Stick to the speed limits and your reward could be a string of green traffic signals to speed your journey across town.
Drivers who obey in-town speed limits could be rewarded by ‘surfing’ a string of green traffic lights, saving fuel and speeding journeys.
Under a change in detailed regulations governing traffic flow, the Department for Transport will allow schemes where motorists who approach a green light at or just below the legal limit will trigger a ‘green wave’ of lights as other signals change to allow them through, perhaps crossing an entire neighbourhood or town centre.
The latest thinking is that such schemes will save fuel, cut carbon emissions and also reduce traffic noise.
Previously the Department’s view was that stop-go driving was better for safety. But the success of such schemes in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and other continental cities has forced them to think again.
The move has been welcomed by pro-green pressure groups and also motoring organisations, including the AA.
To make it successful, however, the light phasing must be carefully planned to that it favours careful drivers but actively works against those who speed. Such ‘waves’ are also to be restricted in many areas to certain times of day – during the morning rush, perhaps – when they offer the greatest benefits.