The future of smart motorways

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Peter Freeman
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Peter Freeman » Sun Nov 08, 2020 01:34

Bendo wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 00:50
M4 Cardiff wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 22:19
I'm not sure how quickly the stopped vehicle detection system kicks in, but unlikely to be quick enough to protect you for that short while whilst you stop and bail out.
It doesn't exist for the vast majority of smart motorways.

Average time to be spotted on CCTV is 17 mins. https://www.theaa.com/about-us/newsroom ... -motorways.
KeithW wrote: ↑ Tue Oct 20, 2020 22:18

... HE have started rolling out Stopped Vehicle Detectors on the M25 and M62
https://navtechradar.com/stopped-vehicl ... -highways/
https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/High ... %20traffic.
The Navtech system selected by HE has been in use for some time in Australia.

The first installation was on the EJ Whitten Bridge on Melbourne's M80, commissioned about three years ago IIRC. The bridge is high, running over a deep valley in the city's outer suburbs, and was a favourite suicide location. The Navtech system was therefore installed to detect pedestrians. Reports stated that it had undergone successful testing for that task before installation. The bridge at that time was a D3ALR. It has since been upgraded to D5 ALR, with full smart technology and secure suicide prevention barriers. I haven't heard whether the Navtech system is still in place, or, if so, whether its function has expanded to include SVD.

A more recent installation is in Perth, Western Australia, on the recently smartified and ALR'ed Kwinana Freeway. This one is for SVD and other incidents:
https://navtechradar.com/clearway-impro ... ffic-flow/
https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/transp ... 881601834z
Last edited by Peter Freeman on Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:55, edited 1 time in total.

Micro The Maniac
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sun Nov 08, 2020 07:30

There are roadworks - with overnight closures of Lanes 1 and 2 - ongoing in the M3's smart section (J4A-J2) including new, additional, gantries. Presumably for the SVD?

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traffic-light-man
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by traffic-light-man » Sun Nov 08, 2020 09:49

Looks like these might be the Navtech ClearWay in situ.
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Bendo
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bendo » Sun Nov 08, 2020 12:57

The Navtech system was trialed on the M25 between J5-J6 and M62 in the North East, logically there should be some evidence of similar in place there...

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by WHBM » Sun Nov 08, 2020 13:35

Peter Freeman wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 01:34
Bendo wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 00:50
M4 Cardiff wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 22:19
I'm not sure how quickly the stopped vehicle detection system kicks in, but unlikely to be quick enough to protect you for that short while whilst you stop and bail out.
It doesn't exist for the vast majority of smart motorways.

Average time to be spotted on CCTV is 17 mins. https://www.theaa.com/about-us/newsroom ... -motorways.
KeithW wrote: ↑ Tue Oct 20, 2020 22:18
... HE have started rolling out Stopped Vehicle Detectors on the M25 and M62
The Navtech system selected by HE has been in use for some time in Australia.
If it's done the way it is on the M4 Chiswick flyover, no wonder. There was a Freedom of Information issue some years about this that got out the procedures, where there seemed to be some sort of turf war between the Highways Agency (as it was then) control room and the Met Police patrols. Although fully CCTV, which could lead to a police dispatch, any stopped vehicle did not have the signals put on until the police arrived and reported in, apparently "to protect the police". They were then pretty quick in moving any breakdown, by pushing with water bumpers on the police Range Rover, to get it to the end of the flyover, but the signals were left on until they arrived there and reported in again. So the sigs were off for most of the time the obstruction was in place, then when on it was mostly after it had been cleared.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by thomas417 » Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:31

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/1 ... bQ3vws4pZY

Highways England now facing a potential manslaughter charge over Smart Motorways.

Can't see many more of these going ahead now.

WHBM
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by WHBM » Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:55

Although there are regular comparisons with all-purpose roads which do not have hard shoulders, including high-volume dual carriageways, the specification for those has long included grassed verges which act as a surrogate shoulder for breakdowns, works vehicles, etc. What has been different with "smart" motorways is not only the conversion of the hard shoulder to a running lane, but the barricading of the remaining verge area by Armco, as if the designers are saying "you're not having this bit either". We can ask HE how this difference in standards arose. If a prosecution actually starts (I'm sure the civil servants will work behind the scenes to prevent this) I'll happily give them some free advice on questions to ask.

