Fleet News

M1 high-occupancy lane abandoned

The Government has abandoned plans to introduce a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on the M1, which would be reserved for cars that had more than one occupant.

The news comes just days after the minister for transport, Ruth Kelly, opened a similar lane on the M606 and M62.

The HOV on the M1 was supposed to have been in operation between junctions seven and 10 between St Albans and Luton.

However, the plans were announced by the Government before investigations into its viability were completed.

Now it has been found that the HOV lane could not be located in the inside lane, because that would create problems for non-HOV traffic leaving or joining the motorway.

The Department for Transport (DfT) then looked at whether the HOV lane could be located in the outside lane.

However, further work has suggested that this could lead to an increase in accidents, due to an increased risk of vehicles undertaking.

In addition, in its report - Advanced motorway signalling and traffic management feasibility study – the DfT said: “There is currently no viable camera that allows for remote or automated enforcement of vehicle occupancy, so enforcement relies on police presence.

“Location of the HOV in the outside lane would make enforcement more difficult, because of the speed of the traffic, and the absence of refuge areas or suitable locations for pulling vehicles over.

“Police pulling over non-compliant vehicles could also introduce additional safety risks.

“For these reasons we do not consider that the proposal developed for the M1 is the right solution for this location, and that there are likely to be limited opportunities for successful outside lane HOV lanes, at least until camera technology can be developed to support compliance.”

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