Speed hike for hard shoulder area

Hard shoulder running on the M42 near Birmingham is speeding up journeys with a faster limit of 60mph following a successful test.

The increased speed limit applies to the whole active traffic management stretch between junctions 3A and 7 to the south-east of Birmingham, with electronic signs displaying the speed limit.

A Highways Agency test found that increasing the speed from 50mph to 60mph improved journey times by up to 8% with no discernible impact on safety.

Roads minister Andrew Adonis said: "We don't want to slow drivers down unnecessarily so, after closely monitoring the test to make sure safety was not compromised, we are increasing the speed limit while the hard shoulder is in use to 60mph.

"This will maximise the benefits of this innovative scheme and further improve journey times for motorists."

The scheme, which allows road users to drive on the hard shoulder during busy periods, has shown significant benefits for motorists, the environment and the economy.

It has seen drivers' ability to predict their weekday journey times improved by 27%, fuel consumption reduced by 4% and vehicle emissions down by up to 10%. The personal injury accident rate also fell from an average 5.1 per month to 1.8 per month.

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