I've written before that, years ago at M25 J26, I got a front wheel puncture, but as I slowed down there was a large open gravelled area on the left which had previously been the emergency recovery vehicle base from when the major tunnel works at J25 Enfield were done. It was a valuable area beyond the hard shoulder to change a wheel on. I always looked at it appreciatively subsequently when passing, and once or twice saw other disabled vehicles there. Guess what happened when this bit was "smartified" - it was all Armco'd off.

Comparison :

A3 3-lane dual all purpose, M25 to Guildford, no hard shoulder but grass verge beyond the running lanes :
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.2974933 ... 384!8i8192

M25 my Smart section verge now Armco'd off (and weeds grown up - go back to old Streetviews to see what it was like)
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.680921, ... 384!8i8192

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Patrick Harper
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Patrick Harper » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:23

I think the idea is that vehicles don't have to pull out onto a live lane if they are able to start again. All of the refuge areas have SOS phones (in the rare instance someone forgot their mobile), so that HE can be contacted to close a live lane so that vehicles in said areas can pull out safely.

I reckon what will eventually happen is that there will be more statutory jobs for monitoring smart motorways for stranded vehicles, particularly if the automated systems being rolled out have issues or don't work well enough.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by marconaf » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:41

It shows a complete failure to understand risk.

The risk of pulling out into a live lane where there is control and choice in the action being taken is far less than that not being able to get off a live lane without choice or control (same outcome but probability of former is much lower). As someone whose life is risk assessments this is so obvious it can only be utter incompetence and/or deliberate policy to not have aporoached this properly.


Why we just didnt go for discontinuous hard shoulders at choke points (bridges and other toppgraphci features) is beyond me - look at the M1/3/4/25 and large areas could quite easily have shoulders at very little effort. Compared to the effort wasted on refugee and controls and as above - future manpower heavy management, this is daft. And it could be seen that way at the time.

I hope the legal systrm does punish HE and those who have been pushing this reduction in safety, all for what?

I do note that those who love following whatever is the offical orthodoxy, as if it enhances themselves, appear to be losing their fervour now this disaster is unfolding (as expected) in the longer term.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Conekicker » Tue Dec 22, 2020 14:11

Depending on the outcome of any court case, there is a chance that the next RIS could see some changes if any amendments to the existing SM schemes need funding.

HE/DfT would be unwise in the extreme if they try to push any such changes into the long grass.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Tue Dec 22, 2020 14:23

I used to be a huge advocate for smart motorways, but I have definitely been shocked and saddened by what I have seen, including the deaths of so many people.

Stopped vehicle detection was promised, but we didn't get it.

With the removal of carriageway lighting, I fear for someone with an electrical failure in lane 1 at night.

I would like to start a petition to install continuous LED lighting on all smart motorways - it will improve safety, with the use of LEDs directed down to reduce light pollution and increase energy-efficiency.

And yes, this link is from Smart Motorways Kill, so is probably a bit exaggerated, but if, according to this anonymous engineer working for BT, the same cables used to power those old MS1s are now being used for all this new technology, well that's not appropriate, is it?
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by WHBM » Tue Dec 22, 2020 15:06

marconaf wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:41
It shows a complete failure to understand risk.

The risk of pulling out into a live lane where there is control and choice in the action being taken is far less than that not being able to get off a live lane without choice or control (same outcome but probability of former is much lower). As someone whose life is risk assessments this is so obvious it can only be utter incompetence and/or deliberate policy to not have approached this properly.
Not only that, but they completely ignored the risk with people pulling back into the live lane without contacting HE first. Yet this apparently happens with more than half the stoppages in ERAs. They ignored that ERAs would be filled inappropriately by HGVs taking their tacho break (because there's a hard penalty for not taking a tacho break but not for stopping in an ERA - the police if they do find someone there just move them on), making them unusable for genuine issues. I think also they only considered mechanical breakdowns and the increasing reliability of cars, not other urgent issues like children throwing up in the back, etc.

Elimination of lighting (to save costs) is another. I remember that when the lighting was put in it was justified on safety grounds. How can it then increase safety further and make it "smarter" to remove it again.

