Off-peak traffic light switch-off proposed
PROPOSALS to switch off traffic lights outside rush hour periods to ease congestion are to be considered by a transport minister.
By Richard Wheeler, Press Association Political Staff | Press Association – Fri, Dec 5, 2014 10:05 GMT
Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight urged the Government to follow the lead of other countries and turn off certain signals to prevent thousands of motorists being stuck in traffic jams for “no reason whatsoever”.
John Hayes, whose ministerial brief includes national roads, told MPs he will look into the matter despite the Government having no current plans to implement Sir Greg’s idea.
Questioned about the coalition’s steps to ease road congestion, Tory front-bencher Mr Hayes reiterated a £15 billion package had been announced that includes 15 schemes in Yorkshire and the North East.
But Sir Greg, a former shadow transport minister, pressed Mr Hayes to take more steps towards securing his reputation as a “radical politician” by dealing with avoidable congestion.
The MP asked the minister: “Are you aware that thousands of motorists travelling at non-rush hour times often find themselves stuck in a traffic jam at traffic lights for no reason whatsoever?
“Why can’t some of these traffic lights be turned off as indeed they do in other countries?”
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said part-time traffic signals have proved successful in tackling congestion in some parts of the UK, adding: “Motorists would certainly welcome any measures to reduce needless traffic jams further.
“The cost of congestion to the economy runs into the billions so it is a positive move for the minister to consider a different way of tackling congestion.”
He added the measures would have to be considered on a site-by-site basis and must take into account the safety of other road users.
AA president Edmund King said: “Switching off lights outside peak periods can help to reduce congestion, fuel consumption and indeed road rage.
“The junctions must be well signed and they generally should not be switched off in busy pedestrian areas.”
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