Advocacy papers

Title: Seeing Red - Traffic Controls and the Economy

Organisation: Institute of Economic Affairs
Date uploaded: 9th February 2016
Date published/launched: January 2016

This report from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) concluded that eight in 10 traffic lights ‘should be removed over concerns they are detrimental to road safety, the economy and the environment.

The report concludes that a two-minute delay to every car journey equates to a loss of approximately £16bn every year.

It advocates the use of shared space schemes which involve the removal of conventional traffic infrastructure such as traffic lights, road markings and bollards.

The authors argue that evidence demonstrates that when regulations are removed, including the ‘unfair rules’ that give some vehicles priority over others, drivers behave with more consideration to other road users, improving safety and allowing traffic to flow more smoothly.

The report points to a number of case studies, including Ashford, where it is claimed there was a 41% fall in injury accidents in the first three years after a shared space scheme was introduced.

The report also reveals that the number of traffic lights in England has increased by 25% since 2000. By comparison, vehicle traffic rose by 5%, and the length of the road network by just 1.3% in the same period.

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