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Poll: Would a proposal to switch off traffic lights in off-peak hours ease congestion in Ipswich?

PUBLISHED: 11:38 08 December 2014

Would switching off Ipswich’s traffic lights in off-peak hours make life easier for motorists?

Proposals to do just that in towns around the country are being considered by a transport minister after a Conservative MP said it could stop motorists being stuck in traffic jams for “no reason whatsoever”.

Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Yorkshire and a former shadow transport minister, has urged the government to follow the lead of other countries and turn off the signals at non-rush hour times.

John Hayes, whose ministerial brief includes national roads, told MPs he will look into the matter despite the Government having no current plans to implement Sir Greg’s idea.

Questioned about the coalition’s steps to ease road congestion, Tory front-bencher Mr Hayes reiterated a £15 billion package had already been announced.

But Sir Greg pressed Mr Hayes to take more steps towards securing his reputation as a “radical politician” by dealing with avoidable congestion.

The MP asked the minister: “Are you aware that thousands of motorists travelling at non-rush hour times often find themselves stuck in a traffic jam at traffic lights for no reason whatsoever?

“Why can’t some of these traffic lights be turned off as indeed they do in other countries?”

People driving through Ipswich in recent times have become frustrated at the number of new traffic lights in the town, many of which are part of the Travel Ipswich project which aims to improve traffic flow.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said part-time traffic signals have proved successful in tackling congestion in some parts of the UK, adding: “Motorists would certainly welcome any measures to reduce needless traffic jams further.

“The cost of congestion to the economy runs into the billions so it is a positive move for the minister to consider a different way of tackling congestion.”

He added the measures would have to be considered on a site-by-site basis and must take into account the safety of other road users.

AA president Edmund King said: “Switching off lights outside peak periods can help to reduce congestion, fuel consumption and indeed road rage.

“The junctions must be well signed and they generally should not be switched off in busy pedestrian areas.”

Do you think switching off traffic lights outside of peak travelling times would ease congestion? Let us know in the comments section below.

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