There are a couple of additional ERAs being retrospectively inserted on the M25 north side at present. Of course, with the hard shoulder gone this needs lane closure, three remaining narrowed lanes, and a 40mph limit, increased accident risk while the works are in progress, and the project seemed to take months. Wonder if all the costs associated with that have worked back into the Smart project.

Look at this surprising bit on the M25. Space for an effective hard shoulder on the offside, but the verge on the nearside barriered off.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6805548 ... 384!8i8192

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c2R
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by c2R » Tue Dec 22, 2020 15:32

WHBM wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 15:06

Look at this surprising bit on the M25. Space for an effective hard shoulder on the offside, but the verge on the nearside barriered off.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6805548 ... 384!8i8192

I think that's there to provide the required forward visibility round the corner because of the concrete barrier.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by marconaf » Tue Dec 22, 2020 16:40

WHBM wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 15:06
marconaf wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:41
It shows a complete failure to understand risk.

The risk of pulling out into a live lane where there is control and choice in the action being taken is far less than that not being able to get off a live lane without choice or control (same outcome but probability of former is much lower). As someone whose life is risk assessments this is so obvious it can only be utter incompetence and/or deliberate policy to not have approached this properly.
Not only that, but they completely ignored the risk with people pulling back into the live lane without contacting HE first. Yet this apparently happens with more than half the stoppages in ERAs. They ignored that ERAs would be filled inappropriately by HGVs taking their tacho break (because there's a hard penalty for not taking a tacho break but not for stopping in an ERA - the police if they do find someone there just move them on), making them unusable for genuine issues. I think also they only considered mechanical breakdowns and the increasing reliability of cars, not other urgent issues like children throwing up in the back, etc.

Elimination of lighting (to save costs) is another. I remember that when the lighting was put in it was justified on safety grounds. How can it then increase safety further and make it "smarter" to remove it again.

There are a couple of additional ERAs being retrospectively inserted on the M25 north side at present. Of course, with the hard shoulder gone this needs lane closure, three remaining narrowed lanes, and a 40mph limit, increased accident risk while the works are in progress, and the project seemed to take months. Wonder if all the costs associated with that have worked back into the Smart project.

Look at this surprising bit on the M25. Space for an effective hard shoulder on the offside, but the verge on the nearside barriered off.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6805548 ... 384!8i8192
Exaclty, why would you contact anyone if you were able to be mobile again? If the thing is so smart they’d see you are!

All of this was predicted at the outset, and yes no doubt huge expense will now go into rectifying these disasters - obviating any possible cost savings of this ill conceived and dangerously implemented concept, excerbated by the deliberate attempte to pretend otherwise.

Has anyone else copied this idea?

No wonder they renamed HE, anything is worth trying to hide from this level of genius!

I really hope Officials (and Politicans) heads roll for this but doubt they will.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Tue Dec 22, 2020 16:58

marconaf wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:41
It shows a complete failure to understand risk.
There is more than one side of the risk debate, and the definition of risk use.

1. Cars are much more reliable, and hence breakdowns are less common
2. Even then, cars do not usually "stop dead" without warning - otherwise there would be no point in hard-shoulders anyway
3. While safer than a live-lane, the hard-shoulder is not a safe place to stop

Meanwhile, we have accidents and incidents due to people stopping inappropriately on the hard shoulder.
According to their figures, 403 accidents were reported as occurring on motorway hard shoulders in the UK from 2011 to 2016.
...
As a result of these figures, 38 of the collisions were fatal, which equates to around 8.5% of all fatal accidents on motorways in the UK over a five year period.
https://flexed.co.uk/dangerous-hard-sho ... -revealed/

The failure with digital-system-enhanced (I'm deprecating the term Smart) motorways is the non-availability of refuges, and the failure to detect stranded vehicles. Not the removal of the false-safety that is the hard-shoulder.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by jervi » Tue Dec 22, 2020 17:02

I have the unpopular opinion that smart motorways are good.

However parts of their execution and compliance from drivers is bad.

