"Green Wave" Given to UK Motorists

The UK government has relaxed traffic flow rules as a solution to speeding up journey times. Motorists that approach at or just below the speed limit the first traffic light will trigger a series of green traffic lights along a single stretch of road.

Local authorities across the UK are set to introduce the new road sensor schemes which will probably reduce to the limit queues on major routes. The "green wave" scheme is not a novelty, considering that similar solutions were already implemented in other cities from Europe, such like Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

For the moment there is a battle between the Department of Transport (DfT) and the environmentalists. DfT rejected previous attempts of such schemes because they feared this way motorists will use less fuel and pay less to the Treasury in duty as a result. The new rules from the New Approach to Appraisal (NATA) showed the Government has decided to leave aside these provisions and no longer considers the cut in fuel tax paid as a "cost" to the public purse.

The environmentalists on the other hand support the "green wave idea" looking at it as a measure of cutting carbon emissions and traffic noise.

"This is a small victory for common sense," Stephen Joseph, executive director of Campaign for Better Transport, told The Daily Telegraph.

The AA, Automobile Association, also supports this initiative. "This is good news. Green wave schemes are to be encouraged. But we also have to take into account the side streets that have to feed into the main roads. The danger is some drivers on side roads may get impatient and start jumping red lights to join the freer flowing traffic".

Cyclists are also favoured by the new traffic rules. London's mayor, Boris Johnson, made public his plans of allowing cyclists to turn left at red lights, avoiding a potential £30 fine. His sustained his proposal made to the DfT showing that in 2008, 9 of the 13 cyclists killed in London were hit by a heavy goods vehicle. The solution he suggested was to let cyclists negotiate turns ahead of vehicles.
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