Agenda for roads

Now that government wants to help drivers get about there are ideas they can adopt to make the vision a reality.

Talking to Ministers, they say they do want highways authorities to review traffic light phasing and controls.

It would be good if all sets could be equipped with sensors so lights responded to different traffic conditions. At low use times lights should shift to green when any vehicle approaches a  red light when there is no traffic using the green. At normal times green time should be proportionate to traffic flows.

If these systems cannot be used the phasings should be adjusted to reflect normal use patterns.For example, the  lights at the junction of the Embankment with Vauxhall Bridge Road, a busy London junction, offer twice as long on green for traffic  approaching from  over Vauxhall Bridge. This produces unused green time in that direction and permanent queues on the other three. Why?

The government should allow traffic turning left at a light controlled junction to treat the red light as a Stop sign. Drivers should stop as now on red but if the turn was free of vehicles and pedestrians then they should be able to proceed.

Ministers approving schemes to alter road layouts and junctions should not approve or fund Council schemes which are designed to get vehicles off the road. Of course we need better routes for cycles and safe paths for pedestrians. Taking roadspace off vehicles on busy main roads is not the way to achieve this aim.

Roundabouts are usually better than light controlled junctions. They should usually be preferred.

Where right  turning traffic can easily get stuck Councils should be encouraged to widen the carriageway to create a right turning lane to free traffic going straight on or turning left.

Councils should exercise greater discipline over timings and duration of works that entail digging holes in roads. This should include their own Highways department.

Councils should move to getting utilities under verges and pavements in conduits with locked access  to avoid the continuing need to dig up roads to repair pipes and wires.

116 Comments

  1. Mark B
    October 26, 2023

    Good morning.

    I think as a priority it would be better, as I keep banging on about, that Local Government should be painting the roads. A lot cheaper than messing with lights and layouts and a far greater benefit to road users and safety.

    Embankment with Vauxhall Bridge Road

    Which I know well as I travel through there on my way home from work by bike. It is not as bad as you seem to make it, Sir John. Traffic, to me at least, seems well controlled at both ends of the bridge. The only thing I would change is to move the traffic lights on the Embankment end going towards the West a little further back. Cycling has become very popular and the space provided is now too small. Bad cyclists tend to now pile up on the inside of vehicles turning left stopping them from moving. Yes it is a problem caused by inconsiderate cyclists wanting to go straight on but stopping vehicles turning left but there is no other way as education cannot be implemented on such ignorant people.

    Reply The timings are quite wrong and cause needless delays.

    1. Peter
      October 26, 2023

      Tinkering with traffic light timings will only address some delays.

      Traffic lights are useful at some roundabouts – crossing the A3 for example. At Tolworth It gives traffic in all directions a chance to progress. Whereas at the nearby Ace of Spades junction South bound traffic never gets a chance from school closing time(3pm) until around 7pm.

      As for bridges, Waterloo bridge now has half its road space removed for cyclists in addition to bus lanes. So better traffic light timings are scant compensation.

    2. Peter Wood
      October 26, 2023

      Turning Left on Red, this action is in wide use in the USA and very useful (although they turn right…obviously). It requires only minimal training and a bit of discipline
      Your other idea look useful and mostly low cost. Good suggestions… is anyone listening?

    3. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      Mark, Traffic lights are no problem for cyclists – they usually ignore them – every time I turn right to go over Vauxhall Bridge there are examples of cyclists breaking lights but risking their lives on unaware drivers.

    4. jerry
      October 26, 2023

      @Mark B; “Local Government should be painting the roads.”

      What colour would you suggest?! Oh you mean lane markings, arrows, road numbers and the such, all of whicjh are invisible to all but those with x-ray eyes with the road is congested…

      “Which I know well as I travel through there on my way home from work by bike. It is not as bad as you seem to make it”

      Try driving, not filtering like cyclists (and some motorcyclists) do, filtering up to be the first away on green!

      1. John Hatfield
        October 26, 2023

        Roundabouts are more efficient than traffic lights which only serve to keep folks waiting and bunch traffic up.

        1. John Hatfield
          October 26, 2023

          Where appropriate, obviously.

      2. Sulis
        October 26, 2023

        @Mark B; “Local Government should be painting the roads.”

        Have you not noticed the rainbows ? 🙂

    5. Mark B
      October 26, 2023

      Reply to reply

      Sorry Sir John but I did not see the problem. Traffic running East-West and West-East seemed fine. There was some traffic North-South and South-North but that too was OK. Vauxhall Bridge was empty, as it is most mornings. Most traffic is around Vauxhall all the way up to Westminster and on to Waterloo. It is at Waterloo roundabout that there are real problems.

      Speaking from my experience over the last few months.

      Reply It was just a good example of bad timings. Sit there often enough and time the phases and you will see I am right. You did notice no traffic from the bridge.

  2. Roy Grainger
    October 26, 2023

    Some good ideas there, pity they’ll all be ignored. I remember Cecil Parkinson when he was transport minister (I think) saying that on motorways you should be able to overtake on both sides (like in some other countries) and I’m still waiting for that to happen.

    Where I live traffic lights are phased not to aid traffic flow but to maximise council revenue by trapping cars in box junctions.

    1. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      South Circular being very high in the League ladder?

    2. peter
      October 26, 2023

      I believe that undertaking is no longer an offence so maybe that has been achieved.

    3. jerry
      October 26, 2023

      @Roy Grainger; Undertaking is dangerous, even in those countries were it has been the norm since whenever, nearside visibility is always worse, even when mirrors are correctly adjusted and used..

