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Motorways: Safety

Question for Department for Transport

UIN HL15204, tabled on 22 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Office of Rail and Road assessed the safety of smart motorways when they were introduced.

Answered on

28 April 2021

Since 1995, with the first Controlled Motorway, smart motorways have been progressively introduced to the Strategic Road Network (SRN). After a trial commissioned in 2001, the first Dynamic Hard Shoulder (DHS) motorway opened in 2006 and the first All Lane Running (ALR) motorway opened in 2014.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) was given the responsibility for monitoring and enforcing the performance and efficiency of Highways England in April 2015, after the development of all three forms of smart motorway. The latest safety evidence drawn from data and analysis of the 2019 STATS19 official statistics is contained in Highways England’s Smart Motorways Stocktake First year progress report 2021, published on 20 April 2021. The Secretary of State has commissioned the ORR to independently review the data to provide further analytical assurance and ensure that the conclusions arrived at are robust.

The Transport Secretary has committed £500 million to smart motorway safety through the improvements set out in the Stocktake Action Plan, published in March 2020. Highways England is accelerating measures through existing contracts and final costings are yet to be confirmed, as they continue to plan and develop the programmes. No investment in smart motorway safety threatens funding to make roads safer on other parts of the road network.