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A traffic management scheme, which allows motorists to use the hard shoulder during peak periods, is to be extended across the country, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced.
Following the success of a motorway congestion trial on the M42 around Birmingham, a feasibility study will be carried out to consider if similar schemes around the country could be implemented to help ease the traffic.
The M42 trial - which saw improvements for motorists, the environment and the economy - allowed drivers to use the hard shoulder in peak periods, and saw average journey times fall by more than a quarter on the northbound carriageway.
As well as the feasibility study, new ways of managing motorway traffic will be implemented as part of a £150 million scheme on the motorways around Birmingham, taking in parts of the M6, M42 and M40.
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Ms Kelly said: "The M42 trial shows that using innovative thinking to help drivers beat motorway jams really works.
"New traffic management techniques, like hard-shoulder running and varying speed limits, offer practical and cost-effective solutions to cutting congestion, and I now want to explore whether other motorways could benefit from similarly creative measures.
"Other important benefits are less disruption from roadworks, reduced environmental impact, better information for drivers, and a faster, more effective response to accidents."
The trial saw weekday journey times improved by 27%, and overall fuel consumption reduced by 4%. Vehicle emissions fell by up to 10%.
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