Traffic light system will ‘destabilise’ speeders

11.19 | 23 May 2011 | | 5 comments

Swindon Borough Council is believed to be the first authority in the UK to install a new system designed to stop speeding drivers at traffic lights, according to a BBC News report.

The system, in which cars going over the speed limit trigger the lights ahead, will initially be piloted on two roads with a history of speeding. The Association of British Drivers (ABD) has welcomed the initiative.

Gwillam Lloyd, the council’s head of highways, said: "We are going to install sensors in the road which will monitor the speed of vehicles. If a vehicle is speeding then the lights will turn red." He added that drivers will be given no warning of where the sensors are located and there will be no signs to tell the driver why the lights have turned red.

Councillor Peter Greenhalgh, cabinet member for transport, said: "We’ve seen it working elsewhere in Europe and it destabilises the driver. Frequently you see drivers just concentrating on themselves rather than what’s happening in front of them. It takes those drivers out of that comfort zone and makes them concentrate on what’s actually happening ahead.

“The key is to monitor driver behaviour without beating them over the head. It may annoy them, but I think eventually people will work out that if they maintain a constant speed at or around the speed limit then actually their journey times will be much shorter because they won’t be getting delayed by traffic lights."

Nigel Humphries, ABD spokesman, said: “Swindon was the first authority to switch off its speed cameras, resulting in no increase in casualties. Now they are the first in the UK to trial speed reactive traffic lights which turn red if the approaching vehicle is exceeding a preset speed.

“The ABD have been calling for these, already widely used in Spain and Germany, to be trialled here for many years. Provided these are only used where excess speed is causing a danger and the speed limit is correctly set then we welcome this move."

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    One would assume that this is meant to be aimed at reducing inappropriate speed (and hence risk of accidents). But if road users are not told this (by whatever means) there is surely little chance of modifying the inappropriate behaviour? Will people really twig that the light went red because of THEM. It’s good that evaluation is planned, so let’s await the results.

    Peter Whitfield, Manchester
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    So the lights turn red, so the driver accelerates to get through. Result: T-bone crash into an innocent driver on a green signal, and death to those innocent occupants.

    Keith, York
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    David, Edinburgh – I agree. The actions of one driver could in effect cause all those around him to be unfairly delayed (punished)!

    Proper enforcement is obviously required if a speeding motorist can be identified, then they must have the law applied to them.

    The punishment for speeding last time I checked wasn’t “a slight delay” it’s points + fine!

    Adam, Hants
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    Are these going to have red light cameras on?

    Dave, Leeds
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    So everyone on that road will be delayed by the speeding driver. Super.

    David, Edinburgh
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