‘Smart motorways’ (also referred to as managed motorways) is the term used to describe motorways that have information, communications and control systems incorporated in and alongside the road. These technology-based systems are deployed to actively manage traffic flows and improve road capacity and safety, as well as deliver other important outcomes for road users such as better travel reliability and real-time traveller information.
Smart motorways comprise an integrated package of intelligent transport systems (ITS) interventions. This includes coordinated ramp signalling, speed and lane use management, traveller information (using variable message signs) and network intelligence (such as from vehicle detection equipment).
Austroads' Guide to Smart Motorways provides practitioners with a standardised set of smart motorway information within a single reference document to support the delivery of safe and efficient smart motorways. It primarily comprises guidance on the selection, design and layout of ITS elements within a smart motorway project.
The Guide to Smart Motorways promotes operations-led design, recognising that effective operations are critical to achieving successful outcomes and that operational needs must be considered right from the start of the project.
The Guide describes the benefits of investing in smart motorways and provides an overview of the core smart motorway elements. It then provides detailed information relating to:
- the general process and principles for smart motorway planning and design
- principles of motorway traffic flow and analysis to inform problem identification and options assessment
- warrants for selection of appropriate smart motorway elements and operational strategies for application to a specific section of route
- foundation systems that support smart motorway operations, such as power and communications infrastructure
- ITS layout design and high-level functional requirements (i.e. the design of the traffic management interface with road users)
- provision of an emergency lane and associated operational strategies to manage safety where there is no emergency lane on a full- or part-time basis
- management of the arterial road-motorway interface.