Smart Motorways – the Explanation !

Most drivers do not understand what’s so smart about a Smart Motorway.

Indeed nor did I !


There are three distinct parts to modern smart motorways.

Speed Cameras

All Live Lanes

Variable Speed Limits


Let’s look at these.


Speed Cameras,    

Speed Cameras are seen as a revenue stream. But there are there to try and save lives. We loose around 1,800 people a year on the road, plus those who receive life changing injuries. These figures, for many reasons have dropped from the worst year ever (in the UK), 1966 when we lost around 8,000 people with approximately one third of the number of cars on the road.

A number of things have helped, seat belts, crash helmets, far superior medical practices and speed limits. There can be no doubt that an impact at a higher speed is far more dangerous – it’s simple physics (F=MV2).

There is little advantage in speeding, indeed there are greater costs than advantages – see


All Live Lanes

When you break down, have a puncture or such – you have no option, but to block a live lane. Whilst we feel this put everyone at risk – it is the same as on a dual carriageway, or many a rural road etc, however, we might expect higher speeds and possibly high volume of traffic on a motorway (or else why convert the hard shoulder into a live lane).


But the Jewel in the Crown –

Variable Speed Limits.

Have you ever wondered why, driving through a Variable Speed Limit for miles on end – to see nothing ?

GOOD! – They worked!

The idea, is to reduce the speed of approaching traffic to an issue, be it congestion etc. So that, by the time the rest get there – it’s gone!


It’s a very simple principle, it works – but it’s never been explained properly.