A new report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has said that an increase in traffic regulations over the last two decades has ‘imposed a heavy burden on the economy’. It also found that while the number of traffic lights in England has increased by 25 per cent since 2000, traffic has risen by 5 per cent.
IEA has said ‘carrying 90 per cent and 70 per cent of our road and freight traffic respectively, driving is also the second largest area of consumer spending, reflecting the vital role of roads’. It said that faster journeys, generated by less traffic regulation, would lower the cost of trade, facilitating competition and enhancing innovation and productivity.
The IEA said that based on case-studies from the UK, alongside evidence from successful schemes in Holland and Germany, it estimates that approximately ‘80 per cent of traffic lights could be ripped out in the UK.’
“For too long policymakers have failed to make a cost-benefit analysis of a range of regulations – including traffic lights, speed cameras and bus lanes – making life a misery from drivers nationwide,” said Dr.Richard Wellings, head of transport at the IEA. “It’s quite clear that traffic management has spread far beyond the locations where it might be justified, to the detriment of the economy, environment and road safety.
“The evidence of shared space schemes shows the transformational benefits of less regulated approach, whilst the removal of a high proportion of traffic lights would deliver substantial economic and social benefits.”