The hard shoulders on each new smart motorway will be converted into permanent extra lanes and new emergency areas will be created for drivers to use if they break down. New CCTV cameras will also provide 100% coverage of the routes.One of the most important signals on a smart motorway – the red X – is used to identify when a lane is closed and indicates that drivers should move into an open lane to continue their journeys.Driving in a closed lane is dangerous, as there could be debris in the road or an accident or breakdown up ahead. Keeping the lane clear gives the emergency services the access they need to help.More details about how to drive on a smart motorway are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway.General enquiriesMembers of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.Media enquiriesJournalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer. Commuters could speed up their journeys by up to 10 miles per hour by starting and finishing work just one hour later, according to new research.The study by Highways England was carried out on a 9-mile-stretch of the M62 which links the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Manchester. The route is used by 120,000 drivers every day and construction work is currently taking place to upgrade it to a smart motorway, increasing its capacity by a third.Commuters had previously faced speeds of just 36 miles per hour between 5pm and 6pm when almost 9,000 drivers take to the short section of motorway on their way home from work.The study has found that drivers who set off for work after 9am are likely to get there much more quickly than those travelling during the two hours after 7am.Drivers using this stretch of the M62 who wait until 6pm before leaving the office are also likely to travel 10 miles per hour faster than those leaving at 5pm, or 20 miles per hour faster if they wait until 7pm – cutting journey times by around a third.Overall, the research found that commuters travelling 20 miles each way and working the traditional 9am to 5pm day could be spending almost an hour extra on the road every week, compared to those working from 10am to 6pm.Mike Bull, Highways England’s smart motorways programme manager for the North, said: We all know that our roads are at their busiest during the morning and evening commute but it’s surprising that shifting our working days by just one hour could have such a significant impact on journey times. Many people won’t have a choice about the hours they work but if some are able to start and finish work an hour later then it could benefit everyone – and save some drivers around an hour each week. We’re also doing our bit to improve journey times for drivers at Highways England by converting some of our busiest stretches of motorway into smart motorways, adding extra lanes and using technology to prevent tailbacks caused by sudden braking.
I’m stumped · Senior Katie Stump recently released an EP. – Photo courtesy of Katie StumpSenior popular music major Katie Stump was waiting in a Nashville terminal for her late flight to Los Angeles when she befriended a girl with a guitar. At the time, she had no idea that the friendship would change her life.“I saw she had a guitar, [so] I went up to her, and I just started a conversation because I figured somebody on a plane from Nashville to L.A. with a guitar [was probably] somebody I would get along with,” Stump said.The girl, Stump would soon find out, was 15-year-old Sophie Rose, a singer/songwriter who had recently signed with famous producer Dr. Luke, who has worked with artists such as Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne and P!nk.Several months later, in December 2014, Stump attended Rose’s birthday party where she had the opportunity to meet several big names in the industry; among these was Grammy-winning producer Mikal Blue, who, along with working on Rose’s EP, has worked with artists such as Colbie Caillat, OneRepublic and Jason Mraz. Blue heard Stump play one of her original songs, “Treasure Map,” at the party, and asked for her contact information.“[Blue] and I started talking, and I sent him more of my songs, and he was just really impressed with what I did,” Stump said. “He said he wanted to produce a record for me, and I was like, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”It was then that they started work on Stump’s newest EP, Feels Like Home.Stump had been writing songs for the record since March 2014. The following January she and Blue began pre-production, and that March they began recording.“[Blue] pushed me to have a lot of production ideas and tell him what I wanted,” Stump said. “I feel like I gained a lot of confidence in that area of my music.”One such instance occurred when she asked Blue if he had any ideas for the percussion in one of her songs.“He was like, ‘Oh, I have the perfect instrument,’ and he [brought] it out and [told me to] play it,’” she said. “I was like, ‘I’m not a drummer, I don’t play.’ [But,] I tried it and I just fell in love with that thing. I never would have thought to put myself in that position.”In addition to learning more about production, Stump, who had previously considered herself a folk/pop artist, said she found herself opening up to different styles of music.“[My trip] to Nashville last summer really influenced my writing,” she said. “There was a lot of inspiration everywhere, and I wrote two of the songs that are on my EP during that trip.”One of these songs, “Sweeter,” showcases this inspiration.“I never really branded myself before as a country artist,” Stump said. “I still really don’t, but [“Sweeter”] just has that [country] sense, and that’s going to change things for me.”Stump’s EP contains five songs: “Treasure Map,” “Stutter,” “Sweeter,” “It’s Alright” and “Minnesota.”“Treasure Map,” the first single of the album, was co-written with Jason Afable in Nashville in 2014. Stump was inspired to write it after having traveled extensively that summer.“Every time I got on a plane, I would look out the window and just try to imagine my life in that city,” she said. “[But] every time I left, I would think, ‘You know, I don’t know if this is it.’ [What I realized] was that I was really more drawn to the people that I have in my life [rather] than where I geographically am.”Stump entered the writing session with Afable with this feeling of traveling and never feeling settled. What was special about this instance, she said, was that she began the writing process with no concrete ideas.“I was [explaining my feelings] and Jason was looking through his notebook, and he was like, ‘Well, I’ve had this title in my notebook forever, and I don’t know what to do with it. It’s called “Treasure Map,” and that sounds like the perfect fit for what you’re going through,’” Stump said.Having agreed on the title, the two artists finished the song within a few hours.“Treasure Map,” along with the rest of the songs on the EP, is special because it accurately represents Stump as both an artist and a person, she said.“I [think] there [is] a lot more truth in this record than there has been in the past,” Stump said. “A lot of it came really directly from my heart, which is something I was not necessarily the best at in my last album.”Stump’s efforts to channel herself into her work paid off: She and her EP, which was initially released on Sept. 18, were recently featured on KCAL 9 and E! News.“[The interview] at KCAL was just very eye-opening,” she said. “It was different from anything I’ve ever done. I’m just very, very lucky and very thankful.”Stump plans to promote her EP to USC students at Tommy’s Place on Thursday, Oct. 15. She will be performing with artists Drew Tabor and Trousdale.
London, UK | XINHUA | Fans could return to stadiums in England in October if pilot events go well, announced the British government on Friday.All mass gatherings have been suspended here since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic before snooker, football, cricket and a few elite sport events resumed in June behind closed doors.“From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, but emphasized that these changes must be done in a COVID-19 secure way and subject to the successful outcome of pilot events.A small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August. They are expected to include two men’s county cricket friendly matches, the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from July 31 and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival on August 1.“There are also likely to be further pilot events for other sports, in order to build up to and prepare for the full, socially distanced return of sporting events from 1 October 2020,” read a statement released by the British Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). “For months millions of us have felt the void of being unable to go to the match to support our team or attend a top-class sporting event. So I am pleased that we are now able to move forward with a plan to help venues safely reopen their doors to fans,” said Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.“Although it will remain some time before venues are full to capacity, this is a major step in the right direction for the resumption of live spectator sport across the country.”Earlier this month, the British government has allowed some sporting events to exempt from quarantine in England, giving the green light for the return of F1, snooker, golf and international football competitions.******XINHUAShare on: WhatsApp