The Alliance of British Drivers

London Region

Removing Traffic Lights
   Road Safety

The following article was published in December 2010 on the possibility of removing traffic lights in London so as to speed traffic flows, reduce pedestrian waiting times, and generally reduce congestion:

Transport for London (TfL) are proposing to scrap a number of traffic lights in London. It is very interesting therefore to see the impact of doing so in Portishead, near Bristol. A video that is well worth looking as it shows the result is here: Traffic flows much more smoothly and congestion is reduced, with no increase in accidents. The video was produced by Martin Cassini who also has a web site with more information at as he seems to be running an active campaign on this issue.

Ealing Success

Another success story is the London Borough of Ealing where traffic lights were covered up in 2009 at two junctions – Gunnersbury Lane/Bollo Lane and Wester Road/Featherstone Road. After eight months, the results were obviously a success with more traffic flow through the junctions but queue lengths decreased by two thirds. Pedestrian waiting times reduced by half and no accidents were recorded. The vast majority of local residents supported the change. As a result the council has decided to try the same approach at 5 other junctions.  

There’s Always Someone…

Labour GLA Member Valerie Shawcross has written a misleading letter to some local newspapers about the removal of 145 traffic lights and “pedestrian crossings” in London. Here is what your editor said in response: 

“The letter from Labour GLA member Val Shawcross concerning the removal of 145 traffic lights was surely misleading.  There is no suggestion that pedestrian crossings will be removed - simply that the traffic lights controlling them will be removed along with traffic lights at junctions which are unnecessary. 

I suggest 145 is a trivial number and it should be much larger. There are about 5,000 traffic lights in London, and they grew rapidly during the regime of the former Mayor. I would like to see about 1,450 removed, not 145!  That could include 3 in Chislehurst where I live which are totally unnecessary and cause major traffic congestion.  

The removal of the proposed lights is only being undertaken after a very close review of the safety issues. No traffic lights are proposed for removal which might increase accidents.  

The letter from Ms Shawcross is an attempt to stir up needless controversy and distort the facts, when removing many traffic lights would be a positive step to reduce traffic congestion, avoid pedestrians being delayed and with no downside to road safety.”  

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