    4. glen cullen
      October 26, 2023

      70mph is designed to collect fines, the natural speed that people are comfortable at driving is 80mph ….so make motorway speed limit 80mph (away from the cameras ‘everyone’ drives at 80mph on the motorways – therefore the current law is an ass)
      Government says, if its 80mph than everyone will drive at 90mph, that’s such a pathetic argument, as studies show that people are Uncomfortable at driving beyond 80mph

      1. jerry
        October 26, 2023

        @glen cullen; Any speed limit can be accused of being designed to collect fines, and only those who can not adhere to the limit get fined, set the limit on motorways to 100 and some will want to travel at 110-120mph

        Far more of a problem and one I do have sympathy for, are those who get caught by the ill-advised 20mph limit being imposed, for starters it encourages pedestrians to take chances (which defies the claimed object, 20 can kill just as much as 30 can) and secondly most vehicles are not geared correctly to ‘cruise’ at 20 or lower.

        1. glen cullen
          October 26, 2023

          Most people drive at 80mph because our vision our comperhension can comfortably cope with that speed, and luckily so can our cars ….but 99% of people are uncomfortable driving beyond 80mph …so that were I’d set the speed limit …and our government can’t explain why its set at 70mph (apart from that was the average max speed of cars in the 60s)

          1. jerry
            October 26, 2023

            @glen cullen; Any road safety expert can explain why 70mph was and still is the optimal speed limit, but only to those without cloth ears. Yes some parameters have changed, but you are wrong, the *average* human brains have not evolved since the 1960s, whilst some modern driver aids have actually increased stopping distances, such as ABS, even if it’s great for steering around an obstructions.

            Funny, to think people slagged off HS2 for only saving 20 minutes on the journey time…

            “but 99% of people are uncomfortable driving beyond 80mph”

            That has nothing to do with any perception of danger, far more to do with the perception that any higher and the chances of being (automatically) banned from driving increase substantially!

          2. Mickey Taking
            October 26, 2023

            all depends on the comfort and speed sensation experienced.
            Drive at 80mph in a (new at the time) 1965 Ford Anglia compared to a 202x (new) Jaguar and I know which people would choose.

        2. Berkshire Alan
          October 26, 2023

          Jerry
          Correct at 20mph you need to constantly be looking at the speedo and not the road, hardly safety first.
          At 20mph you are in a lower gear, and just a fraction of a touch on the accelerator and you end up way over the limit, 25MPH is 25% and an automatic penalty, unless you can set cruise control at 20mph (too low a speed to be used on many vehicles,) or unless you have a speed limiter.
          Pollution also far worse for emissions at 20mph than 30 mph as you do more rev’s per mile at a lower speed due to gearing, so you actually increase pollution at slower speeds.
          Constant speed limit changes also leads to confusion and more work/movement/co-ordination from hands and feet, thus distracting the brain a little from concentration of the eyes which lowers safety awareness.

      2. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        People become uncomfortable and tend to make mistakes when traffic around them is going faster.
        Drivers should not move into the outside lane unless intending to drive at the maximum of the limit.
        The problem with inner-city 20mph is the proliferation of all sorts of other signage. Trying to concentrate (too much) on not exceeding 18/19 mph detracts from the time and concentration needed to take account of fast changing traffic movement and conditions.

    5. Ed M
      October 26, 2023

      Undertaking is generally prohibited in most Western countries (but not all including various rules in different US states). However, there is a difference between undertaking and ‘passing’ (and in some instances where undertaking is officially prohibited there are certain one-off, particular circumstances) …

  3. David Peddy
    October 26, 2023

    Having spent 45 minutes trying to travel from J13 to 15 on the m25 last night through what seemed to be simply the volume of traffic; no other impediments , it would be great if they would regulate the flow coming onto the slip roads

    1. Donna
      October 26, 2023

      They do in some locations. It’s called ramp metering and is controlled by censors under the carriageway, but all it does is stop traffic on the on-slip from joining the motorway for short periods because otherwise the traffic simply backs up and causes tailbacks on the local road network which leads to the motorway.

      1. Iain gill
        October 26, 2023

        The worst example for me is traffic lights which hold all other traffic up to allow buses in the bus lane through with priority. Which do this even when the corresponding bus service is not running, overnight, or Sundays in many cases. Many of us get held at red lights to let phantom buses through, it’s ridiculous.
        But then the permanent supposedly temporary 60 speed limits are still on the M1 for “air quality reasons” despite you telling us that the government whips had promised you this would stop. Are the government really running the country or not.

    2. Old Albion
      October 26, 2023

      It’s just the same around J6 Godstone. The M25 is jammed because traffic can’t get off the slip road. It’s been like it for years.

    3. Ian+wrag
      October 26, 2023

      You’d better speak to Drakeford and Khant as they are doing everything possible to inhibit the motorist.
      Leaving massive potholes is another goid scheme to slow things down.
      You’ve had 14 years doing exactly the opposite of what you propose so why the Damascene convversion

      Too little, too late

    4. glen cullen
      October 26, 2023

      Surprisingly, the number of vehicles on our roads (per mile of road) isn’t significantly any different from the 80/90s ….therefore the only other reason for traffic delays must be the number of sleeping policemen, traffic calming systems, traffic lights, road works, the narrowing of road for bus/cycles, the removal of mini roundabouts and the restriction of speed limits (eg 20mph limits), and drivers trying to find alternative route away from LTNs & ULEZ blocking up other routes that result in congestion elsewhere

      1. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        after doing some research I found:
        cars/taxis billion miles :
        1962 -52
        1970-96
        1980-133
        1990-208
        2000-233
        2010-240
        2019-262

        So miles travelled by those vehicles has gone up steadily, (bar 2 years of pandemic) without significant change in number of road miles added.

        1. glen cullen
          October 27, 2023

          This site is interesting; it list the dates opening of motorways
          https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20744
          A number of years ago I read about the increase of minor B roads and housing estate roads, with the increase of population, sorry I can’t find it now, but it was that publication that said cars, houses and road all grow at the same proportion

    5. Mike Wilson
      October 26, 2023

      @David Peddy
      I have never understood why there are not solid white lines for a mile before motorway junctions – to make it illegal to do what so many nutters do – charge down the outside lane at 90 mph and then cut across 3 lanes of much slower traffic to get onto the exit ramp at a junction.

