The system produces congestion

The current system of priority and traffic lights blocks natural flow and prevents infinite filtering opportunities.

Under the current system, right-turners must wait in a junction – a space of limited capacity – for greenlit oncoming traffic to clear. The right-turner is stuck, and often blocks following traffic wanting to go straight on. It’s infinitely more efficient, and safer, for everyone simply to take it in turns. Traffic disperses, speeds are low, spirits high. Consecutive queueing gives way to simultaneous filtering.

The stop-start drive cycle caused by traffic lights maximises fuel use and emissions by a factor of four: see No Idle Matter. On Equality Streets, by contrast, we glide through on opportunity at low speeds and low revs, producing minimal emissions.

For years I’ve been bringing these points to the attention of traffic authorities and government ministers, but little or no action is taken. Perhaps the threat of fines from the EU, outlined in this BBC article, will make them sit up. Whether or not they will take the action I advocate is another question.

Clearly we need to find other ways of getting about, work more from home, develop clean energy sources; but something can be done NOW to cut our carbon footprint: scrap most traffic lights, the greatest gas-guzzlers of them all.

Guardian piece by Justine Thornton here (Jan 2016)
Piece by John Vidal and Toby Helm here (Jan 2016)
Piece by Patrick Barkham here (Jan 2016)