Swindon Borough Council is set to upgrade its traffic-light system with next-generation models that automatically turn red when they detect drivers speeding. That's right -- traffic lights are about to go from merely frustrating to downright devious.
The lights use a sensor in the road, placed a short distance away, to record how fast traffic is flowing. If cars are travelling too quickly, a control unit automatically changes the lights to red, bringing traffic to a bitter, grinding halt.
It's hoped the new lights will encourage drivers to slow down, as they realise speeding could actually make their journey significantly longer. It's thought the lights could also shame drivers into slowing down, as those who break the speed limit will be easily identified by fellow motorists as the law-breaking gimp that caused an unnecessary hold-up.
The next-gen stoppers will feature number-plate-recognition technology, although, thankfully, this won't be used to point the finger at guilty drivers -- at least not initially. Instead, it'll be used to identify emergency vehicles, turning the lights in front of them green, and opposing lights red, to aid their progress.
Swindon Borough Council cabinet member Peter Greenhalgh told The Telegraphthat the system "is an intelligent way of managing traffic flows and ensuring that cars drive in a safe manner."
The lights, which have already been trialled in Spain, will be tested on two 40mph roads in Swindon this autumn.