      And, before a junction, traffic in the inside lane should be merged with the centre lane leaving traffic on the on ramp clear access to the inside lane. There should also be a solid white line, for a mile after a junction, between the inside lane and the middle lane – again to prevent the lunatics coming down the on ramp at 100 mph and swerving across 3 lanes to get into the outside lane as fast as they can.

      I have seen so many near misses as idiots leave and join a motorway. Solid white lines as described and cameras would stop the nut jobs.

  4. Everhopeful
    October 26, 2023

    So many roadworks with barriers and traffic lights and closed off pavements even.
    Such long queues waiting for the green light which can take an absolute age.
    And so little work going on! Site often deserted.
    Not to mention hampering the work of those travelling around.
    Productivity?

    1. Bloke
      October 26, 2023

      Fastest traffic from opposite directions causes worst accidents.
      3-lane motorways with hard shoulders + barriers consume 9 lanes of road.
      OBJECTIVE: Gain 33% more road space safely.
      METHOD:
      Build a 4-lane road with linear speeds of Zero, 30mph + two @ 60mph.
      Build an identical parallel road in the opposite direction joined with the Zero lanes together into a safe motorway.
      Monitor results. Adjust lanes according to performance.
      RATIONALE:
      The fastest opposite traffic is then at least 5 lanes apart.
      .Most UK roads have opposite traffic in adjacent lanes, and share the same opposite road space for overtaking, many at impact speeds of 120mph!
      One Zero lane would probably become more than adequate, and there are many other advantages.
      Remove the barrier to freedom!

    2. glen cullen
      October 26, 2023

      There is now a policy to put up road barriers one week prior to any actual work, so that the traffic gets use to that condition and as a result the work area might be safer …that’s why you don’t see any workmen for any length of time and the barriers are now in place twice as long …who came up with that of that idea (under a Tory government)

      1. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        tell me about the stats of vehicle collisions where lanes merge compared to accidents of staff working in that zoned off area?

        1. glen cullen
          October 26, 2023

          ….I shouldn’t even be posting on this diary, I promised myself that I’d just read the comments and not comment

          1. Mickey Taking
            October 27, 2023

            We can only resist so much cattle-prodding by politicians, can’t we! They know we inevitably start to conform, what choice remains? Except of course to change the politicians!
            8.48

      2. a-tracy
        October 26, 2023

        It was a month on a main dual carriageway near us recently.
        At the same time this main artery was dropped down to one lane, the secondary route was also given permission to have traffic lights on a single track road, 20 minutes we were stuck without warning this week, four cars came through on red the sequencing of the lights were so poor, they weren’t working in the road, they were working in a verge with a footpath kept open the lane closure seemed to be to park work vans.

        Then a new housing estate did such a poor job of the road when laying new pipes for the estate, a road they had closed for a couple of months to do this work, is now shut again, no work appears to being done on it, because a pothole has opened up in it already. Poor workmanship what punishment is there for the builders? Why don’t they have to put traffic lights on it and keep the lane open? Does it cost these people money to close roads and inconvenience residents for weeks on end. Councils wonder why people complain about new housing estates when they give them all the disruption they want.

  5. DOM
    October 26, 2023

    The Net Zero sewer dwellers aim is to provoke the motorist and drive them off the road.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 26, 2023

      Indeed but their aim is clearly to block the roads, to delay and deter road journeys, to cause congestion and inconvenience plus to mug motorists wherever they can. This so as to raise money for local authority wages and gold plated pensions. An efficient road transport system is not their goal.

      I see Sunak has been boasting about what he has been doing for his first years in office. Not much that anyone actually wants or is of real value it seems. None of his five pledges delivered, only one (inflation) look remotely likely. He does no mention his period as a disastrous tax borrow, print, lockdown and piss down the drain Chancellor for 2+ years causing this inflation, vast public debt and damaging the economy?

      https://www.conservatives.com/news/2023/rishi-sunak–one-year-of-taking-long-term-decisions-to-deliver-the-change-we-need

      Delivering net zero – we do not want net zero
      Cancelling HS2 – you have not cancelled it only part of it and 13+ years too late after wasting £billions
      Reducing inflation by 40% – so still far too high and this was inflation he caused with his and the BoE’s QU and idiotic lockdowns.
      Creating a smoke free generation – sure you do not even seriously attempt to stop hard drugs –
      More laws to stop the boats – Sure more laws they will ignore will make a big different Sunak. Action is what is needed and you are doing nothing.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 26, 2023

        From the Daily Sceptic. “The Covid Inquiry is an embarrassment to the English legal system; what’s behind the rise in heart failure, cirrhosis and diabetes, asks Nick Rendell”.

        The Covid Inquiry is a sick joke and one wasting many £millions that is clearly determined to come to entirely the wrong conclusions.

    2. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      ‘drive them’ – love it!

    3. glen cullen
      October 26, 2023

      Agree

  6. Everhopeful
    October 26, 2023

    Talking of councils getting utilities under the verges and pavements…we have just acquired, outside our house, a huge, new, wooden telegraph pole complete with iron steps near the top.
    It is apparently for fibre ( is that broadband?) yet the road has been dug up time after time ( even during the imprisonment when you might have expected a little quiet) for the installation of the same.
    And it always seems very odd to me how these workmen, who must have grown up in saner times are so brainwashed by corporate zealotry. The company is always right!
    They must spend a lot of time and money on courses?

    1. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      Somebody stringing fibre from masts? Idiotic.

      1. Everhopeful
        October 26, 2023

        Whatever it is I expect it won’t work…
        Just like everything else from toilet flushes to washing machines to weed killers.
        Deindustrial Disaster!

