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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 07:50 Thread Starter
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Not so Smart motorways

So finally it's being recognised that using the hard shoulder as an active lane kills people.
Rather than invest in proper roads or better still trains and buses the government has continued to put peoples lives at risk.
I imagine the next phase is balancing how many people can die balanced against the cheapness of that solution.
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 08:03
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We might get 'smart' motorways but dumber drivers.

Ray.
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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 08:25
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My money is on a fudge. The Government and Highways England will not admit they have made the motorways less safe and the figures will be 'massaged' in their favour. It makes no difference how drivers perceive the higher risk the Government know best. Smart motorways are about control with speed cameras and dynamic speed limits. It has been confirmed that the speed limit is lowered automatically by computers and that these limits contribute towards the congestion. Of course the speed cameras are particularly profitable when the limit is artificially lowered below the road and traffic conditions.
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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 08:33
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I think that the problem may be in the name. Smart motorway implies that the road is capable of thinking, or at least reacting to events. And of course if the road could think or be managed in real time in an intelligent and effective way then it might be possible to use the hard shoulder as a lane but to change it back to it's original function almost instantly as the need occurred.

It can't of course be managed beyond lighting up a few signs to say this or that.

A road isn't smart. It can't be. It's a lump of tarmac. To call a road smart is to tell a lie and to represent the road as being capable of reacting to the needs of the motorists using it. This is an obvious misrepresentation and because it isn't true that the road is smart it makes an already dangerous road more dangerous.

All of that would have been quite obvious to those who introduced the lie. I'd be very keen to see the risk assessments they carried out. It seems to me that no amount of "creative thinking" could make using the hard shoulder as a normal lane appear to be possible without making the road more dangerous.

It looks very like the same kind of risk assessment as was carried out on the Grenfell cladding.

I expect there must be plenty of shiny new consultancies who'll risk assess anything for you and deliver the result you want. File that away and you are immune, especially if you are a Government Department. That's the safe way to do it.

You commissioned a professional assessment from a specialist company, preferably a foreign based plc, in the interests of accuracy and thoroughness. Sadly and very unexpectedly the company, it turns out, is of no real substance, had little or no specialist knowledge or experience and unfortunately just liquidated at the first sign of trouble. Even more unfortunately all their information was accidentally destroyed at that time.

That's the way to do it.
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 08:45
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I feel we have a generation who will rely on anything 'smart' to enable, control or aid their lives without actually thinking too deeply themselves. We rely and have confidence on traffic lights barrowing through junctions when we have the green light never considering the impending accident by someone not so aware.

Ray.
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 11:09
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For many years I sat in traffic jams thinking that it would be so much better if the hard shoulder could be used. I'm sure I was not alone.

Now I find it odd that people are prepared to drive on the "hard shoulder" of a smart motorway but will not pull into the "slow lane" of a 3-lane highway even when it's clear for miles ahead and the law was changed to specifically enforce this.

Gordon (travelling in hope of never being caught in a tragedy)
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 11:22 Thread Starter
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I avoid driving on the smart hard shoulder.
Cars still get punctures and breakdown and they still pull as far to the left as they can. Why drive in a lane that may have a family broken down ahead of you?
The traffic light system has a delay and is only repeated at set intervals.

However there is good evidence that variable speed limits increase flow.
The assumption that going faster allows more traffic to flow isn't true. As humans we increase the gap between us and the car in front as the speed increases.
Slowing the traffic actually increases the flow rate. That's been proven.
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 12:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat-H View Post
......... As humans we increase the gap between us and the car in front as the speed increases. ..............


I must say that my experience doesn't necessarily support that generalisation Pat.

I do leave a proper gap, especially in the van. Remember the two second rule? But my gap constantly gets filled by overtakers who can't bear to see that there's a space in front of me and who apparently don't understand that my van will take a little more stopping than their car.

On the rare occasions when I do drive on a UK motorway it nearly always seems to be raining or to be dark and raining. It horrifies me to see how close people drive to the vehicle in front.

This from someone who's a car nut and loves fast cars and who competed in motorsport. I'd say that driving on an ordinary UK motorway on an ordinary day is very probably more dangerous than taking part in motorsport.
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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 14:00
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" Panorama, Britain's Killer Motorways? is on BBC One at 20:30 GMT on Monday 27 January"

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/202...motorway-roll/
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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 27-01-2020, 15:53 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erneboy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat-H View Post
......... As humans we increase the gap between us and the car in front as the speed increases. ..............


I must say that my experience doesn't necessarily support that generalisation Pat.

I do leave a proper gap, especially in the van. Remember the two second rule? But my gap constantly gets filled by overtakers who can't bear to see that there's a space in front of me and who apparently don't understand that my van will take a little more stopping than their car.

On the rare occasions when I do drive on a UK motorway it nearly always seems to be raining or to be dark and raining. It horrifies me to see how close people drive to the vehicle in front.

This from someone who's a car nut and loves fast cars and who competed in motorsport. I'd say that driving on an ordinary UK motorway on an ordinary day is very probably more dangerous than taking part in motorsport.
They have conducted numerous tests on traffic olune and imposed limits and it always improves.
Think in crawling traffic you leave what a 3ft gap or less. At 70mph it's supposed to be 300ft.
So even if it's half that. You can fit 10 or more cars. So per second only a 10tb of the cars pass at 70mph.

Pat

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