Further calls to switch off traffic lights | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Further calls to switch off traffic lights

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Traffic lights should be switched off and parking restrictions eased because the “anti-car” attitude of many councils is clogging up the roads, according to a parliamentary report.

The Telegraph is reporting that a study by the British Infrastructure Group of MPs and peers, is warning that motorists stuck in traffic jams are losing money on wasted fuel because “poorly designed junctions contribute to congestion.”

And it says drivers are suffering from an “explosion” in the number of controlled junctions, with one set of traffic lights every six miles.

Another growing cause for concern, especially in towns and cities, is the proliferation of parking restrictions, it found.

An “anti-car” attitude is taking hold in town and city councils, which are charging residents to buy permits so they can park outside their own homes, the report warned.

The study, backed by the AA and RAC called for a ban on new road controls being installed, and urged councils to switch off traffic lights to ease congestion.

The research was led by the former Cabinet minister, Grant Shapps, and surveyed 85% of local authorities, which are responsible for 93% of the country’s road network and found that across the UK’s roads, there is one “controlled junction” or crossing every 5.7 miles, up 66% since 2000.

The Telegraph quotes Shapps as saying, “removing many of these controls, particularly traffic lights, would go a long way to making road travel more efficient and better for the economy, and saving individual motorists money.”

This follows comments by Roads Minister Andrew Jones in March who said “traffic flows more freely” when lights aren’t working.  This view was challenged by Smart Highways columnist and signals expert Mark Pleydell who urged a considered approach saying, “before leaping into trials to remove lights, first find out how the traffic is flowing, get the safety data, seek public opinion, confirm that the equipment is working as intended, then by all means remove the lights.  But afterwards get the same information, and find out afterwards how things changed.  Five minutes of casual observation by an MP do not constitute rigorous insight.”


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