I was delighted to receive a letter from a former resident of Newbury, now living in America, commenting on my proprosal to increase traffic flow on West Berkshire's road network.
I suggested to the Highways Department, that where appropriate and with only minor modifications to the junction layout, left-hand filter lane traffic lights remain on green unless pressed to red by a pedestrian wishing to cross the road. This would increase traffic flow and reduce pollution from vehicles stopping unnecessarily.
In the letter the writer highlights some effective ways the motorist in America benefits from innovative thinking.
I quote: Generally a right turn (UK left turn) is permitted on a red traffic light if the road is clear and if it is safe to proceed. In the event this is not permitted a sign 'No Turn on Right ' is clearly displayed.
Four Way Stop: This is indicated by a flashing red light against all four cross junctions.
The procedure is that all traffic stops at the intersection and the first vehicle arriving at the junction is clear to proceed. If two vehicles arrive simultaneously, drivers give way to the vehicle on their right (left in the UK). We have practical experience of this system as an installation close to our home has considerably reduced waiting time at a busy junction.
It was very refreshing to hear how juctions are configured in America to increase traffic flows.
We can learn from the success and experience in other countries. But are we ready in this country to take on the challenge of additional traffic congestion and deal with it?