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

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.

33 comments

  • oi Miguel... if you don't like Britain or the British you can do one sunshine.

    Report this comment

    Fill-a-stein

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

  • Did Newman have any successes in his previous lives or was he always a failure? How did he get where he is as he doesn't seem to know where he is going or when he will get there?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

  • This story should read..bonkers old classic car enthusiast who doesn't have the foggiest about transport asks a question in parliament and gets a dismissive response from minister who says we're already promising to waste billions we don't have on roads we don't need. The troll papers, this and the daily mail print it though coz it gets clicks. Thankfully It'll never happen.

    Report this comment

    IanW

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

  • slightly off topic but why do taxis have the right to use bus lanes they are no more than a commercial vehicle going about their business exactly the same as plumbers, or electricians also just because their patrons can afford to use a taxi do they priority over other road users. To add injury to insult most taxi drivers act like selfish morons

    Report this comment

    Constantly Bemused

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Did you know that traffic lights on roundabouts at night make you stop when it's perfectly clear to go. Moreton hall A14 Bury classic example ! but no councillors are about at night to see the complete waste of energy resources !

    Report this comment

    buster65

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • The brightest lights in this town are the traffic lights !! The "Travel Ipswich" scheme was just another waste of public money. I get from A to B in a slower time as Ipswich is slowed down .....The dream of joining the Waterfront with the town centre is separated by 4 lanes of traffic and yet we waste money on replacing traffic lights at Chantry Park. What this town needs is a network of tunnels to get rid of the traffic....Knowing that will never happen ....we might aswell build a motorway over the river all the way through Ipswich from Sproughton Road to Stoke Bridge......and then from Stoke Bridge to Landseer Road.......No one uses the river.....so lets have a proper "Travel Ipswich".

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Amsterdam81 I commented the other day how they model traffic in Ipswich before installing traffic lights ,,,There's a map on the wall in the planning office , they throw a dart and the aim is to get closest to a set of lights that are already installed

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    MIGUEL100

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Totally agree with you Sudders ,, British driver's are plain ignorant , the word polite don't exist in their vocobulary ,As for common sense , I don't think half on them were born with any ,,, unbelievable how some of them passed their test

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Sounds highly likely to me - spend thousands on a new traffic system then decide to turn it off. While we are about it, let's take up the original Tory quickly forgotten offer of getting rid of the totally unnecessary lights at Dale Hall Lane, that only cause a holdup.

    Report this comment

    Sarky Sage

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • For over 30 years many towns in Spain have been using orange flashing lights on their traffic lights off peak. These work wonderfully well, so why are we so slow to adopt this? I would call it comment sense, please treat us as adults.

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    Chris B

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • utter madness, then when a pedestrian or cyclist gets killed we can all sue the council for millions for negligence, it isnt turning them off that's the answer its better timing and using timed signals rather than sensor activated ones that work better, have you seen the red lighters on the London road junction by wickes, they don't heed a r dlight, can you imagine what the accident rate would be if they were turned off? sheer madness, it isn't a matter of how many accidents its a matter of how many deaths!

    Report this comment

    Dave Hanlon

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Lol why spend all this money on traffic lights then turn them off,saying that why have they put new lights on Norwich road just yards from another set off lights,could some pls explain that to me as i can't seem why they have,or was the council finding ways to waste tax payers money,pls someone tell me.

    Report this comment

    paperboy roy

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • I've just had a brainwave; How about roundabouts with pedestrian crossings? Oh wait.... Our council wasted almost £25million to get the lights in place!

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    C D

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Just how would I manage to cross the road?? It is already dangerous on the footpath with the risk of getting flattened by unlit cyclists..

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    Barnacle

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Why not just link the lights together so they allow traffic to flow instead of them working independently and causing bottle necks. Get fed up travelling from one red light to the next. And yes - switch them off on roundabouts when not required.

    Report this comment

    dbr

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • 'Congestion' in 'off-peak hours' suggests the traffic problem in Ipswich is well beyond such a simple measure. Too many cars are crammed onto low-capacity single file roads and unless public transport becomes a cheap, effective and reliable alternative, nothing will change.

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    Jim C

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • There are NO part-time lights in Ipswich at the moment. As a "professional" driver in Ipswich it never ceases to amaze me that when a set of lights fail to work that traffic hold-ups seem not to appear. If lights are turned off & a flashing amber light shows then a motorist should approach with caution. If a system like that were introduced across the whole country not just Ipswich then put the correct instruction into the Highway Code & then every motorist will know what is expected.

