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Rise in number of traffic lights

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As if motorists have not already got enough to worry about with rising car insurance and fuel costs, it has now emerged that there has been a sharp rise in the number of traffic lights as well.

According to a study published by the RAC Foundation, the number of sets of traffic lights shot up by about 30% between 2000 and 2008. London saw an increase of 23% to over 6,000 lights.

In addition, the number of traffic signals designed to give priority to buses hit 8,425 at the end of 2008. There were 3,801 such traffic signals on Britain's roads at the beginning of 2007.

The report - produced by former Whitehall transport and planning chief Irving Yass - also highlighted an increase the number of junctions in the capital with a full pedestrian crossing stage, rising from 481 in 2000 to 783 in 2010.

The study also said the Department for Transport (DfT) should consider carrying out trials of flashing amber lights at times when there is little traffic, which would allow drivers to proceed with caution at junctions.

Authorities should consider standardising the green man invitation to cross period at six seconds rather than the usual 10 seconds.

There should be wider use of the "countdown" system which shows pedestrians just how long they have to cross the road.

The DfT should allow for trialling of cyclists turning left at a red signal if safe to do so.

And local authorities should see if they can remove traffic lights or replace them with alternatives such as mini-roundabouts.

© Press Association 2011