7 thoughts on “A new approach to traffic in towns”

  1. Posted 15/02/2013 at 17:18 | Permalink

    How interesting. You can add to the traffic lights item the new craze in Surrey for narrowing lanes onto roundabouts. What this does is make vehicles line up one behind the other not allowing those that go left to slip put and do so. Thus traffic builds up in queues creating all the usual issues of pollution and longer journey times and frustration.. This is happening in back roads not just main highways.
    Why I ask?
    So I did ask, and so far not a single councillor has replied.

  2. Posted 30/05/2013 at 13:29 | Permalink

    I read the article, which starts by mentioning “(traffic light installations) boosted by an additional 1800 sets imposed on London’s streets under Ken Livingstone”. Also that there are “25,000 pelican crossings” and that “Between 2007-2008, for example, the number of signals giving priority to buses more than doubled to 8,500”.

    You can see what they’re trying to do here, right? Clearing some space so that walking, cycling and using public transport can grow into it, even if this (rather questionably) costs us, economically, in the here and now for the sake of relieving the burden of private transport in the future.

    You then go on to draw on Poynton in Cheshire as an example. This is a small town with just two trunk routes crossing pretty much at right angles. I have no doubt that changes to road traffic control here has had an impact on what is a very small scale and simple arrangement. Now scale this up to something the size and complication of London. Not only are the road networks vastly more complicated, they also have to consider the vast increase in both pedestrians (including the blind, partially sighted, deaf, disabled) and cyclists which need enforced protection. An increase in cycling and walking coupled with public transport use will reduce the economic impact of car dependency. Like anything, the horse has to go in front of the cart; we need to make this space first and coax people back out of their cars and into this space even if this seems to be uneconomical now (although it doesn’t, to me).

    Not only this, but looking at other studies almost all of these traffic flow experiments have resulted in a net increase of car traffic. Is anyone at the IEF actually performing total accounting here, i.e. including the costs created by having a sedentary population with in active lifestyles? Costs of treating health related issues, accidents and injuries? Noise pollution? Air pollution? Environmental impacts of road maintenance and even manufacturing / decommissioning of the cars themselves?

    Is the success criteria of the Poynton scheme that it does carry 26,000 vehicles a day through the heart of the village? Really…

    You go on to say that “The latest safety audit from Westminster City Council shows that no less than 44% of personal injury accidents occurred at traffic lights.” This statistic is hardly surprising and is most likely more to do with the fact that the places pedestrians most frequently come into conflict with motor traffic is at crossing, which have traffic lights.

    Do “traffic jams resulting from traffic controls increase fuel use and pollution levels” at the same level that the net increase in cars resulting from most of these schemes does?

    You say that “A handful of local authorities have begun to recognise the negative effects of traffic controls. In 2009, lights were switched off at the Cabstand double junction in Portishead. Despite an increase in traffic, queues disappeared, journey times fell by over 50%, and there was no decline in road safety”. Do you understand that the increased traffic is not a good thing? Do you understand that there not being a decline in road safety *could* be related to a decline in the use of such roads by cyclists and pedestrians? I don’t know as there is a lack of citation. However, an increase in traffic alone will act to increase the perceived danger to potential cyclists and pedestrians wanting to use the roads and the provisions around them. Again this is another relatively small scale, “not in London” example used, after opening with criticism of London planning.

    To conclude I’ll repeat my initial assertion that these traffic flow measures are the early stages of transition. They’re there to create a space for alternatives to the “locked in” patterns of car usage we have. Such car dependency is only going to be economically problematic as we see fuel prices continue to increase and people demand viable alternatives, which are arguably being suppressed by the thinking on display in this article.

