Following a successful trial on the M42, hard shoulder running will be implemented as part of a £150m scheme on the motorway box around Birmingham.
A feasibility study will also be undertaken to consider if similar schemes could help beat congestion on other parts of the motorway network.
Transport secretary Ruth Kelly said: "New traffic management techniques like hard shoulder running and varying speed limits offer practical and cost-effective solutions and I want to explore whether other motorways could benefit from similar measures.”
The DfT says the first six months of the M42 trial saw significant benefits for motorists, the environment and the economy. It also says drivers did not feel road safety was compromised - 84% said they felt confident using the hard shoulder. And since the introduction of hard shoulder running the personal injury accident rate has fallen from 5.2 per month to 1.5 per month on this section of the M42.
RoSPA said it had reservations about the changes when they were first introduced. Kevin Clinton said: "We were concerned that if there was a major crash it may take the emergency services longer to get there. Or when someone breaks down, they may not be able to get their vehicle out of the running lane."