England to put traffic lights on motorways

13 November 2017 | By GCR Staff 3 Comments

Faced with ever-rising congestion on its network of supposedly high-speed roads, authorities in England will test traffic lights on one of its busiest motorway junctions.

Highways England said system will be introduced next month during rush hours on link roads where motorways meet.

London-bound traffic jam on the M4 motorway (Wikimedia Commons)

Lights will be placed at the junction of the M6 and M62 near Warrington, Cheshire, as part of a £7 million trial.

Currently, traffic lights are installed on slip roads leading on to motorways, but this will be the first wholesale attempt to put them on link roads, which are part of motorways themselves, reported the Times.

For 20 years the amount of motorway traffic has increased relentlessly.

Research last month by the traffic data company Inrix found that there had been more than 1.35 million jams on motorways and A roads in the past 12 months, equivalent to almost 3,700 each day.

Official figures show that vehicles travelled 68 billion miles on motorways in Britain in the year ending in June, up by more than a third since the mid-Nineties. Traffic has increased at a faster rate on motorways than on any other type of road.

First, electronic signs will be introduced on the eastbound M62 heading towards Manchester, indicating lower speed limits at times of higher congestion.

In the second phase, traffic lights will be switched on at the end of the link roads from the M6 on to the eastbound M62, to cut the number of vehicles accessing the M62 when it is congested.

Highways England said that traffic would be monitored by cameras, with controlled lights to minimise tailbacks on to the M6.

The technology was tested last week and will be switched on next month and in January. Highways England said that traffic would be monitored for a year. If successful, the scheme will be introduced on other motorway link roads.