IHE salutes “timely publication” on traffic signals

12.00 | 15 October 2012 | | 3 comments

The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) has welcomed the publication of a Department for Transport (DfT) research report on switching off traffic signals during “low demand periods”.

The DfT commissioned the desktop study to investigate options for signal controlled installations that could reduce unnecessary delays to traffic; reduce the energy consumption of signal installations; and maintain or enhance levels of safety, especially for vulnerable road users.

Richard Hayes, president of the IHE, welcomed the report ‘Operation of Traffic Signals during Low Demand Periods’, which was published earlier this month.

He said: “We have a strong contingent of traffic signal engineers amongst our membership and a very active traffic signals group who have been debating the issues around switching traffic signals off for many years.

Norman Baker, parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, said: “What we are not doing is imposing on Local Authorities a blanket solution. What we are trying to do is provide some options and helpful guidance, put more paint on the pallet, if you like, for Local Authorities to play with in terms of what they think is right for their area.

“In terms of switching lights off, it may well be the case that lights can be switched off during light periods; that is for Local Authorities in their individual roles to assess.”

Mr Hayes added: “Norman’s contribution to the symposium was very welcome and we take heart from what is obviously a constructive contribution to this on-going debate. Our and other signal engineers will study the research in depth and we thank the Department for its timely publication.”

Click here to view the DfT report.


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    Idris, hardly anyone in the scientific community now doubts that climate change is being caused by the increase in atmospheric levels of CO2 and that this is being caused by human activity. Overall there has been a noticable rise in global average temperature exceeding any solar effects – causing shifts in weather patterns, which happen to be to our current detiment.

    Mark Caerphilly
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    The report reminds me of the old TV Times advert “I never knew there was so much in it”! How can what seems to be essentially a simple subject become so complex?

    Only one comment pending reading the report properly – how much longer can Carbon (Dioxide) reduction objectives be allowed to continue skewing not only vehicle road taxes but policies in all sorts of areas, as our the world continues to cool and man-made global warming is increasingly exposed as one of the biggest and worst con-tricks of all time? And as millions more fall into energy poverty as a result.

    Idris Francis Petersfield
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    Another Causation Factor for STATS 19 then, “Traffic Signals Switched off”! The only benefit seems to be the reduction in energy consumption. Traffic signals already respond to demand anyway, so ‘unneccesary delays’ during ‘light periods’ seems to be a contradiction.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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