[holding answer 9 November 2009]: The Highways Agency has had discussions with a number of potential suppliers (both UK- and overseas-based) regarding a technical solution for monitoring the hard shoulder prior to opening.
A worldwide search of available systems for hard shoulder monitoring has been conducted which included discussions with potential suppliers. There is only one operational UK-based system available and that is currently being used on the M42 Active Traffic Management Pilot.
The Highways Agency intends to review the performance of available commercial off the shelf hard shoulder monitoring technologies in order to produce a functional specification. This specification can then be used to competitively tender for an end to end solution for monitoring the hard shoulder, for both future managed motorway schemes involving use of the hard shoulder as a running lane and the technology refresh of existing schemes.
The only known case in the Department for Transport is that the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency has a PFI contract with Siemens since April 2005 which includes an exclusivity agreement for the provision of hardware (but not software) to MOT Testing Stations. There have been no breaches associated with it. All other agencies have no such agreements.
No central record is kept for the Department for Transport (Central) and this information can therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, it is felt that the number and scope of such agreements will be very small, if any.