Motorway safety on new All Lane Running (ALR) routes is to be improved with new technology put in place.

The monitoring system will be able to spot vehicles that have stopped or broken down.

Furthermore, all existing ALR motorways will be fitted with the technology six months earlier than planned.

Highways England made the announcement as it published a 2021 report into smart motorways.

The ‘Smart Motorways Stocktake First Year Progress Report 2021’ sets out progress made in improving motorway safety.

The report includes commitments to speed up completion of safety measures.

ALR motorways – which don’t have hard shoulders – are fitted with technology and features not seen on conventional motorways. 

For example, there are set-back emergency areas and red ‘X’ signs on gantries to close live lanes. 

In addition, radar detection to spot stopped vehicles is also being rolled out.

Highways England has committed to a number of improvements by the end of September 2022.

For example, it will install radar technology on all existing stretches of ALR motorway, six months earlier than planned.

Secondly, special cameras will be upgraded ten months earlier than planned. 

These cameras will be used to spot and prosecute motorists ignoring ‘red X’ signs.

Finally, 1,000 additional approach signs will be installed six months earlier than planned. 

Therefore, drivers will be more aware of their nearest place to stop in an emergency.

Action plan

Transport secretary Grant Shapps admitted not all drivers feel safe on ALR motorways.

“That’s why I tasked Highways England with delivering an action plan to raise the bar on safety measures.” 

“This progress report shows the extensive work already carried out, but we want to do more,” he added.

Meanwhile, Highways England’s Acting chief executive, Nick Harris, said he wanted to put road user safety first.

“We’ve made good progress delivering the improvements set out in the 2020 Stocktake,” he reported. 

“But we are not complacent and are examining ways to improve safety further.”


(Picture credit: Jarek Kilian/