Smart Motorways

England’s motor­ways are get­ting smart!

Get smart, know your motorways!

England’s motor­ways are chang­ing. Many now use a range of new tech­nol­ogy to vary speed lim­its in response to dri­ving con­di­tions. These smart motor­ways make the hard shoul­der avail­able to traf­fic. This could be per­ma­nently or at par­tic­u­larly busy times of the day. These smart motor­ways are man­aged by our regional con­trol cen­tres. They use CCTV so that High­ways Agency traf­fic offi­cers can be deployed to inci­dents if they occur and help to keep traf­fic moving.

What is a smart motorway?

Con­se­quences of ignor­ing a red X:

Smart Motor­ways drive-through

M25 J23-27 drive-through sim­u­la­tion — all lane running

This leaflet tells you what to expect and how to use a smart motorway:

Dif­fer­ent types of smart motor­way include:

Con­trolled motor­way — Con­trolled motor­ways have three or more lanes with vari­able speed lim­its. The hard shoul­der should only be used in a gen­uine emergency.

Hard shoul­der run­ning — The hard shoul­der will be opened at busy times and the speed limit will be reduced. Do NOT use the hard shoul­der unless over­head signs show that you can do so.

All Lane run­ning — There is no hard shoul­der on these sec­tions of motor­way. Obey vari­able speed lim­its and do not stop on the motor­way. If you need to stop in an emer­gency, use an emer­gency refuge area, motor­way ser­vice area or leave at the next junction.

We use a red X sym­bol to show that a lane is closed because of an inci­dent or peo­ple work­ing on the road. Dri­ving in a lane with a red X sym­bol is dan­ger­ous and dri­vers must NOT use it.

Audio File — What does a red X mean? Get smart, know your motorways


Red X - Gantry

Fur­ther information