Westminster goes naked in traffic flow experiment

This junction in Drachten, Holland, is a classic example of naked streets working well

The City of Westminster and Transport for London are to trial switching off of certain traffic signals.

The experiment will start with the signals at the junction of Victoria Street and Strutton Ground.  

The junction will be monitored for six weeks with 12 CCTV cameras and eight number plate recognition cameras.

For the first two weeks the signals will work normally; before being switched off for a fortnight, and turned back on for the next two weeks.

The behaviour of motorists and pedestrians will be monitored at both this junction and one about 100 yards to the west.

Martin Low, Westminster City Council's head of transportation, said: "We will be creating a bit of indecision in all road users' minds to create a safe environment.

"When lights are out, we have noticed that drivers are far more considerate and show more care and attention than they are when they have the reassurance of traffic lights. We think there is a huge potential to reduce delay for all road users."

LCC Cycling Deloping Officer Charlie Lloyd said: "The lack of  traffic lights has been shown to encourage people to take more care and think about how they will get through the junction without endangering other road users."

The idea of removing traffic signs and signals began at Drachten in the Netherlands. Road users behaved more carefully, with a consequent reduction in accidents. The concept now appeals to the Mayor of London as part of his policy of smoothing the traffic flow.