    2. jerry
      October 26, 2023

      @EH; Yes, fiber broadband for now, by the end of 2025 (unless pushed back), the fixed line telephone network using IP protocol telephones or your old analog phones via an adapter, apparently! Meaning in the power goes out and you don’t have a UPS on your modem and phone any ‘landline’ phones alarm or emergency health lifeline system won’t work. What’s Ofcom doing about such madness, investigating social media companies, GBN etc. 😡

      1. Everhopeful
        October 26, 2023

        +++
        Thanks!
        I do wonder why they want to get rid of the phones.
        I know they say something about old copper wire but why not just upgrade the wire?
        Maybe they just wantonly do away with things so they can make new “green” replacements.

        1. Mickey Taking
          October 26, 2023

          upgrade to wire you mean better copper?
          No chance and it won’t be any faster.
          Upgrading to fibre direct into house is required, but of course more expensive.

  7. Donna
    October 26, 2023

    Roundabouts take up more space than a junction controlled by traffic lights so they are often not practical in urban areas.

    A local authority will seldom admit that a road scheme is intended to get vehicles off the road. There will always be other justifications so it would be very difficult for the Minister to block a proposed scheme on the basis Sir John suggests.

    I’m not convinced by the posturing we’re now getting that Sunak is “on the side of the motorist.” Until/unless he drops the “green” nonsense, nothing will change.

    Reply. You can have a roundabout style junction by painting a white circle in the road

    1. Lifelogic
      October 26, 2023

      The aim is not to aid traffic flow it is clearly the compete opposite.

      To reply – Indeed occasionally the traffic light in London all went out about 15 years back when we lived there and the traffic then flowed far better.

      Sunak is still sticking with his insane (and totally misguided) net zero agenda. He merely gave a tiny dab on the brakes so over the insane Net Zero cliff we still go but at 60 miles per hour rather than 62 mph. Can someone explain some Physics and logic to the man. Happer, Lindzen.

      GB news points out how many councils are not even producing timely or indeed often even any accounts.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 26, 2023

        This is a Happer/Lindzen report which is surely quite correct. Sunak and his deluded ministers and his net zero zealot MPs should read it and get real – but they clearly will not or it and it will be beyond most of them. Their “group think” insanity seems to go no further “than CO2 is a very bad devil gas because it just is – the end. The BBC also push this one sided deranged propaganda every single day we are even forced to pay for this drivel.

        https://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-10-22/s71022-20132171-302668.pdf#page26

    2. beresford
      October 26, 2023

      …. and these junctions, where a white circle has been painted on the road, are often problematic. As a pedestrian trying to cross the road, you are never sure whether a vehicle turning right will follow the correct line ‘around the Horn’ or steer the racing line across the white circle. At a common accident spot near me the council have now installed speed bumps on some of the approached to encourage drivers to slow down.

    3. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      reply to reply ….yes often a great solution at problem T-junctions.

  8. Clough
    October 26, 2023

    It would take a lot more than ‘encouraging’ councils to do the sensible things you mention , Sir John. Many of them, including the main borough council in your constituency, are committed to the net zero agenda. That involves reducing road use by motorists, in effect by frustrating them off the roads. What you, I, and other motorists see as unnecessary and unjustified restrictions, our councils see as part of the plan. If we had a Conservative government that took a serious stand against the anti-motorist measures, that would be good. But we don’t. We have a government that is in hock to its Climate Change Committee, a body of unelected academics mostly, set up under Miliband’s Climate Change Act, that tell Ministers to constantly do more to meet ‘climate targets’ and ‘reduce emissions’. You will get nowhere with your suggestions until your party votes this bunch of eco-activists off the Statute Book. You won’t have that big majority for much longer.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 26, 2023

      Cycling and walking powered by human food produce loads of CO2 too a full car is far more efficent than a couple of walkers in CO2 terms. Plus they take far longer making the economy far less productive and competitive. A care worker on foot might only be able to do half the calls in their 8 hours for example so it doubles the cost of long term care and many other things.

      1. Mike Wilson
        October 26, 2023

        Cycling and walking powered by human food produce loads of CO2 too a full car is far more efficent than a couple of walkers in CO2 terms

        I find it hard to believe that 65kg me inside my 1000kg car uses less CO2 to move a mile than me cycling a mile on my 15kg bike.

        1. gregory martin
          October 26, 2023

          Cycling and walking powered by human food produce loads of CO2 too a full car is far more efficent than a couple of walkers in CO2 terms”

          “I find it hard to believe that 65kg me inside my 1000kg car uses less CO2 to move a mile than me cycling a mile on my 15kg bike.”
          MIKE, You may need to reconsider this……

        2. Lifelogic
          October 26, 2023

          Cycling is better (about three times than walking) but it depends on the diet. Two people walking, fuelled on a typical, UK, meat eating diet is worse than a car with two people in, in CO2 terms. Far worse than a car with five people in. Human food is very inefficient grow, feed to animals, butcher, package, freeze, transport, cook, food wasted, eat, turn to muscle power often needs 15 times as much energy to produce the food as gets to be bike or walking motion.

          1. Mickey Taking
            October 26, 2023

            well of course – the car with 2 people in still have to breath out!

    2. Brian Tomkinson
      October 26, 2023

      +1

    3. Everhopeful
      October 26, 2023

      ++
      I suppose that since the tories turned Lib/Dem from at least Cameron onwards…that lovely, wasted majority has been used for EXACTLY what those liberal lefties wanted?
      Thwarting the unexpected Leave vote and implementing no end of left wing agenda.
      They have even managed by Stalinist ploy to get rid of vociferous opponents of wokery and EU.
      And which MPs could speak up for them knowing that they too would be targeted?
      Look at GB News.

    4. Lifelogic
      October 26, 2023

      Indeed:- ‘When laws become enemies of men. Men become enemies of laws.“ But we are surely well past this point already with Kahn’s Ulez, the vastly high tax levels, the deluded net zero agenda, the rip off energy bills that result and the over regulation of almost everything.

