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Traffic lights, do we need them?

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According to the Institute of Economic Affairs removing 80% of traffic lights in the UK could generate £16bn.

The IEA states that due to traffic lights causing an average delay of around two minutes to every car journey £16 billion is lost as slow journeys are increasing the cost of trade and reducing the innovation and productivity of employees.

The study reveals that since 2000 the amount of traffic lights on Britain’s roads have increased by 25% causing a 5% rise in vehicle traffic on the roads.

The case is based on previous trials carried out in Holland and Germany where 80% of traffic lights having been scrapped is said to have been a successful. There are also reports of traffic light failures in Portishead, Somerset where instead of increasing traffic jams it actually had the opposite effect and jams diminished.

Richard Wellings, Head of Transport at the IEA said, “It’s quite clear that traffic management has spread far beyond the locations where it might be justified, to the detriment of the economy, environment and road safety.”