In the past year twice I've contacted HE twice when I've been driving about immediate obstructions.
Both times I contacted the normal HE number that they say you should contact (I have it saved in my phone), and it takes over 1 minute of guff and automated messages before you get through to an operator. And then the operator doesn't really have a clue what I mean when I say "M23 Junction 10 exit slip road".
Alternatively you can dial 999, however I'm not sure if they have access to close lanes on a smart motorway, and if it is quicker. Either way its going to be around 2 minutes before any lane starts to be closed, and that is an issue, especially with SVD not being in place.

I've mentioned this before on here, but I think that a PCN (or alike) should be given to everyone who stops in an ERA (or hard shoulder) without an reasonable excuse and/or don't contact HE before rejoining a live lane. All ERAs have some sort of camera coverage I believe so should be doable.

I will agree that having the barrier so close to the running lane is not a good idea, in some situations. I presume this is the standard to force drivers of disabled vehicles to use an ERA, which is safer for everyone as well as being able to keep all lanes open. Having a barrier this close on downhill sections or where a vehicle wouldn't lose too much speed is okay, however on uphill, especially steeper sections is not a good idea.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by c2R » Tue Dec 22, 2020 17:37

It depends on the issue though - some issues, such as brake failure on an HGV may require a more-or-less immediate stop, while others such as throttle cable failing would allow you to roll until you ran out of speed.

When I had the double blow-out on the M6, I couldn't really risk continuing to drive, particularly as I was approaching a junction and didn't know how far I might be from the next ERA - but spotted a hole in the barrier that I was able to get to and stop.

You're right about not being able to be recovered from there though - the police had to close the motorway in order for me to be loaded onto the back of a truck.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Conekicker » Tue Dec 22, 2020 19:48

EpicChef wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 14:23
I used to be a huge advocate for smart motorways, but I have definitely been shocked and saddened by what I have seen, including the deaths of so many people.

Stopped vehicle detection was promised, but we didn't get it.

With the removal of carriageway lighting, I fear for someone with an electrical failure in lane 1 at night.

I would like to start a petition to install continuous LED lighting on all smart motorways - it will improve safety, with the use of LEDs directed down to reduce light pollution and increase energy-efficiency.

And yes, this link is from Smart Motorways Kill, so is probably a bit exaggerated, but if, according to this anonymous engineer working for BT, the same cables used to power those old MS1s are now being used for all this new technology, well that's not appropriate, is it?
But whatever else happens, do not, under any circumstances, set the columns back 3.2m further, to ensure no abortive costs when/if a hardshoulder is tacked on.

I despair at how short-sighted the design of ALR has been, with all verge infrastructure tending to have been located with no regard to possible future widening.
Patience is not a virtue - it's a concept invented by the dozy beggars who are unable to think quickly enough.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Wed Dec 23, 2020 13:49

thomas417 wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:31
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/1 ... bQ3vws4pZY

Highways England now facing a potential manslaughter charge over Smart Motorways.
What is needed is proper data as to the *reasons* people stop on motorways - whether digital-system-enhanced or traditional - especially with respect to breakdowns.

Also reported on the BBC who state:
She left the Nissan and was awaiting help when another vehicle crashed into her car, which then hit her.
I don't see HE being at fault here... the driver of the other vehicle, on the other hand, has some questions to answer...
But guidance is to stand before the stranded vehicle (even if stopped on a hard shoulder), just in case this exact issue happens.

However:
The CPS has decided against prosecuting the driver who hit the Nissan.
Interesting... I'd be intersted to see how failing to stop a stationary vehicle is anything but driving without due care and attention?
At a pre-inquest review the coroner heard more than 16 minutes had elapsed between the Nissan breaking down and the collision, plus a further six minutes before warning signs were activated.
HE may have a problem with this though... the whole basis of the safety case relies on the monitoring - which we *know* is failing.


But the big question that still needs to be asked: why did the car stop. What was the cause of the "breakdown"?

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by ChrisH » Wed Dec 23, 2020 14:02

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 13:49
But the big question that still needs to be asked: why did the car stop. What was the cause of the "breakdown"?
Respectfully, that is absolutely not the question that needs to be asked. There will always be vehicles coming to an unplanned stop in the carriageway, so the question at hand (and seemingly now with the coroners) is whether HE took all reasonable steps to safeguard their customers who are stranded by stopping in the carriageway.

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