      Ulez is and road blocking are of course also supported by Sunak and this government too, they started it funded it & chose not to stop it as they easily could do. Sunak now on about the risks of AI as another distraction policy to all to his A level reforms, smoking bans by age and other insanities.

  9. Berkshire Alan
    October 26, 2023

    John

    I lookout what is going on now, and all I see is more and more obstruction and control of our roads, more and more signs, more and more white and yellow lines, more and more speed limit changes, more and more traffic lights, LED street lighting that does not even light the streets, but look like stars in the sky, now suggestions that pedestrians and cyclists have right of way at Junctions so cars have to give way and stop on a major road before turning into a side road.
    I agree with much of what you say, but it is simply not happening, good grief they cannot even fill a pot hole quickly or properly.

  10. agricola
    October 26, 2023

    Yes basic common sense. Apply technology that has been around for many years. Penalise councils that use the motorist and commercial driver as a cash cow.
    It is now too late to be telling the electorate what should have been done twenty years ago, we know because we suffer the results. You are dead men walking. Not only have you abused the trust we put in you in 2019, you have further rubbed it in by condemning us to five years of abuse and irrelevance from Labour.

  11. MFD
    October 26, 2023

    Well said Clough, we also need bike number plates and rider insurance to discipline the wayward cyclist. At the minute some are terrorists on the road, not obeying any road rules!

    1. Mike Wilson
      October 26, 2023

      Well said Clough, we also need bike number plates and rider insurance to discipline the wayward cyclist

      And what do we need to discipline the wayward motorist? The ones who pass you missing you by a couple of inches because they WILL NOT slow down and give a cyclist some room. The ones who come up behind you and, despite you wearing high vis and having a light on, suddenly slam their brakes on because they are using their bloody phones. I accept that some cyclists are aggressive idiots – but there are a lot more aggressive idiots in cars. And it’s the cyclist who ends up dead.

      1. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        and the cyclists single file I regularly see coming up to narrower roads quickly moving double breast, they are unaware of causing cars to queue of course.

  12. Dave Andrews
    October 26, 2023

    Playing around with traffic light timings isn’t going to solve the general problem of congestion – Chichester by-pass needs a by-pass.
    Congestion could be improved, or at least not made any worse, by stemming the flow of immigration so there is less demand for more development. Another way would be to raise the driving standard so less people pass, and require a re-test to the current standard when anyone commits a more serious driving offence.

  13. wanderer
    October 26, 2023

    Some good suggestions but it’s unlikely your Party will be in power much longer. Almost everything you say should have been implemented years ago – then things would be very different. I hope you survive the election but most of your colleagues will deservedly not.

    As an example of nothing ever changing, I was disappointed to get my NHS vaccination reminder today with this message from the Minister: “COVID-19 vaccination has a proven safety record. It gives you better protection than any immunity gained from a previous infection.” There’s an argument to be had about whether it is a vaccine and its safety record, but better than natural immunity? I despair…and Ministerial talk about road improvement is just talk.

  14. beresford
    October 26, 2023

    In other news, a plaque enthusiastically erected by the BBC celebrating a 1800-year-old skeleton as the ‘first black Briton’ has been removed after DNA analysis revealed that the woman likely hailed from Cyprus. Immigrationists are desperate to push this narrative that we are not the indigenous inhabitants of these isles.

    1. glen cullen
      October 26, 2023

      Just like Climate Change, hold a position then find ‘any’ research that supports that position

    2. Mike Wilson
      October 26, 2023

      to push this narrative that we are not the indigenous inhabitants of these isles.

      Who is? Many of us have Viking, Roman, French, Irish, Angle or Saxon blood – or some mongrel mixture. Who is indigenous? Why does it matter? Surely in terms of ‘rights’ it depends on either being born here or moving here legally.

      According to the DNA, we all came out of East Africa. So what?

      1. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        exactly.

      2. Everhopeful
        October 26, 2023

        Of course it matters!
        It has to be beaten out of a population…( ESPECIALLY a successful and proud one).
        To make the people weak and compliant.
        So they will give up everything they ever had.
        The upper echelons of the Left are fully on board with this strategy.
        And the tories haven’t done such a bad job either.

    3. Mitchel
      October 27, 2023

      See also those ever-so-desperate efforts to “prove” that Cleopatra was black-an historic near, if not total, impossibility.

  15. Bryan Harris
    October 26, 2023

    What about car parking spaces?
    Councils are always taking them away and painting double yellow lines all over the place.

    Too many councils are edging towards 15 minute cities and in the process creating congestion and chaos. Take Oxford, where a private school cannot get enough teachers and staff due to the way that local journey times have increased by 30 minutes.

    I vaguely recall an item mentioned in the Tory Conference, that 30 MPH was to be established as the lowest speed limit, except around schools etc at certain times of the day – What is happening with that pledge?

    1. Mike Wilson
      October 26, 2023

      What is happening with that pledge

      Pledge is used to polish the seats of the trousers belonging to MPs in the Westminster parliament.

  16. Original Richard
    October 26, 2023

    “Now that government wants to help drivers get about there are ideas they can adopt to make the vision a reality.”

    Make no mistake, the Net Zero Strategy is to drive private vehicles off the road.

    PM’s Press Release 20/09/2023 : Point 3 :
    “Ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be moved back to 2035…….”

    Is this a ban on all petrol and diesel cars as it appears to say or just a ban on new petrol and diesel cars?

    Note that the £15,000 per vehicle fines on car manufacturers for exceeding their 88% quota for ice sales for 2024, with the quota reducing to 20% by 2030, has not changed.

    The Chinese government and the Chinese manufacturers of bevs are very happy.

  17. Ian B
    October 26, 2023

    “Roundabouts are usually better than light controlled junctions. They should usually be preferred.”

