New government guidelines should mean that drivers don't spend so much time stationary at traffic lights.
A document released by the Department for Transport (DfT) allows local councils to adopt so-called ‘green wave’ traffic lights. These work via sensors which, when faced with a stream of traffic flowing at or below the speed limit, trigger a green light.
The technology should reduce both congestion and CO2 emissions, since traffic should flow more steadily.
The endorsement of green wave technology is a U-turn in government policy, which had previously discouraged such systems on the grounds that they would reduce fuel duty income.
"Tackling climate change is one of the single most important issues we face, and cutting road transport CO2 emissions will play an important part in that,” said a DfT spokesman.
"Urban traffic control systems, like green wave, help tackle congestion and vehicle emissions in urban areas, and a number are already being progressed as local major schemes.
"Our new guidance regarding fuel taxation will mean that greater priority will now be given to this type of scheme."