Smart Motorways like the M62 Proven to Decrease Driving Time by Substantial Amount

Once again, Highways England has proven that Active Traffic Management (ATM) works – and the latest figures confirm this without a doubt. Active Traffic Management techniques include the use of variable speed limits and hard shoulder running at various times a day to smooth out traffic, create more reliable journey times, reduce accidents, and even minimise harmful emissions. What once was an experiment is now taking off and is implemented more and more.

Smart motorways that manage vehicles decrease journey time, reduce accidents and harmful emissions

Smart motorways that manage vehicles decrease journey time, reduce accidents and harmful emissions

The M62 delivers results

The M62 is a perfect example of this. Highways England dedicated £136 million to this project between Brighouse and Rothwell – it was an effort to deliver better journeys for motorists during the busiest hours. Completed in 2013, the results are in: people traveling westbound in the evening save about five minutes a day. Whilst a mere five minutes does not seem like much, it’s a great accomplishment if you consider that the number of drivers which use the motorway has increased 6%. In other words, Active Traffic Management allows more motorists yet reduces traveling time.


The statistics

On April 12, 2016, Chancellor George Osborne said that he would accelerate the Budget regarding the improvements of M62 from junctions 25, Brighouse, to junction 20, Rochdale – this strip is going to become a four-lane smart motorway. Right after that, the new figures were published: they show that the smart motorway is accepting an average of 155000 vehicles a day on the busiest stretch (between junction 26, Chain bar, and junction 27) – that’s every day, a 6% increase. Still, according to Roger Wantling of the service delivery team leader for Highways England, commuters save an average of thirty minutes a week – which is equivalent to one day per year.


So what does it mean?

Not only does ATM allow individual users of the motorway to get to and from work a little quicker, there are also fewer accidents despite increased traffic. It’s a great stress reducer. For the individual motorist, it means he or she can have more confidence when using the motorway. What’s more, on the aggregate, this type of scheme helps the economy in incredible ways.

But what’s truly great about this news: we know the authorities and institutions involved are on the right track, and that with a little more improvements and a little more experimenting, we’re bound to make a leap in traffic control and traffic smoothening sooner rather than later. “The smart motorway helps tackle the stop-start conditions many of us have experienced in the past,” says Roger Wantling. “This first year study into the impact of the scheme shows it’s had significant benefits for journey times as well as improving safety and benefitting the wider economy.”




Image attributed to winnond/

Posted on 31 May 2016 in News

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