The West Midlands has been given £819,000 for transport improvements as a reward for controlling congestion.
The cash will go to Centro-PTA, the Passenger Transport Authority for road management schemes or public transport projects.
Average journey times per passenger fell by 2.3 per cent over the past two years in the region, the Department for Transport has said.
Ministers announced the funding as they confirmed previous-announced funding of £6 billion across the country to improve the nation’s transport system.
Long-awaited work to increase capacity on the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester was included in yesterday’s announcement, but only as one of a number of schemes being “considered”.
Options include widening the motorway by building extra lanes, or allowing motorists to use the hard shoulder in certain circumstances, a system known as Active Traffic Management.
Hard-shoulder driving at peak times has already been successfully tested on the M42 near Birmingham and the Government did confirm plans to extend it to other parts of the country.
These include the M3 and M4 approaches to London the M4 and M5 around Bristol and the M3 and M27 around Southampton.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said: “Where we add new capacity through measures like this I am also interested to see what role car share or tolled lanes could play in helping traffic flow more smoothly - giving motorists a choice about how they make their journeys.
“The majority of congestion is in our towns and cities, where the answer cannot be building new roads. That is why I will continue to support councils who want to investigate whether radical packages, which include public transport improvements combined with local congestion charging, would be the right solution for them.”
Motorists’ association the AA said it welcomed hard-shoulder running as long as there were adequate safety precautions.
But Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker said the Government was putting too much focus on improving roads.
He said: “This is a carbon catastrophe. Yet more funding is being channelled into increasing road capacity rather than expanding the railways and supporting public transport.”
Conservative shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Ruth Kelly should not fool herself that hard shoulder driving provides all the answers to congestion.
“Hard shoulder running can only be used on certain routes where the safety concerns can be properly mitigated. The Government should not use hard shoulder running as an excuse to break its promises on much-needed improvement schemes to tackle key bottlenecks in our road system.”
See the full list of planned road improvements.