where are smart highways located in the UK?
Smart motorways that run on different stretches of the M1 can be found on several stretches including near Waterdale Interchange, M3 from Thorpe Interchange, M4 from Hambrook Interchange, M5 from Almondsbury Interchange near Bristol, M6 near Birmingham, M20 and M26 , both in Kent.
They are also on parts of the M23 near Gatwick Airport, the M25 near Buckinghamshire, the M27 in Hampshire, the M40 in Warwickshire, the M42 in West Yorkshire, the M60 in Greater Manchester and the M62 between Liverpool and Greater Manchester in action.
A RAC survey found that more than three in five drivers did not want the hard shoulder to be used by motorists. It wanted it to be returned to what it was originally intended for – to help those who collapsed or were stranded.