Speed limits on the section of the M42 which allows running on the hard shoulder during congested period are increased from 50mph to 60mph today.
The speed limit increase comes prior to a proposed for roll-out on motorways across the country.
The Government’s safety study indicated no significant reduction in road safety levels at 60mph.
Roads Minister Tom Harris said: “Hard shoulder running has proven to be a powerful congestion-tackling tool and we’ve announced our intention to develop similar schemes on the M1, M6 and M62.
“Now we’re looking for ways to maximise the benefits of these innovative techniques - increasing the speed limit is part of that. We don’t want to slow motorists unnecessarily when they could safely be travelling more quickly.
“Of course safety is paramount and we will closely monitor the impact of the speed limit increase on both journey times and driver behaviour,” he said.
The increased maximum speed limit will apply to the two and a half mile southbound stretch of the M42 motorway between junctions 4 and 3A, with the electronic overhead signs clearly displaying the speed limit in force.
According to Department of Transport research, hard shoulder running reduced average journey times by more than a quarter on the northbound carriageway and drivers’ ability to predict their weekday journey times improved by 27%.