Highways England trials IVR recommendation on smart motorways

You will have read in previous issues of the magazine of the continuing collaboration between the Institute of Vehicle Recovery (IVR) and Highways England (HE) regarding the review of Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA) on All Lane Running (ALR) motorways.

The association has been ongoing for over twelve months and many of you may remember at the Tow Show last year when the industry support charity RISC donated £2,000, of the money raised at the show, to assist in raising the awareness of ERA recoveries and the production of an operational best practice film.

The recovery scenario filming was carried out at the Fire Service College in Moreton in Marsh in February and more recently filmed live on the M25.  The film is currently being edited and will have its official launch at this year’s Tow Show in September.

Highways England has now released a statement giving an update on progress and the changes being trialled following the February demonstration and the ongoing ALR Practitioner meetings, where the IVR is represented by former IVR vice president Mac Hobbs FIVR.

The need for higher visibility was agreed across the board and this has resulted in a trial being run on the North and Southbound carriageways at Junction 4 on the M3. In addition to improvements in visibility and recognition the trial also includes the introduction of a stop line within the ERA so users can position their vehicle for easier recovery, an addition proposed and recommended by the IVR.

Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said:

We recognise the public concern about smart motorways and we also believe that changes such as these will help drivers have confidence when using them and be clear about where they can stop in an emergency.

That is why we are trialling these highly visible new style emergency areas. The bright orange colouring will make them as easy as possible to spot and should also discourage drivers from using them in non-emergency situations.

This is just one of the ways we are helping drivers to understand smart motorways and their benefits. I hope it helps drivers feel more confident about using a smart motorway.

The first of these new look Emergency Areas will be operational on the North and Southbound carriageways at Junction 4 of the M3, near Camberley. 

As an industry we need to work together to ensure safety for all working and travelling on UK roads and this initiative by the IVR shows liaising with external organisations and stakeholders can make a difference and get results.

For information on the ERA trial go to www.gov.uk/government/news/m3-gets-first-orange-smart-motorway-emergency-area

M3 Emergency Area