In an article published by the Institute of Economic Affairs*, Martin Cassini** argues that traffic lights are unnecessary and dangerous and increase road congestion.
Traffic lights were introduced because the common law principles that governed road use before government regulation were discarded and superior rights given to traffic on main roads, at the expense of minor road traffic and pedestrians. Main roads then became dangerous to cross thus "necessitating" lights.
Traffic lights, the author argues, are a retrospective cure for a government-made problem. They are inefficient at managing congestion and have no safety benefits. By taking our eyes off other road users and making drivers speed up, they make roads dangerous. They make tr