Change the way traffic lights at roundabouts work

Traffic lights have been installed at many roundabouts to control and facilitate traffic flow as congestion continues to increase. These operate round the clock, irrespective of the actual volume of traffic.

However, there is no need for traffic lights late at and during the night, when the roads are quiet. How much fuel is wasted with cars being forced to stop at red lights on roundabouts when there is no approaching traffic?

Let’s change this, so that the lights on roundabouts switch to flashing amber late at night – say 10 or 11pm. Switch them back over to Red-Amber-Green in advance of the rush hour – say, at 6am. Since drivers already understand that priority is given to oncoming cars already on the roundabout, and also that flashing amber means to proceed only if the way is clear, this change doesn’t create new hazards. I think people are intelligent enough to be able to cope with this, and it is not a confusing or new rule, just a different application of an existing one.

This change would need an advance publicity campaign, nationwide, to inform people of the new regime, and some new road signs at the roundabouts. This could also serve as a pilot, to be rolled out across Britain if it's agreed that it works well. In fact, I'm not sure that this hasn't already been done elsewhere.



Why the contribution is important

Since most people don't turn off their engines when the car is at traffic lights (eco-cars with stop-start technology excepted) this would reduce the amount of fuel consumed while needlessly stationary at roundabouts late at and during the night when traffic is minimal.


by user412750 on December 20, 2013 at 01:55PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 3.8
Based on: 11 votes


  • Posted by user360610 January 08, 2014 at 18:24

    Great idea. Long overdue. A great deal of congestion throughout the City is caused by the amount of time roundabouts are idle while cars are simply waiting.
  • Posted by user603448 January 09, 2014 at 13:44

    Seems a good idea, but only considers drivers. Further consideration needed of the impact where pedestrian crossings are combined with roundabout traffic signals.
  • Posted by user128429 March 11, 2014 at 13:08

    Really good suggestion, pedestrians are few in the evening and will be able to see and hear cars coming from the distance at night.
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