SP1879 : Active Traffic Management on the M42

taken 5 years ago, near to Eastcote, Solihull, Great Britain

Active Traffic Management on the M42
Active Traffic Management on the M42
Active Traffic Management (ATM) schemes are intended to reduce congestion and make journey times more reliable. In areas where an ATM is in force, the hard shoulder may be used as a running lane to ease congestion at peak times or in the event of an incident. Mandatory variable speed limits are shown on signals above the carriageway. Sometimes it may appear that traffic could travel faster for a short distance, but this results in stop-start conditions as it meets congestion ahead. Keeping traffic flowing at a constant speed may improve the overall journey time.

The 17km stretch of the M42 between junctions 3a and 7 has extremely variable traffic flows, as it functions as part of a cross-country north-east to south-west route (28% of the M42ís traffic leaves at junction 7 to join the M6); an orbital route for Birmingham and an access road to Birmingham Airport, the NEC, and business parks and residential areas. It handles over 120,000 vehicles per day. The ATM system allows operators to open and close any lane on the motorway to traffic in order to help manage congestion at busy times of the day or traffic build-up due to an incident. The system includes using the hard shoulder as a running lane between junctions under controlled conditions.

As well as the mandatory variable speed limit signs, gantries at 500m intervals above the motorway carry large, lane-specific electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS), Advanced Motorway Indicator (AMI) signals and Advanced Motorway Signs (AMS). These relay information to motorists to open and close lanes and control speeds to prevent flow breakdown.

The gantries are also equipped with cameras for monitoring congestion and incidents, fixed CCTV cameras for observation, automatic number plate recognition cameras to track vehicles and digital enforcement cameras for speed limit policing.

LinkExternal link M42 Active Traffic Management Scheme
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SP1879, 29 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 15 July, 2013   (more nearby)
Saturday, 19 October, 2013
Geographical Context
Suburb, Urban fringe  Roads, Road transport 
Motorway (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 18244 79059 [1m precision]
WGS84: 52:24.5540N 1:43.9938W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 1830 7912
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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