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Smart Motorways

Driving Tips

Smart motorways have been put in place to increase traffic capacity without having to widen existing carriageways.

They use active traffic management (ATM) techniques to increase capacity by use of variable speed limits and hard shoulder running at busy times.
The Facts:
  • Regional control centres use CCTV, Detection Technology and variable message signs to manage smart motorways
  • Depending on the type of motorway, speed restrictions can be set and lanes closed if there’s an incident or congestion
  • Overhead and large nearside information signs are used to warn you about queuing traffic and speed limits as well as to close lanes and divert traffic in the event of an incident
  • New digital speed cameras are widely used to enforce variable speed limits across all four lanes
  • On a smart motorway you’ll find ‘Emergency Refuge Areas’ (ERA) at regular intervals. Covered by cameras but not always by detection technology

More information can be found on our Smart Motorways driver advisory, including:


  • Types of Smart Motorway
  • Enforcing Speed Limits
  • Red X Signs

And probably most importantly, the advice.

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