The use of hard shoulder running during peak periods is actively managed and monitored from the Highways Agency's West Midlands Regional Control Centre at Quinton. Traffic Officers regulate speed limits and hard shoulder running when traffic volumes rise to potential congestion levels.
Having visited the centre I was very impressed how every part of the M42 ATM section is visible on CCTV. Speed limits are generally well observed and enforced by police and if there is a vehicle breakdown in the vehicle refuges, or in any lane, the traffic officers close the lane using the signals on the overhead gantries, making it safer than normal motorways.
There is a very rapid response to any incident ensuring that there is a consistent expectation of journey time reliability.
Surely, the government's announcement that studies will be undertaken to assess where ATM could be used on other areas of the motorway network, is a wise move to ensure that suitable areas will benefit much earlier than would be possible if only widening were to be considered. As a taxpayer and motorist, I applaud this value for money approach.
TREVOR STILL (M), 39 Welland Gardens, Welland, Malvern, Worcestershire. WR13 6LB