  3. Posted 07/03/2014 at 21:18 | Permalink

    Rob you seem to be a transport planner or a councillor commited to the policy of making it very hard for the motorist.
    If you are then please create more cycle paths on the pavement and allow the cars to to use the roads that werecreated for them. Tony Blair started this whole anti car affair because he didnt want to spend money on roads , so he possibly created a plan to create conditions that made congestion so bad – sick Integrated transport schemes so that exits from motor ways have massive que backing onto the motor way creating huge ammounts of congestion.
    These planners are only out to tax us more – the congestion charge in london will go up be sure because the loony councils have created forests of traffic lights – “creating more and more ” CONGESTION TO TAX and thus have more and more of our hard earned money –
    What we need are traffic light and councillor /transport planner DREDGERS to dredge all the muck they have placed on OUR roads ( roads that were onece good but are now so clogged up that the very economic engine of the UK is in seriouse danger of collapsing – people have to MOVE , shops need people that can move .We dont need a Nanny state that tells us how we should move AND then provides no flexibility in the way we can move.Try standing at the bus stop in the pouring rain or waiting for the extortionate train.
    No we dont need little tin pot transport dictators/ councillors ruling us we can and must be able to make our own choice .
    And we demand free flowing roads so we can get on with our lives instead of waiting in never ending traffic jams created by forests of traffic lights and road tinkering .

  4. Posted 07/03/2014 at 21:45 | Permalink

    Transport planners , many are cyclists who live in city centres and dont have to commute.
    These people together with councillors do not know what democracy means.
    They have forced their narrow mindedness onto our roads and are wrecking the UK Economy.
    Look at any exits from motorways( with huge tailbacks blocking motor ways – resulting in collisions and huge delays ) onto towns and cities and observe the incredible danger created by the “Integrated Transport Systems” – forests of traffic lights and massive tinkering with perfectly good road networks. Stealth Tax – yes , they want more and more of our money , since their goal is the same as Livingstone ( plus Boris – )Congestion charging – “create the congestion” and then charge the motorists which dont have any allternatives……..bus stops ….waiting forever in the rain for some dirty and crowded cattle truck .. extortionate rail fares .for cattle trucks on rails . . This policy has nearly destroyed the high street – forcing people to out of town shoping centres ………………..
    Lets Dredge this lot of scoundrels( include here the Environment Agency) from “our land” -so that we can move freely again, and let this country ROAR INTO LIFE !

  5. Posted 11/04/2015 at 21:36 | Permalink

    The Portishead cabstand experiment is clearly a failure: the traffic lights are being re-installed.

    See http://www.northsomersetmercury.co.uk/Peak-time-traffic-lights-return-Cabstand-resort/story-26266061-detail/story.html for more information.

  6. Posted 28/01/2016 at 22:38 | Permalink

    I wonder if this comment will ever be seen, especially by the people who have already posted comments here … It’s 28 Jan 2016 as I write this. While waiting for an event to begin, I was looking to see if Google found the recently-published Paper I wrote with Richard Wellings (an amplification of a much earlier IEA piece of mine). Surprisingly it didn’t, but it found this piece, which I’d forgotten. So I hadn’t seen your comments. Rob is right to criticise my point about congestion improving following signal switch-off despite an increase in traffic. But my words were inaccurate. What I should have written, and have written elsewhere, is that congestion improved despite a return from back-street rat-runs and greater numbers using the now free-flowing main route. So traffic didn’t increase. The same volumes redistributed themselves more appropriately. I’m in agreement with Not an anti-car Councillor’ in the sense that I’m pro-walking, pro-cycling, not anti-motorist, and pro-choice. On less polluted, safer, more congenial Equality Streets, all road-users can merge in a merry mix. If only the powers would listen and let them, the social, economic and environmental gains would be limitless

  7. Posted 28/01/2016 at 22:57 | Permalink

    I hope the comment I tried to post earlier will appear here eventually, otherwise I wasted twenty minutes of concentrated effort. It was partly a response to Rob, who rightly questioned whether an increase in traffic is a good thing, even if congestion improved. What I should have written, and have written elsewhere, is that journey times fell by over half despite a return from back-street rat-runs and grater numbers using the now free-flowing main route. That IS a universal benefit.
    In answer to Anonymous above, two things: traffic lights are NOT being re-installed, so your claim that the Portishead trial is a failure is unfounded. Except insofar as the dolts in charge refused to go the whole hog. They refused to rip out the other traffic lights that cause inordinate delay. They refused to do a few design tweaks to bolster the equal rights of people on foot at the corner of Wyndham Way and the High St. They refused to spend any money on re-education or culture change. They insisted on installing mini-roundabouts. They refused to pay a penny towards the video I made which put them on the international map. They didn’t credit or thank me for instigating the trial in the first place. They could have been the first town to go entirely traffic-lights free, but they bottled out and failed to appreciate the finer points. So from that point of view the experiment might be deemed a failure. But surely it must be better than it was.

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