No more smart motorways will be built for now amid safety concerns but current sections will not be returned to hard shoulders.
Using the hard shoulder as a permanent live traffic lane increases capacity, but critics say it’s unsafe and has led to deaths.
Five years of safety and economic data for the schemes will be collected from the motorways built before 2020.
MPs said in November there was not enough safety and economic data to justify creating smart motorways which dispense with the traditional hard shoulder and instead have “refuge” areas intended to accommodate vehicle if they can reach them and which should be protected by overhead gantries warning of danger ahead.
Critics say the schemes can leave cars stranded in fast-moving traffic if they cannot reach a refuge.
Highways England says there are roughly 400 miles of smart motorway – roads which use technology to maintain the flow of traffic and give information on overhead displays – already in action and about 200 of these lack a permanent hard shoulder, while 63 miles use it as a live running lane some of the time.
The decision means that another 100 miles of all-lane running currently in construction can still be completed, while 57 miles are paused.
GoCompare insurance has surveyed customers on smart motorways and said, “Lots of motorists don’t feel confident driving on smart motorways at all. Almost a third (31%) of respondents said they would not drive on a smart motorway and half (50%) do not like the idea of their family and friends driving on them.
“Some young drivers are actively avoiding smart motorways, with 38% of 18-24-year-olds telling GoCompare they have planned a route specifically to exclude them. But it isn’t just the newer generation of motorists who are concerned about driving on smart motorways, as 40% of those aged 65 and over also said that they would not drive on one.”