    Then there are traffic lights on roundabouts – what’s all that about? A total failure in traffic control logic and just a cheap shoddy way that increase traffic pollution

  18. The PrangWizard
    October 26, 2023

    One example I would like to add to this is the vital need to improve visibility and safety currently impaired by the vast number of trees close to edges of the roads, as well as high farm land border hedges. I could give many examples but there a is a long stretch on a bend near here where trees are growing on the south side and many are very close to the road side. Thus it gets no sunshine and in cold winters ice cover begins early and remains for a long time, and breaks up the surface easily. In wet summers the surface stays wet for a long time, and round now we have leaves falling and creating road surface slippage.

    All close growing trees must be removed – lets say no growth within ten feet should be allowed and existing removed. Not far from here four young people were killed when their car left the road and hit a trunk – two or three feet in diameter very close indeed to the roadside. The tree was still there some six weeks later when I passed by.

    And if I may mention the railways – there was an accident in the south a couple of years ago where trains collided because of leaves on the line. When you see the photos the cutting is swamped with trees and branch cover. With luck and if common sense is still alive these will be cut down. All trees in rail cuttings should be removed urgently.

    Trouble is everywhere there is a fanatical obsession with the growth and retention of trees, when in fact we must cut millions down – yes, millions. The planet will survive. And our countryside will be far more attractive; we will be able to see more of it and like it.

  19. Mickey Taking
    October 26, 2023

    The phasing on Vauxhall Bridge lets the spies get to the HQ quicker (and me to head south). On return I usually travel back during later evening, so lights delay is rarely a problem.
    If you want to get exasperated about traffic lights try the South Circular, first turn off M4 to go over Kew Bridge, proceed to beyond Dulwich. Enjoy!

  20. Alan Paul Joyce
    October 26, 2023

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    ‘Councils should exercise greater discipline over timings and duration of works that entail digging holes in roads. This should include their own Highways department.’

    They should also include a requirement to restore the area to something like it was before the digging began. Many of the works I see are left in a disgraceful state. Grass verges are frequently torn up. Traffic cones are left behind so that passers-by scatter them in the hedgerows. Road signs remain for months on end after the works have been completed. Burst sandbags are just left on the ground. Pavements and slabs are broken and muddied. It all just smacks of a couldn’t care less attitude.

  21. Michael Saxton
    October 26, 2023

    Completely agree Sir John, but what about HGV’s and Heavy trucks? There are far too many on all classes of roads and they are dangerous to other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists/motor cyclists. If only government would actively press to take these vehicles off our motorways especially and in our towns and villages and move heavy freight
    around by train, preferably at night time? Furthermore, HGV’s and Heavy trucks are mainly responsible for breaking up road surfaces and increasing tyre and brake particulates into the atmosphere. We need rail freight hubs where smaller vehicles can do the work of distribution locally.

    1. a-tracy
      October 26, 2023

      And everything will come to grinding halts on a regular basis Michael whenever a rail union wants to shut off your delivery service. Those HGVs have kept goods flowing freely, regularly and without delays since the 1980s and are taken far too much for granted. They have digital trackers, cpc licences they have to do training for regularly drivers and operators, they have legal driving limits and all these roadworks that delay the HGVs for 20 minutes at a time at every turn mean that they have to sleep in those cabs more often as they run unnecessarily out of driving hours.

      How many accidents have been recorded by British HGVs this year so far for you to make such a claim?

      Not even the post office kept their dedicated rail lines open too expensive. Heavy movements are done by rail all the time at night. Freight movements on British roads have actually gone down thanks to leaving the EU and not having all our motorways used for free to ship Irish freight to and from Europe.
      https://www.irishtimes.com › transport › 2022/11/15 › iri…
      15 Nov 2022 — Irish-registered HGVs have worst record on overloading among foreign trucks, figures from UK vehicle standards agency show.

  22. Denis Cooper
    October 26, 2023

    Straying only a little way from the topic, the Sky News headline reads:

    https://news.sky.com/story/uk-car-production-soars-but-industry-warns-of-looming-brexit-rules-threat-12992409

    “UK car production soars – but industry warns of looming Brexit rules ‘threat'”

    when it should really read:

    “UK car production soars – but industry warns of looming EU rules ‘threat'”

    because the threat is from an irrational penalty that the EU Commission will impose on carmakers in the EU as well as those in the UK, in effect treating the latter as though the UK was still in the EU.

    Like the Northern Ireland protocol this nonsense sprang from the “Project Fear” assumption propagated by the likes of George Osborne that we desperately needed a special trade deal with the EU.

  23. jerry
    October 26, 2023

    “The government should allow traffic turning left at a light controlled junction to treat the red light as a Stop sign.”

    The USA have a similar (Turn on Red) rule. I see no treason why a such a rule could not work here in the UK, so long as visibility, and the priority (green) lane speed limit is not such that a ‘Turn on Red’ misjudgment might be made due to on-coming speed. But how much would a change cost, there would need to be new signage, both allowing and prohibiting, and an extensive national educational awareness campaign first, money that can not then be used on other road improvements.

    “Taking roadspace off vehicles on busy main roads is not the way to achieve [safety].”

    Indeed, that can actually make the road less safe, even more so when a one-way street is narrowed to allow a painted cycle lane to be installed that counter-flows vehicular traffic, just so cyclists do not have to cycle further, when any lazy cyclist could simply dismount and walk!

    “Roundabouts are usually better than light controlled junctions. They should usually be preferred.”

    My experience, as both a private motorist and professional driver, is the exact opposite, unless one only ever uses the main route of course.

    As for your last point, the utility companies will still block otherwise live lanes with their parked vehicles, or to provide a cordoned-off safe walking route for pedestrians. What we do need is still better co-ordination of utility company work, but with so many private utility’s and even more private contractors, some hope…

  24. Mike Wilson
    October 26, 2023

    Once upon a time leaving London (going West) on the Marylebone Road, the numerous traffic lights were phased to go progressively green. You might well be as far from the Westway as Regent’s Park and, when the lights at the junction with Portland Place turned green, you would often make it on to the Westway without having to stop again. Then some moron decided that cars had to be discouraged and changed the traffic light phasing to prevent this. The result was stationary traffic from the Westway all along Marylebone Road past Kings Cross, past The Angel Islington and on to the City. No wonder the air quality in London is so bad. I never go there.

