CIHT gives evidence on Smart Motorways to Transport Select Committee

CIHT Fellow Kate Carpenter gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into the rollout and safety of Smart Motorways.

CIHT has today given evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into the safety of Smart Motorways. Giving evidence on behalf of CIHT was Kate Carpenter FCIHT. The committee’s inquiry looks at the safety of Smart Motorways and their impact on reducing congestion on busy sections of motorway and other roads in the strategic road network.

CIHT’s written evidence to the committee can be found here.

CIHT’s position on Smart Motorways has maintained that improving road safety should be based around engineering, enforcement and education. CIHT recognises that many drivers do not feel safe on Smart Motorways, despite that their safety performance is better than conventional motorways, and that this is something Highways England needs to address now and in any future schemes.

Kate Carpenter FCIHT said after the session:

“Our evidence focussed on the need to use evidence about safety of Smart Motorways to inform design and operations, and the decision on whether wider roll out is appropriate. We made reference to the recently published Smart Motorway Stocktake document which showed that fatal crashes, and live lane fatal crashes are lower per mile travelled on all forms of Smart Motorway (Controlled Motorway; Dynamic Hard Shoulder; All Lane Running) than conventional motorway with hard shoulders.

We also noted that despite this suggesting they are actually safer, public anxiety is high in many places and we must respect and understand that, especially as it may lead people to choose to use less-safe roads instead if they feel motorways are not safe. This means we need good and ongoing public engagement to help drivers understand their own role in safety on all roads – for example keeping cars properly fuelled; tyres in good condition and cars maintained, as well as following guidance if an incident occurs. We also need on-going review of collision data and other data such as near-miss events and use it to improve design and operations for Smart Motorways in the light of insight into how people behave.

CIHT was pleased to have this opportunity to support the case for an approach to road design and operation that reflects available evidence, and also recognises, respects and addresses public concerns about safety.”