The use of motorway hard shoulders as an extra lane at peak times is to be extended across the country.
The Department for Transport has identified 500 lane miles around Britains motorways where hard shoulder running could be employed. This follows a trial scheme on the M42 near Birmingham.
The extra capacity may not be available to all, however. Transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, said: There is a compelling argument for car-share or charged lanes, which have been used for some time in the US. In order to get maximum benefit, access to car-share lanes is limited to vehicles carrying passengers, or single drivers willing to pay a toll. I intend to explore the possibility for taking a similar approach here where we are adding new capacity.
It has also been announced that more money will be spent to help local authorities tackle congestion in towns and cities. 200m will be available annually for the next four years. Controversially, some of the money could be used to set up congestion charge schemes.
Ruth Kelly said: The measures Ive outlined today will tackle congestion in our towns, cities and on the motorways in a creative way which will be a win-win for the motorist.
However, Whatcar.com has been in contact with serving traffic police officers who are less convinced. Fearing that vehicles using the hard shoulder would delay the emergency services in the event of a major accident, one said: People will die in a fire because the fire service get stuck, and people will die if an ambulance is stuck.