‘Innovative’ junction provides blueprint for future

12.00 | 26 August 2015 | | 6 comments

TfL has unveiled what it says is “Britain’s first junction designed to avoid cyclists being hit by left-turning traffic”, and describes it as “the beginning of a new wave of such junctions on London’s busiest roads”.

At the new junction, on the upgraded Cycle Superhighway 2 at Whitechapel Road and Cambridge Heath Road, cyclists and turning motor traffic will move in separate phases, with left-turning vehicles held back to allow cyclists to move without risk, and cyclists held when vehicles are turning left.

There will also be a new ‘two-stage right turn’ to let cyclists make right turns in safety. For straight-ahead traffic, early-release traffic lights will give cyclists a head start.

TfL says around 85% of cyclist accidents happen at junctions, mostly involving turning traffic, and as such the new junction is designed to significantly cut the cyclist casualty rate.

The new junction will be the template for junctions to be introduced across London’s main road network in future.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said: “The innovations we’re using at Cambridge Heath are a fantastic taster of the raft of improvements that are coming down the track, ensuring that people can cycle safely and more confidently in our city.”

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “London is leading the way in bringing safe cycling infrastructure to our streets.

“This innovative junction, conceived and designed by our in-house team of designers and engineers, is a key part of the mayor’s wider cycling vision.”

Videos showing how the new innovative measures at junctions work can be found by visiting www.tfl.gov.uk/cycling and clicking on "Transforming Cycling in London".




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    The extra stages in the light sequences will inevitably lead to vehicles being stationary for longer, leading to even more congestion. Whether this is justified by reductions in accident rates will therefore be important, but with so few such junctions the data will not be statistically significant for many years.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    I’m always pleased to see creative thinking being applied to managing safety, and I look forward to some evaluation of the performance of these new junctions. I would have to note that a key conflict (cyclist going ahead vs vehicle turning left) seems most prevalent where they share the same lane approaching the junction. Provide separate general traffic lanes for left and straight on, and advanced stop lines (ASL), as is shown in this and the other example on the TFL website and I would have thought you would already have done much to resolve this conflict.

    The example shown in this video above does not appear completely to separate by signal phases cyclists going ahead and motorists turning left, and I would be concerned that cyclists going ahead following the ASL feeder lane approaching a green signal would still run the risk of collision with left-turning vehicles. There is another video on the TFL website showing a separate lane and phase for cyclists which overcomes this issue presumably at the expense of junction capacity. And naturally the ball game is more complex where acommodating a two way cycle lane is necessary.

    Personally I avoid multi-phase signals where possible when cycling, not because of safety concerns but because they inevitably result in long stationary periods and I would simply rather be cycling even if I have to take a longer route than sitting still.

    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    A flaw? Well, the advance light change will make some cyclists race to turn right across oncoming (other cycles), and some motorists will see a green light out of the corner of their eye and start off. I almost did this in France where a green pedestrian light showed close to my right hand drive window.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
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    Anybody spotted the serious flaw in this junction’s design?

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    So are we just doing what Paris has introduced at a number of junctions but at greater expense and time?

    Liz, London
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    Cyclists have been doing what the video shows for years, ie preferring to cross junctions when the other traffic isn’t. What these new traffic lights seem to be attempting to do is take the illegal actions of cyclists and make them legal.

    This, in principal, is a good idea. Design the environment to suit the natural actions of the people. Any chance the same concept might be employed for other road users?

    Will the system impede the flow of other users? How will the effect on collision rates be measured?

    Dave Finney, Slough
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