Traffic light numbers up by almost a third

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Car Rental News - 28/02/2011


The number of traffic lights in Britain has risen 30 per cent in eight years.

Traffic lights, often blamed by motorists for a variety of traffic problems including time-wasting jams, are more prevalent than ever, says a new study.

A study by the RAC Foundation shows a dramatic increase in the number of traffic lights in recent years. The respected organisation, which represents motorists, found the number of traffic lights rose by roughly 30 per cent from 2000 to 2008.

In London, the number of traffic lights is up by 23 per cent, to at least 6,000. The report is likely to further upset the country’s motorists, who already feel heavily pressured by the government’s war on drivers.

The study was authored by Irvin Yass, who used to head transport and planning in Whitehall. In his report, Yass finds plenty of cause for a serious review of traffic light strategy in the UK.

The number of traffic lights with the ability to give buses priority rose from 3,801 to 8,425 between the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2009. In London, the number of junctions with a full pedestrian stage, under which all vehicle traffic lights are on red, almost double between 2000 and 2010. From an initial number of 481, the number of such junctions rose to 783.

The RAC Foundation’s report is calling for an examination of such junctions. Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC, said traffic lights had the potential to make journeys easier or create increased frustration, depending on when and where a motorist was.

Glaister added that traffic lights clearly have an important role but they need to be optimised very carefully to make sure they are not just making heavily congested traffic even worse.

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