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Kelly announces new ways to beat motorway jams PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 October 2007

An innovative traffic management system that cuts journey times and helps keep motorways moving is to be extended to other parts of the network, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced today.

Following a successful trial on the M42, new ways of managing motorway traffic - including hard shoulder running - will be implemented as part of a £150m scheme on the motorway box around Birmingham, and a feasibility study will be undertaken to consider if similar schemes could help to beat congestion on other parts of the motorway network.

Ruth Kelly said:

"The M42 trial shows that using innovative thinking to help drivers beat motorway jams really works.

"New traffic management techniques, like hard shoulder running and varying speed limits, offer practical and cost-effective solutions to cutting congestion and I now want to explore whether other motorways could benefit from similarly creative measures.

"Other important benefits are less disruption from road works, reduced environmental impacts, better information for drivers and a faster, more effective response to accidents."

The first six months of the full M42 trial saw significant benefits for motorists, the environment and the economy. Use of the hard shoulder in peak periods saw average journey times fall by more than a quarter on the northbound carriageway and drivers' ability to predict their weekday journey times improved by 27%. Alongside this, overall fuel consumption reduced by 4% and vehicle emissions fell by up to 10%.

Importantly those involved did not feel road safety was compromised - with 84% of drivers saying they felt confident about using the hard shoulder. Alongside this, since the introduction of hard shoulder running the personal injury accident rate has fallen from 5.2 per month to 1.5 per month on this section of the M42.

The Department for Transport will now begin a major study to examine the costs and technical feasibility of extending signalling and traffic management systems on a wider scale as well as looking at innovative ideas for future traffic management.

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