400 Miles of Hard Shoulder is Going as We Move to "Digital Roads"

By Gary Cutlack on at

"Digital road" is the equally stupid new way of referring to what has been known as the "smart motorway" for a few years, and we're getting more of them. 400 miles more of them, in fact, as statistics say the removal of hard shoulders and the installation of special refuge areas for breaking cars has been a success. Or at least not a disaster.

The original smart motorway concept saw hard shoulders disappear from stretches of M-road and variable speed limits introduced, with Highways England saying we should have a total of 788 miles of these non-shouldered cleverer-than-average motorways by April 2025. Since the first wave of smart motorway has been deemed successful, this new push is to increase the roadworks speed limit to 60mph, with the roads authority saying it'll start putting the emergency lay-bys a little closer together too so there'll always be a place for a 2005 Ford Focus to coast to a halt in.

Highways England boss Jim O'Sullivan told The Times: "We are now well into smart motorway operation and the statistics we have are reliable. They are telling us that the safety record on smart motorways is arguably better than what we see on conventional motorways." [The Times]