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Traffic lights to battle speeders

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Swindon will be trialling new traffic lights that turn red if approaching drivers are speeding, specifically in two areas where speeding has been identified as a problem.  They will be the first authority to trial the lights after stripping out its speed cameras.

The lights work by placing a sensor in the road a short distance ahead of the traffic light which logs how fast traffic is going.

If cars are going too fast then a message is sent to a control box, which turns the light to red.

Automatic number plate recognition cameras are used to detect emergency vehicles.

The location of the sensors will not be disclosed so that drivers cannot trick the system, however the speed threshold is yet to be agreed.  The most likely choice will be that of speed cameras, which on a 40mph road trigger between 44 – 46 mph.

 “It isn’t rocket science,” said Peter Greenhalgh, the council cabinet member responsible for planning and transport.

“I have been talking about this with my team for about two years. I have seen it in Spain and France and it seems to work really well and couldn’t see why we were not doing it in the UK.”

“It is an intelligent way of managing traffic flows and ensuring that cars drive in a safe manner.”

Swindon stripped out its six speed cameras in August 2009, being the first authority to do so.  Since then accidents both at the sites and in the town as a whole have dropped.

Robert Gifford, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, added: The key point will be to place such lights where they will be most effective: on roads where there is clear evidence of non-compliance or on entry points into the town where vulnerable road users may be more at risk.”

Mike Penning, the road safety minister added: “It is up to local councils and police forces to decide how they enforce speed limits on their local roads. However, we will follow this trial with interest.”

By Ben Malkin