Innovation in Managed Motorway Schemes

Mike Hinds
Faithful+Gould has been integrally involved in the trailblazing managed motorway schemes, where state-of-the-art technology is being used to cut congestion on some of the busiest sections of England’s motorways.

First of its kind

Managed motorways are designed to cut congestion by controlling traffic flows and providing additional capacity by opening the hard shoulder as a running lane. They deliver similar congestion benefits to conventional widening, with the added benefit of reducing demands on funding and resources. They can be designed and constructed in a much shorter time period, support economic growth by alleviating congestion on some of the busiest sections of motorway and make journey times more reliable. This is done using variable mandatory speed limits (VMSL) to control traffic speed and improve traffic flows, overhead signs displaying information such as “stay in lane” and using the hard shoulder as a running lane to give more capacity.

The managed motorway concept was initially implemented as a pilot in 2006 on the M42 in Birmingham.

The M62 managed motorway scheme will be the first in the North of England. The managed motorway concept was initially implemented as a pilot (then called “Active Traffic Management”) in 2006 on the M42 in Birmingham. The success of the pilot resulted in the concept being rolled-out across the country.

We are involved in the managed motorway scheme for the M62 between junctions 25 and 30 in West Yorkshire. The M62 design has pushed the original M42 pilot even further by introducing a range of measures to control traffic and create additional capacity. The scheme has sections of traditional dynamic hard shoulder running (VMSL and hard shoulder opened to traffic at busy times) but, unlike the M42, it also has sections of controlled all lane running (VMSL and hard shoulder converted to traffic lane) and controlled motorway (VMSL only). This allowed the tailoring of specific managed motorway control mechanisms to meet the local demands of each section of the scheme.   

Extremely Challenging

With the M62 being on one of the busiest stretches of roads in the country, this ‘first of its kind’ project in the region is extremely challenging, with safety and communication as top priorities. From the start we have chosen an integrated team approach on site with the clients, contractors and consultants all sitting together in small groups of similar work disciplines. This is a common approach on all managed motorway schemes as it promotes engagement and proactive dialogue and prevents silo management techniques from forming.

From the start we have chosen an integrated team approach on site with the clients, contractors and consultants...

Under a managed motorway contract, the contractor is incentivised to manage the performance of others directly employed by the Highways Agency through a contractual bonus share. This is paid if the contractor delivers the scheme below the total scheme budget and not just lower than their works costs.

Reporting

It is a vital requirement to have a rigid reporting process in place. As commercial assurance managers on these projects, we are the focal point for many of the reporting forms on the scheme, so our approach to the process has efficiently improved the delivery of the forms from initially taking weeks to now being completed in days. The time saved in this process has allowed the team to focus on change control and other key areas of commercial assurance.

Due to the success of our tailored approach, it has already been fed to other managed motorway schemes currently coming on line and we hope to roll this out to any others that would benefit from our experience to date.

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