Councils should remove 80 per cent of traffic lights, report advises

A report conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs has argued that removing 80 per cent of traffic lights would improve road safety and boost the economy.

The research specified that every two-minute delay to a car journey equates to a loss of approximately £16 billion per year. It examined case studies from across the world and concluded that 80 per cent of Britain’s traffic lights could be removed and replaced with a shared spaces approach.

The report argued that when regulations are removed, drivers are more likely to behave with more consideration to other road users. It cited the town of Ashford, which had seen a 41 per cent reduction in road accidents since the introduction of shared spaces, while Poynton had its accident rate fall by 70 per cent after it scrapped traffic lights, railing, signage and bollards.

Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, 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.

“The evidence of shared space schemes shows the transformational benefits of less regulated approach, whilst the removal of a high proportion of traffic lights would deliver substantial economic and social benefits."