Smarter Motorways uses integrated intelligent transport system technologies to quickly respond to changes in traffic and weather conditions, by providing immediate instructions to motorway drivers. These can include instructions to change speed, change lane, or watch out for an accident ahead. This in turn reduces congestion and keeps traffic flowing.
Learn more about the technologies below, or read more background information.
Variable speed limits
The speed limit on a motorway may be reduced when road conditions change, such as during bad weather, or because of an accident or congestion. A speed reduction will help keep traffic flowing and minimise stop-start driving.
Driver instruction: A flashing red circle indicates the speed limit has changed. Drivers should smoothly adjust to the new speed limit
To learn more, watch the 'Bad Weather' video.
Flexible lane control
A lane may be closed due to roadworks or an accident ahead. This can provide quicker access for emergency vehicles and increase safety.
Driver instruction: A flashing red cross warns drivers to leave the lane as soon as it is safe to do so. When the red cross stops flashing, the lane is closed (except to emergency vehicles). A white exit arrow indicates that drivers should exit if they are in that lane.
To learn more, watch the 'The Accident' video.
Electronic message signs
These provide warnings, alerts or information about changing road conditions. They may also provide real-time advice about expected travel times.
Driver instruction: Look out for useful alerts and information
Traffic lights at motorway on-ramps
Red/green signal lights on motorway on-ramps are being upgraded to red/amber/green lights for safer merging.
Driver instruction: At the green light, proceed along the on-ramp and safely merge onto the motorway.