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Road User Voice May 2016: Making sure the voice of road users is heard on smart motorways

Smart motorways are a major innovation to England’s motorways. Transport Focus is engaging with a wide range of people to ensure this innovation reduces congestion and improves journey times safely and with minimum inconvenience to road users.

Our workplan for 2016-17 contains plans to carry out further research into road users’ experiences of smart motorways, including all-lane running sections.

This month Transport Focus met the team responsible for developing the smart motorways programme in England. Road users who have recently used motorways may have encountered one or more of the new schemes in operation or will have travelled through one of the construction sites to install the technology that makes up a smart motorway.

Highways England discussed a range of things with us, from driver education, safety, construction, operations and communication. There are a number of improvements to how smart motorways are constructed and communicated, all with a higher priority for road users. For example, one scheme currently in construction has changed to split the roadworks into shorter stretches of working to less the impact on road users. This is an example of welcome change that Transport Focus will continue to push for.

Radio adverts are now being used to inform drivers about smart motorways and is something that Transport Focus staff experienced on the return journey to the north west of England. Good progress in this area and we are keen to see more activity like this.

smart-motorways-May2016

(Left to right) Lee Rowbotham, (Transport Focus), Anthony Beeby, Lorraine Butler, Ian Parker (Highways England) and Jordan Sargeant (Transport Focus)

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