Smart Motorways are a recent development and were devised to manage busy areas of motorway traffic in England.
There are three types of Smart Motorway. They are known as;
- All lane running motorway schemes
- Controlled motorways
- Dynamic hard shoulder running schemes.
All lane running motorway schemes
In the all running motorway schemes, the hard shoulder is now kept permanently open as a running lane on the motorway; essentially another lane has been made available by opening the hard shoulder to motorway traffic. Three-lane motorways have been turned into four-lane motorways. The lane created on the hard shoulder is now only ever closed if there is an incident of any kind. On these sections of the road, the lanes are demarcated by broken white lines between the lanes.
Speed limits are displayed by overhead gantry signs, which will vary depending on the state of the traffic at any given time. The overhead signs are used to close lanes when necessary, and the speed limits are enforced by speed cameras. Should an incident take place in lane one and the red ‘x’ above the lane indicates that the lane is closed and it is illegal to use the lane. Attempts to do so are viewed seriously and will invite prosecution.
The controlled motorway
The controlled motorway is a three lane motorway where the speed limits are variable, again largely dependent on the traffic conditions at the time. The hard shoulder is retained, and it is illegal to use the hard shoulder as a running lane.
The dynamic hard shoulder running scheme
This scheme is a blend of the first two mentioned, and the hard shoulder is opened as a running lane when traffic congestion begins to build up. It creates relief for the traffic and eases the flow. When the hard shoulder is open to running traffic, this is indicated by the overhead gantries. If a red x is displayed above the hard shoulder, then the lane cannot be used. Likewise, if the sign is blank it may also not be used, and drivers that do will be liable for prosecution. There are also strict speed enforcement regulations in place, much the same as under the first two schemes.
These schemes have brought much relief to the UKs frustrated drivers. It has seen marked improvements for commercial deliveries as journey time is reduced thanks to decreased congestion, even those that have a van hire to return can now rest assured that they can get back without having to pay the penalty.
If you’re planning a trip, then make sure that you have an awareness of all the smart motorway schemes in operation so that you do not break the rules and face prosecution. Need a van for your journey? Then get in touch with CVS Van Hire in London to book a van with no hidden charges and no deposit required. With CVS Van Hire, we offer 24-hour delivery so that you can return the vehicle at any time, whether you get caught in congestion or are lucky enough to feel the benefits of smart motorways. Call us today on 020 8003 2785 to find out more.