London’s transport bosses and local councils have been urged to switch traffic lights off over night to help cut journey times and reduce pollution caused by car emissions.
Conservatives on the London Assembly suggest the move would cut vehicle emissions by ending cars sitting with engines idling at red lights and reduce delays by 2,251 hours every day.
They also claim drivers would see time and fuel savings worth £40m by 2020
The recommendation is contained in a new report published by the group today which calls on Transport for London and the capital’s local boroughs to pilot the proposal during daytime off-peak hours.
TfL is also urged to regularly review traffic lights on roads it controls “to see if any are redundant.”
Richard Tracey AM said: “Every year Londoners waste over 170 million hours sitting in traffic, costing London’s economy £4bn. Many of these journeys in our city are unavoidable.
“But rather than hurting motorists with ridiculous charges and taxes, we should look at innovative ways to cut congestion and make traffic flow more smoothly.
“Turning off traffic lights at night, like they do in parts of Europe and North America, is one measure which would boost the economy and help the environment.”
Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Val Shawcross, AM said: “Whilst this proposal may grab headlines its disregard for driver and pedestrian safety is incredibly worrying.
“London is a 24-hour city and many routes remain busy throughout the night, the idea that just because it’s not the middle of the day we should turn off traffic lights just to save a few pounds is utterly reckless.
“Only three years ago a Government report found that in other countries where this has been trialled accidents have tripled. Given the dangers faced on London’s streets as it is, this proposal risks making after-dark death-traps of our roads.”
Green party AM Darren Johnson commented: “We need to make our roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians to use, rather than turning them into dangerous freeways at night.
“London is a 24 hr city and the safety of people moving around on foot, or by bike, does not end when it gets dark.”