  25. glen cullen
    October 26, 2023

    ..and yet the government policy documents all propose removing cars from our roads and by law and social engineering get people to cycle or walk ….please be honest with the public

  26. Bert+Young
    October 26, 2023

    Road travel today is a nightmare . The volume of the traffic particularly during peak hours is enormous ; Buses on which many depend are seriously delayed , ambulances have to take considerable risks and pedestrians – well , they don’t seem to count . I can recall the day when travelling on the newly opened M1 was not subjected to a speed restriction and there were hardly any cars ; it was a pleasure to move around and enjoy the countryside . The present road system is now entirely inadequate for the volume it has to absorb .

    1. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      really? I seem to remember most drivers studying the speedo to see if they could get to 100 on the dial.

  27. graham1946
    October 26, 2023

    The government wants to help drivers get about? Are you sure? We’ll believe it when we see it. Just saying something does not make it happen as MP’s seem to think. Why change the last 14 years of driver bashing now? Why not try reducing the taxes on petrol and road tax for ICE cars and putting it on electric cars, or is that too much like upsetting the wealthy rather than helping out the poor (or levelling up as some might say)? Fiddling about with traffic lights is no substitute. Is there an election in the offing? I’ve heard of clutching at straws – this surely is the definition of that saying.

  28. George Sheard
    October 26, 2023

    Try travelling on the M42 through the Midlands they have 40 mile speed restrictions on there control lights even at quite times and certain junctions down to 20 miles on a moderate motorway, no wonder we gave low production when goods can’t get deliverd and people have to catch up time by speeding when possible

  29. Ian B
    October 26, 2023

    If you wont stop driving and wont take to a bicycle what do you expect?

    Around here Wokingham, you cant even walk as cycles dominate the pedestrian footpaths. The local Council even informs cyclists to ride on the right not the left as the rest of the Country – causing confusion and even more dangers.

    On a cycle you are permitted to go at more than 20mph in a 20 mph limit. Likewise even if it is powered by a battery. On a cycle you are permitted to ride on pedestrian only routes. On a cycle you don’t have to give way for pedestrians on zebra crossing, stop at red traffic lights, you can go the wrong way on one way streets. Even the massive great signs saying ‘Cyclists Dismount’ sees riding cyclists forcing their way through pedestrians at speed. As a cyclist you are above the Law, the rules of the road and common sense, you can contradict logic and can be as random as you like. The Authorities will support you the cyclists at all times it is always someone elses fault

    1. Mike Wilson
      October 26, 2023

      On a cycle you don’t have to give way for pedestrians on zebra crossing, stop at red traffic lights, you can go the wrong way on one way streets

      That, as you know, is nonsense. I know some cyclists do those things and they are a menace – as they seem to have made many motorists almost homicidal when they see a cyclist.

      I ama motorist and a cyclist. When cycling along the narrow lanes around here, I always pull in where it is safe and wave a motorist behind me through. When driving my car I always wait behind cyclists until I can safely overtake.

      I have no desire to kill a cyclist and, when cycling, I have no desire to be killed by a car driver. It’s a shame so many people are permanently angry these days.

      1. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        sarcasm detection failure?

      2. Mickey Taking
        October 26, 2023

        As the latest Rolling Stones record goes – ‘don’t get Angry with me!’
        ( and worth a listen, or better watch the official video).

      3. Mark B
        October 26, 2023

        +1

        Well said, Mike. I am also the same. Really annoys me when cyclists go through red lights etc. Motorists, of which I am now also a member, tend to think we are all the same. We are not.

        It isn’t the mode of transport, it is the person using said transport that can be the problem.

  30. Ralph Corderoy
    October 26, 2023

    A campaign should educate the public about using roundabouts. It should emphasize that for every driver which improves, that bit more traffic will get through them. In particular, it should:

    – Cover just the normal four-exit roundabout for simplicity.
    – State indicating right is only when going beyond ‘straight on’.
    – That indicating left must be done on approaching the exit. It is this will allows drivers waiting to pull out, increasing throughput.
    – If taking the first exit, indicate left all the time from approaching the roundabout to after exiting.

    To attract attention: ‘Indicate left when leaving a roundabout. Or you’re indicating you drive badly’. Many drivers don’t do this and they will think they’re are a better-than-average driver.

  31. Keith from Leeds
    October 26, 2023

    Hello Sir John, I missed your suggestions for the King’s speech as I was away at a family event. Sp although off today’s topic, I hope you won’t mind.
    1. Since the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has failed to cut spending & make room for tax cuts, I have invited him to resign or be sacked.
    2. It is my intention to cut taxes on both businesses & individuals significantly. To start this, Corporation tax will be cut to 15% from the next tax year. I can assure both members and voters that we will restore the upgrading of allowances by inflation as a minimum. We may do more than that if we can.
    3. I am removing the legal requirement to hit Net Zero by 2050, & all the other laws passed to achieve this.
    4. I will restore rule in Northern Ireland to the UK. We want friendly relations with the EU, but will not be dictated to.
    5. I am freezing the NHS budget for 3 years so we can work at getting real efficiencies within it. If the NHS can spend millions on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality managers & teams, it is not using its budget properly.
    6. I am freezing all immigration for 2 years to sort out the backlog of claims, remove those who should not be here & immediately instruct the navy to intercept boats with illegal immigrants & tow them back to France. When we restart immigration, it will be strictly controlled at no more than 50,000 a year.
    7. The Government will stop funding charities & Quangos that campaign against it, reduce all Quango budgets by 50%, then a further 50% the following year.
    8. With 530,000 Civil Servants, we are not getting things done & the productivity decline is a disgrace. We will make 430,000 Civil Servants redundant & make government work with a maximum of 100,000.
    9 The motorist is already taxed enough. We will stop councils & the Mayor of London from introducing ULEZ zones anywhere in the UK. Any introduced will be cancelled immediately.
    10. We are a Conservative Government & we will follow Conservative policies from now on, instead of the liberal, lefty. socialist wishy washy policies of my predecessors.

