Highways chiefs are planning to remove the white lines in the centre of the UK’s busiest roads, according to press reports. The idea behind it is to promote safety, with drivers having to concentrate more, subsequently slowing down. A test of this has been carried out on London’s Exhibition Road and similar schemes have been introduced on the A22, A23 and A100 in the capital.
Business Development Director at vehicle management group, LeasePlan UK, Lesley Slater, said, ‘Whether to remove white lines from roads or not has been part of a global conversation that has been growing since the turn of the century and it’s good to see this particular topic highlighted once again. The remodelling of Exhibition Road experiment provides evidence to suggest that removing not only central white line markings, but other traditional safeguards, from road signs to traffic lights and even pavements, actually reduces the accident rate and improves traffic flow. When removed, drivers police their own traffic flow more effectively and are more considerate. The old approach to traffic engineering assumed that wide routes and frequent instructions was the best model, however, these studies demonstrate the need to review this thinking and we would welcome any changes that ensure the roads are a safer place for all its users.’
The idea has not been universally supported. In one of his latest blogs, AA President, Edmund King OBE, questioned whether it would work. He wrote, ‘We need clear lines and areas of demarcation on our fastest roads. Semi-autonomous cars are now on the market with lane departure warnings which rely on reading the white lines on the road and warning the driver or self correcting the steering if the driver veers off. A pot of paint indicating corners, bends and up-coming junctions can be crucial to road safety on faster roads.’