Speeders see red 19 May 2011

Traffic light trial in speed camera-free town

Swindon is set to trial smart traffic lights which turn to red if approaching drivers are breaking the speed limit.

The council will start the trial in the Autumn having already turned off all of the town's speed cameras in 2009.

Sensors will detect speeding vehicles and if they are above a preset limit then the signals ahead will turn to red. If congestion builds up then the traffic light phasing will change automatically to allow more traffic through the junction.

ANPR systems will detect emergency vehicles and ensure they are not inhibited by the system.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“We welcome trials of technologies other than cameras to deter speeding drivers and this sort of system is already extensively used in Spain and Portugal. But will the odd red light be enough of a deterrent to change the behaviour of persistent offenders?

"Some law-abiding motorists will surely be irritated at being stuck at the signals behind an errant driver, effectively paying the price for someone else’s law breaking. But if speeding can be made as socially unacceptable as drink-driving without the need for a big stick then the majority of drivers should welcome the move.”

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Peter Greenhalgh, the council cabinet member responsible for planning and transport:

"It isn't exactly rocket science. 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.”

ENDS

Contact:

philip.gomm@racfoundation.org / 020 7747 3486 / 07711 776448

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