    1. Mickey Taking
      October 27, 2023

      plenty of support for that.

  32. agricola
    October 26, 2023

    Consider the amount, the precision and impact that computers enjoy in the control of aviation operations and aircraft themselves.
    I often wonder why that level of technology has not been translated to traffic control and the maximised use of our roads such as they are. Even the vertical automated japanese system of car parking could make are cities more inviting and business friendly. I might add that the same principals could be employed on our creaking railways and tube services for a higher level of utilisation and a removal of the militant driver union problem.
    The real question is where is the vision to bring it about. If we can’t fully utilise the computer age what chance do we have with the AI age about to descend upon us.

  33. glen cullen
    October 26, 2023

    ‘’ Roundabouts are usually better than light controlled junctions. They should usually be preferred.’’
    In the past decade under a Tory government, we’ve had in my local area two mini and one large roundabout replace by traffic lights …they use electricity, they require resources & maintenance and slow traffic down …but are useful in controlling car use; put a camera on top and they can collect data and issue fines, all good for the 15min cities (C40-cities)

  34. glen cullen
    October 26, 2023

    ‘’ Of course we need better routes for cycles’’
    With the millions spent creating new cycles, there hasn’t been any quality research or evidence of any increase in use of cycles or the new cycle-lanes, but this Tory has been building them for over a decade and continue to fund local councils to construct more …pathetic

  35. glen cullen
    October 26, 2023

    I see that our government is today falling over themselves to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) (or find way to tax it or establish a windfall tax on its industrial)
    But like Global Warming, Climate Change & Net-Zero, AI doesn’t exist, our government is again trying to regulate something that doesn’t as yet exist, please do your own research, a quick Google search will support the premise that AI is centuries away …we do have some clever IT data algorithms ..but that’s not AI

    1. Lifelogic
      October 26, 2023

      Well this is just another pathetic attempted distraction by Sunak to try to stop people noticing how he has failed on all his five pledges (stopping the boat people, reducing government debt, getting growth, halving inflation, reducing NHS waiting lists) with the sole possible exception of halving inflation (inflation with BoE QE he caused as Chancellor).

      If he does not even understand the causes of inflation, that the Covid lockdowns and vaccines did net harm and that Net Zero is a moronic hugely damaging agenda then why would anyone trust Sunak to advise on the dangers of AI?

      1. Mickey Taking
        October 27, 2023

        I liken it to a totalitarian state, so much media telling patently obvious lies from every direction to cover up and represent the leaders as angels with superior decision making abilities. Until moved aside for the éminence grise.
        8.38

    2. Lifelogic
      October 26, 2023

      As to AI and its timing it rather depends on how you define AI. We have lots of things that can be considered AI already face recognition, voice recognition, medical diagnosis and the mimicking of people’s faces & voices…

      What is certainly true is that as computers get faster and clever this process will race a head exponentially. Better computers help design even better software and even better hardware even faster and so a positive feedback loop will make it race ahead exponentially.

      1. glen cullen
        October 26, 2023

        Incorrect – AI is clearly defined …and as yet hasn’t been realised or achieved

      2. glen cullen
        October 26, 2023

        It’s a bit like ‘’warp-drive’’ …..We have rockets and even hyper sonic ram jets, but we don’t have warp-drive

  36. mancunius
    October 26, 2023

    This is all fine, and better traffic flow is to be welcomed as long as the needs pedestrians have to cross urban roads are not forgotten. I realize this is not the main thrust of the OP, but there are stretches of main roads in north and south London where cars and cyclists alike ignore the red light, aggressively threatening those crossing to jump out of their way, and forcing their way through when pedestrians are halfway across. Once they have breached a red light, some motorists seem to go completely to the dark side…and the cameras do not appear to capture these incidents once they are through the red light.

  37. Hugh Counsell
    October 26, 2023

    When utility companies dig up roads for repair works they should be required to resurface the whole section and not just a patch over the hole. Also, why do services such as electricity cables, water mains and gas pipes have to be installed under the road carriageway in any case? All new developments should be designed to ensure that such services are laid under the pavement.

    1. Mickey Taking
      October 26, 2023

      A pet campaign by our host.

  38. Mickey Taking
    October 26, 2023

    and moving on:
    The EU has been torn apart for “virtue signalling” and “bullying” after a report found that the bloc suffers from “shocking and shameful” discrimination.
    Former MEP Ben Habib accused the EU of “pointing the finger at the UK” for wanting to leave the EU when the bloc itself is “riven with racism”.
    The new report, which compared countries across the region, found people of African descent regularly face racial discrimination, harassment and violence in all aspects of their lives, regardless of where they live in the EU. The report found that almost half of black people in EU experience discrimination, which marks an increase since the last report was conducted in 2018.

    1. glen cullen
      October 26, 2023

      I didn’t think its due to their colour, its more likely due to the fact that they’re, in the main, a bunch of no good free loading illegal economic immigrant young men

  39. RDM
    October 26, 2023

    Roads? With Devolution, as it is?

    We, in Wales, have been asking for the M4 bypass (Brynglas) for years?

    A Block on Road building and maintenance!

    We have 20MPH!

    Devolution cannot work, it will destroy the Union!

    If you won’t break up Devolution, what is the point?

    Do you realise the Conservative Party has already lost the General Election?

    Are you awake?

  40. KB
    October 27, 2023

    This is just a fantasy. The real agenda is to make car travel as slow and frustrating as public transport, and they are succeeding.
    This must be the Conservative government policy also; it’s the only explanation. You can’t just blame local councils and other bodies for it.

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