Government could consider smart motorway U-turn after report

Grant Schapps could reverse smart motorway move – although it seems it's the economic impact that might have prompted it

Government could consider smart motorway U-turn after report

THE transport secretary Grant Schapps is reported to be taking stock of the UK’s smart motorway network in light of a report brought by a national UK newspaper.

The report, compiled by the Mail, raises questions specifically around All Lane Running (ALR) roads. After reading it, Mr Schapps is reported to have claimed he is not totally against ceasing further construction of the roads.

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The Mail does though note that any move to halt construction wouldn’t be taken until next year, something that will no doubt anger protest groups and campaigners, most of whom are calling for a complete and total stop to further construction.

Furthermore, it seems that the most pressing matter within the report that is causing Mr Schapps to have a rethink is not road user safety, it is in fact the economic impact of building more roads. This flies in the face of a Commons transport committee report calling for an emergency overhaul of ALR roads.

Smart motorway economics based on ‘biased’ economic modelling

It is also reported that a former senior transport official claimed that the roads had not improved journey times and that quite the opposite, they could be hurting the economy.

With £6 billion poured into the smart motorway project since its inception, you’d expect the government’s maths and economic foresight to be sound. Quite the opposite has happened though it seems. DfT scientist, David Metz has been quoted as saying that ‘biased’ economic modelling was used and that much of the motorway network will have a negative benefit economically.

“If better economic modelling and analysis had been done, we wouldn’t have been investing so much money in these roads … So to a degree, this money has been wasted.” He went on to say, “Consultants like to please their clients so there’s a bias to provide the kind of outcomes expected.”