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Discussion Starter #1
Have you seen this...?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27223930

I wonder which idiot approved this!

I can't imagine breaking down in that section. Half the car will be actually on the carriageway and you will have to be getting out of the car and stepping into an open motorway carriageway.

This would be a serious worry for me driving through that section of the M25. I hope this doesn't catch on and let's all hope no one gets killed.
 

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"Smart" road. Uh-uh. I knew this was coming, and it's not uncommon during roadworks. Still seems odd.
It will only be smart until people start getting killed. It is bad enough when standing on the hard shoulder but now these motorists that will be used to driving on it may forget that all hard shoulders do not have this permission.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They are not even marked like hard shoulders... they are marked as normal lanes!

I know that it is not that uncommon in urban areas abroad to have all-lane running but nevertheless, I fear the worst.

Perhaps I am turning into an old fuddy-duddy :eek:
 

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The idea of these managed motorways is that when all lanes are running, the speed is limited to 50 or less and enforced by speed cameras every few hundred meters. There is also emergency areas every mile or so. The Highways Agency uses CCTV and sensors to monitor any breakdowns and incidents, and uses the matrix signs to close lanes well in advance of the incident. Again enforcing lane closure by use of cameras. The first opened on the M42 East of Birmingham years ago, and there is another section on the M62 near Leeds just gone live, and I recently read that the M60-M62 North of Manchester will also be going managed, with work starting any day now.

I have no idea if they reduce congestion, as I don't use a section of managed motorway that often. They have presumably not caused a decrease in road safety, or I guess they wouldn't be commissioned elsewhere. I know the work to install them take about two years and causes significant delays!
 

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It is based on very good research showing that they do reduce congestion but only if as @PTM101 says the speed is reduced. On these managed sections the hard shoulder has been strengthened and widened to accommodate lorries. Speed restrictions gantries are frequent and the speeds are mandatory. There are cameras that cover every inch. In the event of a breakdown between the regular pull ins a Highways Agency vehicle wil reach the car in minutes. Managed means just that a 24/7 surveillance.
The fluid mechanics of traffic flow is fascinating and such schemes do have a very positive impact when traffic squeezes due to volume. Doesn't assist much when there is an accident, but does help at rush hour bulges. It is being rolled out to the busiest sections of the motorway network. It costs a fortune to upgrade and believe me it has to jump through a series of cost/benefit analyses before DfT will sanction the spending.
Embrace, enjoy and appreciate!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I understand how they work and I don't argue that they clearly will increase capacity. No doubt they have excellent monitoring systems and can get assistance to an incident quickly.

However, it is in the first minute or so of an incident, where the car has broken down and has just pulled over. In those first minutes, before the incident has been discovered and responded to in the controlcentre, there is a massive danger of collision from the rear or danger of the driver being run over by a car as they exit their vehicle.

People will not expect a car stopped in their lane and at 50-60mph and with the closeness that people drive to the car in front, there is a real risk that a broken down car will not be seen until the last second. They will have to brake suddenly or pull out into lane 2 with all the dangers that presents.

Of course, after a few minutes the inside lane will be shut using the overhead signs and help despatched... by which time it could be too late.

This is just madness IMO. It is a clear case of compromising safety and common sense to save money.
 

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It is based on very good research showing that they do reduce congestion but only if as @PTM101 says the speed is reduced. On these managed sections the hard shoulder has been strengthened and widened to accommodate lorries. Speed restrictions gantries are frequent and the speeds are mandatory. There are cameras that cover every inch. In the event of a breakdown between the regular pull ins a Highways Agency vehicle wil reach the car in minutes. Managed means just that a 24/7 surveillance.
The fluid mechanics of traffic flow is fascinating and such schemes do have a very positive impact when traffic squeezes due to volume. Doesn't assist much when there is an accident, but does help at rush hour bulges. It is being rolled out to the busiest sections of the motorway network. It costs a fortune to upgrade and believe me it has to jump through a series of cost/benefit analyses before DfT will sanction the spending.
Embrace, enjoy and appreciate!
There are different ways of enjoying yourself but sitting in a stationary car on a live traffic lane on a motorway with no safe refuge would not be on my list for enjoyment.
 

