Traffic lights on a street

Traffic lights increasing nationwide by 5%

The number of traffic lights in the United Kingdom is increasing currently at a rate of 5%.

A freedom of information request asked 43 different councils for how many traffic lights they had on their roads at the start of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. 

Nationwide the number of traffic lights over these four years has increased by 5.15% with on average the number of traffic lights increasing by 6%.

This data includes permanent traffic lights that are either pedestrian crossings or junctions. 

Over these past four years the number of traffic light controlled junctions has increased by 3.1% and pedestrian crossings by 4.2%.

​The Department for Transport say that it is for traffic authorities to “determine what signing is necessary to meet those duties”.

Rutland County Council reported the largest increase in traffic lights over the four year period, increasing by 74% from 182 to 312.

Hertfordshire over the four years saw an increase of 8.3%, one of the largest increases across the county councils.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “Traffic lights allow us to provide safe crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists, particularly at busy junctions.

 “We can also actively manage the timings of traffic lights to help us manage traffic flow on our busy road network more efficiently.”

With an increase in traffic lights of only 4%, Oxfordshire’s traffic lights are increasing at a rate beneath average for the nation.

Oxfordshire County Council said: “New traffic signals are installed where a need has been identified. Most have come via our roads agreement team to accommodate items such as new developments.

“A number of new pedestrian crossings have also been installed to help improve road safety by providing facilities for residents.”

With a figure of 2.9% Kent’s traffic lights are increasing at a rate significantly beneath average. 

A spokesperson for Kent County Council said: “KCC does not tend to install new sets of traffic lights. Where traffic lights are used these tend to be installed as part of a new development and the decision to include them will have been decided by the local planning authority. 

“As for the installation of roundabouts, these usually require more space and subject to limitations on the space available for works. However, each highway improvement will be assessed on its individual merits and subjected to a full technical review before proceeding.”

The slowest increasing council is Wrexham, which over these years reported only 1 new traffic light for 2022.

While traffic lights are increasing nation wide, councils are taking a policy that does not prioritise new traffic lights. instead those that are installed are in the interest of safety.

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