Traffic Lights

Oral Answers to Questions — Roads – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby 12:00 am, 28th January 1959

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware of the substantial reduction in road accidents brought about as a result of control of vehicles' speeds by the introduction of a system of linked fixed-time traffic signals on a length of dangerous road at Slough; and whether he will encourage the adoption of such a system on other similar roads.

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

While there has been a welcome reduction in accidents, there has also been appreciable delay to traffic on this important trunk road. Investigation of the position is continuing to see whether modifications to the system can be made which might retain the increased safety but with less delay, for example by cutting out some of the signals at the less busy junctions.

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the delay has been only 55 seconds on this length of road, according to the Road Research Laboratory, and that serious accidents have been reduced to one quarter of what they were before and, in fact, none of those serious accidents affected pedestrians?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

That would not be a quite true picture of the reduction in accidents. I shall be happy to send the computation to my hon. Friend. The broad result of the work is that the Road Research Laboratory would like another year's observation here before it reaches any conclusions on it.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Will the Minister adopt the principle that the prevention of accidents is much more important than the saving of a very small amount of time in moving along the road?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

Unfortunately, they are related together only too often; as a result of delays, frustration arises in the minds of drivers, and that itself leads to accidents. We have to try to reach a balance in these matters, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the prevention of accidents is always our concern.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware of the difficulty many people have in seeing when traffic lights change at some cross-roads where there is no "Cross-now" signal for pedestrians; and if he will install more of these.

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

Unless there is a "Cross-now" signal, pedestrians should, when crossing at a light-controlled intersection, take into account the movement of the traffic as well as the indication of the lights. The installation of "Cross-now" phases involves a delay to traffic and is, therefore, for crossings where pedestrians experience special difficulties.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

Does the Parliamentary Secretary appreciate that that really is not good enough from the pedestrians' point of view? There are doubtless many examples, but is he not aware that, if one takes some of the roads running into Piccadilly Circus, or where Wigmore Street runs into Portman Square, it is quite impossible, on looking across, to see when the lights change, and accidents occur? Will he look at the matter again?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

The problem at each intersection has to be looked at on its merits. It is a matter of balance as to whether or not a "Cross-now" phase, a special pedestrian phase, should be introduced. If the hon. Lady will send me details of the particular crossings she would like me to consider, I should be very pleased to have them.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

I have given the Minister particulars of two. Will he look at those?