The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the news that the hard shoulder running experiment on the M42 is to be extended to other motorways. FTA says that roads congestion is a daily blight on UK industry and schemes to increase road capacity and cut waste are urgently needed.
FTA's Director of External Affairs said, 'Action must be taken to control and reduce the enormously costly congestion that is a daily problem on the UK's busiest trade routes – including the M25, M6, M1, M4 and M62. Ideally we need a substantial increase in investment aimed at widening the most congested motorways. As the economy continues to grow we will need to move more goods to more places. At the same time the car population is expanding as people expect to be able to move around. Without positive action to create more road capacity then worsening congestion over the next ten years is going to cost the nation and individuals millions of man hours and billions of pounds.
'The M42 Active Traffic Management scheme operated since September last year, and the ability to safely switch hard shoulder running on and off, seems to have been a very positive success with reduced congestion, reduced journey times and reduced accidents. It is a sensible means of making the most of the roads network that we already have. It has made an important contribution to improving journey time reliability for commercial vehicle operators. Replicating the scheme elsewhere – and quickly – clearly makes sense.
'However, an efficient transport network is a pre-requisite of our twenty-first century economy and culture and the Government simply must commit to improving our roads infrastructure by widening existing motorways and building new roads in order to meet our needs. Road users as a whole are contributing over £44 billion each year to the Exchequer with only around £7 billion re-invested in the network. Roads investment must be increased.'