Traffic: Coalition wants to open hard lanes in traffic jams

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Coalition wants to release hard shoulder in traffic jams

Traffic: Coalition wants to open hard lanes in traffic jams-traffic

If there is a traffic jam on the A9 in Bavaria, drivers use the hard shoulder for a short break. In future they may also be allowed to drive on it.

Source: dpa / dpa Picture-Alliance / Stefan Puchner

Motorway traffic in Germany was jammed in 2008 on a total of 375,000 kilometers. The new coalition now wants to solve this problem: The hard shoulder should be released in the event of a traffic jam. However, some technical retrofitting is required for this. And one congestion researcher even suspects the opposite effect.

Union and FDP want to allow motorists to use the hard shoulder in traffic jams on the freeways. This emerges from the final report of the coalition working group on transport, which is available to the newspaper "Rheinische Post". "It must be possible for the federal states to quickly and unbureaucratically turn the hard shoulder into a lane on designated routes when there is a high volume of traffic," said FDP traffic expert Patrick Doring in this context.

For this purpose, particularly heavily traveled motorway sections nationwide are to be equipped with traffic control systems that temporarily release the hard shoulder with special signage. The hard shoulder may then only be driven on at a low speed.

The plans fit in with the latest announcement by the Federal Ministry of Transport that a total of 1,600 kilometers of heavily used motorways will be equipped with control systems by 2011.

An evaluation of all traffic jam reports in 2008 by the ADAC adds up to a total of 130,000 standstills, most of them in North Rhine-Westphalia (39 percent) and Bavaria (20 percent). The cause was usually too much traffic.

Particularly heavily used motorway sections are traditionally the A 40 / A 44 between the Kaiserberg and Werl motorway junctions, the A 1 between the Erfttal triangle and the Kamener Kreuz, and the A 3 between the Wiesbadener Kreuz and the Furth / Erlangen junction.

The congestion balance in 2009 will be significantly higher due to the abundance of construction work on the motorways.

Accordingly, the ADAC welcomes the black and yellow plan. "This is a very good way of avoiding and shortening traffic jams", said a spokeswoman.

Michael Schreckenberg, traffic jam researcher at the University of Duisburg-Essen, on the other hand, is skeptical: On the one hand, the side lane is narrower than the others. This could lead to accidents, which would then have the opposite effect. In addition, the parking bays for broken-down vehicles would be clogged. "It’s better to build new, regular tracks," he said.

Experiments with the hard shoulder in Bavaria have already shown positive results in the past. During the main travel season, traffic on the hard shoulder of the A7 towards the north between Hamburg and Quickborn and at the level of the Bordesholmer triangle is also open.

In addition, the future coalition wants to "relieve" road traffic by preventing the introduction of the oversized trucks that the transport industry has been wanting for years. "We reject the introduction of the 60-ton truck", it says in the report of the specialist politicians.

However, rejecting new, extremely long trucks will not relieve the traffic that is already on the verge of collapse. At most, it prevents an additional burden.

The leaders of the future coalition still have to decide on the new transport measures.

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