    Report this comment

    Noel Bristow

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • An approach that seems to work well elsewhere is part-time lights on roundabouts that are only turned on at peak times, and prevent traffic on a main road congesting the roundabout. Alas, some of the key roundabouts in Ipswich that would have benefited from this approach are no more! :(

    Report this comment

    vumad

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • What is an off peak Hour? In ipswich peak rush hour is 7am to 7pm .. an gets slight relief when kids are off school... and what would happen when the orwell bridge gets closed..no traffic lights Then? .sheer madness...agree with roundabouts esp in kesgrave.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Clearly defined roundabouts are one thing. Crossroads with no priority markings are a completely different ball game.

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    Sudders

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Couldn't agree more with Victor. The lights on the Grange Farm A1214 roundabout are nightmare and I can’t help thinking that the loss of the Civic Drive and Princess Street roundabout in Town was an ENORMOUS MISTAKE!

    Report this comment

    David White

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • A few years ago residents identified that the traffic lights on one of the Kesgrave roundabouts, installed at great expense at the insistence of SCC and later replaced and upgraded, were not needed. Eventually SCC agreed first to switch them off then after a further year remove them. I'm sure this would be true of other sets around Ipswich. Reviewing the lights on the other Kesgrave roundabout and their interaction with the lights at the end of Bell lane is also needed as traffic is frequently jammed at peak times as traffic between the junctions. It would be interesting to know how they model the Ipswich traffic before deciding lights are needed. Perhaps they don't or are in thrawl to the suppliers. If switching off lights off peak is implemented it might be a good idea to flash the amber lights as they do in some other countries so people can see it is intended and the lights aren't broken. Is there a date yet for implementing the traffic light integration?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Suffolk have never heard of peak hour Traffic Signals, lots of other counties and indeed Countries use them. SCC seem intent on taking away the decision making process from us at junctions and pedestrian crossings. Traffic signals are necessary at blind or busy junctions: If it is not a blind junction,when it is not busy TURN THEM OFF. (A simple programme in the controller Poppys Dad) If you want to see it in action go round the old by pass in Chelmsford via the Army and Navy Roundabout.Tedbundy is right unfortunately, it will never happen.

    Report this comment

    Countrylad

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • The easiest way to make this work at junctions is to have roundabout markings in the middle which come into effect when the lights are off..

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    C Smith

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • I cannot wait for it to come to Bury St Edmunds, the environmental cost of the traffic lights at the A14 roundabout east are unbelievable

    Report this comment

    overtaxed111

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • I imagine Graham Newman's manhood is wilting at the very thought!

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    beerlover

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Turning traffic lights off on roundabouts would be a great start!

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    Victor Meldrew

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Darn good idea! I have to cross a roundabout outside Stowmarket every day and I spend more time parked waiting for a green light than is necessary! There is clear visibility on all roads feeding the junction form all locations and your just parked there on your own burning fuel and wasting energy. Why do the atthorities feel it viable to pay for the maintenance and running cost for traffic lights which are not really required at the busiest time let alone off peak it's a roundabout they are self controlling!

    Report this comment

    Alpina B10

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Never happen, Travel Ipswich take pride in Traffic Lights and turning the whole town into a car park, why would they turn off their vanity project?

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    Tedbundy

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • This system works in other places so why not? It also begs the question that if it eases congestion in non rush hour why not turn them off during rush hour? The Ipswich fiasco is well known, my family and I got a taxi back to Capel from Colchester on Saturday night and he said the cabbies there had heard how terrible Ipswich was now and how people are now going there instead. Well done Newman,your plan to drive people away from Ipswich seems to have worked!!

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • Sudders,poppys dad, perhaps we could install roundabouts?

    Report this comment

    grumpy old git

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • So who has priority if crossroads junctions have their lights turned off ! There are no give way markings , mad idea , how would you turn them off ? Each set are controlled independently and have their own control system that can be overridden .

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    Poppys Dad

    Monday, December 8, 2014

  • And just who is going to decide which flow of traffic has priority in this utopian free-for-all? The days of relying on common sense have long gone.

    Report this comment

    Sudders

    Monday, December 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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