Traffic lights to slow speeding motorists

May 19, 2011 | by | 0 Comments

Speeding motorists will be ‘shamed’ into slowing down by a new safety system which turns traffic lights red whenever a car breaks the limit – holding everyone else up.

Traffic lights to stop speeding motorists

Sensors installed in the road will monitor speed levels and turn the next set of lights red when an approaching vehicle is speeding.

As a result, dozens of surrounding cars will also be held up – bringing shame on the offending driver.

The pilot scheme – the first of its kind in Britain – will be tested on two 40mph roads in Swindon, Wilts., this autumn after successful tests in Europe.

Swindon became the first town in Britain to switch off all its speed cameras completely in 2009 and council leaders vowed to invest the money saved into alternative schemes.

Peter Greenhalgh, cabinet member for sustainability, strategic planning, property and transport at Swindon Borough Council, said he hopes ”social pressure” from other drivers will prevent speeding.

He said: ”It will irritate drivers but if you maintain a steady speed at or around the speed limit you will get to where you want to be quicker because you won’t be held up at traffic lights.

”There is an element of shame but we expect people will learn very quickly not to speed. A little bit of social pressure from other drivers is not necessarily a bad thing.

”A couple of glares through windows once they catch up with a motorist at the red light isn’t a bad thing.

”Habitual speeders will see they will get to their destination quicker if they stick to the speed limit.”

The two roads involved in the trial have a speed limit of 40mph but have suffered significant numbers of speeding vehicles and several accidents in the last five years.

Statistics show that 67 per cent of vehicles exceed the speed limit in Thamesdown Drive and 38 per cent of vehicles go too fast on Queens Drive.

The system is likely to be more effective at off-peak times when traffic volumes are lower and vehicle speeds higher.

Specialist equipment called a Data Logger connected to the traffic signal system will record the speed of all vehicles that pass.

Motorists driving at speeds over a specific threshold – which the authority will not reveal – will trigger the traffic signals at the junction to turn to from green to red.

To ensure that speeding vehicles have enough time to safely stop when the signals change to red, the Data Logger is located an unknown safe distance well in advance of the junction.

The threshold will trigger at different speeds at different times of the day and the sensors can be changed to different locations on the two roads regularly.

A camera installed at the roadside will recognise emergency service vehicle number plates and ensure that a red signal is not triggered.

Cllr Greenhalgh said he had seen at firsthand the success of the cameras in operation in Spain, France and Portugal.

He said: ”It has been used in Europe but I do not know anywhere in the UK where they use this scheme.

”This is part of the council’s traffic management and we have identified a couple of key locations on which to trial it.

”Hopefully it will encourage drivers to be aware of their speeds and also to be aware of what is going on ahead of them.”

He said the cost of the scheme was ”quite acceptable” and could feasibly be rolled out to all of Swindon’s 200 traffic light controlled junctions if deemed a success.


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