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Don't forget the hard shoulder will only be used when the traffic has been stressed to the point where stop/ go is happening. If you break down in those situations the traffic will only be flowing at 40/50. The reaction time is way faster and within seconds that whole section will squeeze and stop. It is very different to breaking down with everyone whizzing by at 70/80.
There are indeed many better ways of enjoying oneself, but I for one wouould always vote for pootling at 40/50 than sitting in a jam.
It is not a perfect solution, but it is a very cost effective way of keeping the traffic flowing for longer. Moving traffic produces much less CO2 and uses much less fuel than a stop go jam.
 

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I have read the stats on these and used them quite a bit on the M6 and they are no worse than existing motorways.

It may seem crazy but they are very well managed. Only ever see it operating at low speeds with stop go traffic and mostly as "use this lane for exit X only"

If you break down and able to get across onto the hard shoulder then you can easily make it to the next refuge. If you can't coast (e.g. lost a wheel then you wouldn't make it to the hard shoulder anyway and the 100% coverage of CCTV actually means your better off if you are stuck in one of the main lanes.

I think the stats claim that the main benefits are than differential speeds are reduced while the lane is in operation. All lanes speed limited to 40/50 so you don't have 50-80mph difference across the lanes.

Main issue is you can expect to travel at 50 in roadworks for a couple of years! But think of the extra range :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Don't forget the hard shoulder will only be used when the traffic has been stressed to the point where stop/ go is happening.
No, not according to the videos... the lanes are marked as lanes and look in every way to me that they are permanent lanes available to use. I could understand your point if they were still marked as "hard shoulder" with solid lines but they are not and so the old hard shoulder, now lane 1, is available 24/7.
 

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the M42 scheme has been in use for many years now, the hard shoulders are basically really long slip roads if you are turning off at the next junction and the hard shoulders are shown as "in use" you can drive in them.. they are still marked differently to lanes though!
There is also a long stretch of this on the M1 now too.
 

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They are on most of the S end of the M1 and work well. The inner lane is always bounded by a broad white line - as per the shoulder. The overhead signage works superbly and the risk of misuse is minimal. I've often been in heavy traffic begging for the 'congestion lane' to be activated! If there is a breakdown the tele camera will spot it and the signage changed immediately. It's a bit of 'smart engineering' - giving capacity when needed - enabling free-flow and the additional risks are minimal - considering it's the slowest lane, in slow traffic.
There was a time when on the approach to Birmingham the 'centre lane' was switched to handle the flow in the rush hour - the lane was W-bound in the morning, E-bound in the evening. However, despite appropriate signage - nothing could prevent the lapses that resulted in head-on, serious accidents! It didn't last!
 

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There was a time when on the approach to Birmingham the 'centre lane' was switched to handle the flow in the rush hour - the lane was W-bound in the morning, E-bound in the evening. However, despite appropriate signage - nothing could prevent the lapses that resulted in head-on, serious accidents! It didn't last!
When I was in New Zealand I was really impressed by the tidal flow system on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, to avoid the issue with head ons the have a machine which moves the barrier over the lanes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You are all assuming that there is a solid white line and the hard shoulder will only be used at busy times and with restricted speeds.

This is the reality of these new schemes...

Capture.PNG

The inside lane is no longer designated a hard shoulder. This pic clearly shows that this is a normal lane and will be in use 24/7 with very limited refuge on the inside.
 

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It seems to vary by location, it's not a solid line on this section of the M6 all four lanes open at 60mph. You can just see a refuge on the left in the distance.


But here there is a solid line, the google car is in the lane
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yes, the ones that were in the trial and that have been around for a while all have solid lines and overhead gantry lane control. I have driven on them and I would have less concern if that were the case on these new ones.
 
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