AA wants traffic lights rephased to cut queuesIt says this will save on carbon dioxide emissions

16 April 2008

645 tonnes of carbon dioxide

Amount that AA says would be saved by cutting car queues

Rephasing traffic light sequences to cut car queues would reduce carbon dioxide emissions more effectively than switching off streetlights, according to research from the AA.

Buckinghamshire County Council reckons it can save 590 tonnes of CO2 by switching off 2,000 streetlights.

But the AA said cutting queues by just one minute a day on three major roads leading into any city would save more than 645 tonnes of CO2.

Rephase lights

The queues could be reduced by rephasing traffic lights and doing away with unco-ordinated roadworks and certain traffic calming measures.

This would lead to cars not idling for so long and not pumping out so much CO2.

AA president Edmund King said: 'Our latest research reveals the massive CO2 benefits of keeping the traffic moving. The Highway Agency's traffic officers are helping to reduce the environmental impact of queuing traffic but more could be done by other highway authorities.

'Stationary traffic or idling longer at the lights is not good for the environment, so we need a concerted effort to reduce congestion.'

Extra carbon dioxide

The AA reckons that 1,000 cars held up for ten seconds every working day while heading to and from work produce enough extra carbon dioxide to fill three and a half squash courts.

Mr King went on: 'Current council policies to reduce CO2 focus on the car user rather than on what the council could do. So in terms of parking policy, some residents with cars are penalised for the size of their engine or the length of their car.

'Some drivers also lose out with congestion charging, get picked on for their car's tax band, or when streetlights are turned off. Councils should be accountable for CO2 reduction, by upgrading gridlocked junctions, co-ordinating roadworks and reducing waiting times at traffic lights.'

© The Press Association. All rights reserved