The number of laybys needs doubling on England’s motorway network to make the introduction of all lane running schemes safer according to the Automobile Association.
Research on all-lane running has been M25 published by Transport England and the RAC gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee at the start of this week.
Edmund King, president of the AA, told the committee it was too early to take a view on the wider picture of all-lane running due to the distance between lay-bys on motorways only being 2.5km.
“Quite often drivers between those laybys and breaking down on a running lane and that’s incredibly frightening for the driver and leads to congestion,” said King.
“There’s a good analogy with waste paper. If you can see a bin, most people will walk to it and put paper in the bin but some of those that can’t will drop it. If you can’t see the layby, more than half the people would stop on the running lane.
“As an absolute minimum, we would like to see twice as many laybys and twice the length.
“If you get one HGV there’s no room for another truck and repair people to come along.”
David Bisley, chief engineer at the RAC, told the committee that all lanes running had produced improvement in journey times, but said he had: “Some concerns about some aspects of all lanes running.”
“Like the AA we would like to see more emergency refuse areas,” said Bisley, who also said greater enforcement was also needed.
He added: “Generally motorists will move off a hard shoulder if it’s closed as they are used to moving off a hard shoulder.
“On an all lanes running motorway, you only have a red X over it and adherence to red X’s is much less rigorous. Highways England are taking actions but nevertheless, too many drivers drive down a lane with a red X which puts in danger people working in that lane.”
King says he has raised the AA’s concerns with the road safety minister, but Bizley said he believed that Highways England still felt that the distance between emergency refuse areas is up for debate.