Britain’s Traffic Lights Could be Switched off to Reduce Congestion
Originally posted on the Telegraph
Traffic lights, could be switched off to reduce the level of congestion on Britain’s roads under plans being considered by ministers.
Andrew Jones, the Road Safety minister, suggested he has noticed that traffic “flows more freely” when traffic lights are not working in his constituency.
He said he will consider calls for a pilot on the idea after Philip Hollobone, a Conservative MP, said that the move could relieve congestion.
Mr Hollobone said in the Commons: “One of the problems for local bus passengers is congestion and delays, and people in Kettering always say that when the traffic lights stop working, the traffic flows much better.
“So given that you are responsible for local roads, will you consider undertaking a pilot where we could switch traffic lights off and get traffic and buses flowing more freely?”
Mr Jones replied: “I am aware, because I hear it quite regularly in my own area as well, that traffic is said to flow more freely when traffic lights don’t work.
“I have major reservations on this argument, I have to say. But at the same time, we are seeing traffic initiatives to keep traffic flowing.
“I will have a look at what you say but I think we should be very cautious about removing traffic lights because they’re a key ingredient in road safety.”
It comes as markings are being erased from busy roads across the country in an attempt to slow motorists down.
Highways chiefs have claimed that the move introduces a sense of uncertainty that convinces motorists to drive more cautiously.
Research has shown that removing the central white line, a feature of British roads for almost 100 years, can cut the average speed of vehicles by 13 per cent.
Central markings on three A roads in London were erased during resurfacing recently and have not been replaced. Transport for London, which manages major roads across the capital, said that the system used on parts of the A22 and A23 in south London and the A100 in central London may now be expanded to other roads.