60mph speed reductions likely for motorways

December 30, 2009 | By | In Statistics

New government plans could restrict speeds across huge chunks of Britain's m-ways. 

Drivers could face permanent 60mph limits on up to 250 miles of the UK motorway network. According to government documents, these could be introduced over the next five years – and speed limits could reduce to 50mph and 40mph when traffic is heaviest.

The plans will use new technology including average speed road cameras and sensors buried in the Tarmac. This will regulate speed limits displayed on overhead gantries and will coincide with the use of the hard shoulder as a fourth lane when the road becomes extra busy.

According to a Department for Transport report, the speed reductions will improve traffic flow and cut accidents so that journey planning times become more reliable. The DfT has conducted research on the M42 and has concluded that motorway speeds of between 40mph and 60mph are best for emissions levels. Emissions fall as speeds rise because engines run more efficiently and reach their best level at around 50mph. At higher speeds, they increase.

And, according to Autocar magazine, the Highways Agency will be given a new speed enforcement camera system that’ll pipe information on speeding cars direct to the police.

The plan for motorways controlled in this way will include the whole of the M25, stretches of the M40, M3, M4 and M23 as well as most of the motorways around Birmingham. The M1 into Yorkshire and the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester will also be included, as will be the Manchester ring road and the M6 north of Preston.

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